Sarah Kellogg

KUAR Politics and Government Reporter

Sarah Kellogg is the Politics and Government reporter for KUAR.

Sarah was drawn towards radio reporting her freshman year in college at the University of Missouri in Columbia, where she already knew she wanted to be a journalist. Throughout her junior and senior years, Sarah reported and produced stories for KBIA, the NPR member station in Columbia. She received her bachelor’s of journalism in Radio/Television reporting with an emphasis on radio.

Immediately after graduation, she wanted to get more experience in political reporting so she went back to Mizzou for her master’s in public affairs reporting, where she spent her final semester as the Missouri statehouse reporter for KBIA.

Now in Arkansas, Sarah is putting that master’s degree to use, covering the statehouse for KUAR. When she’s not in the newsroom, she’s normally watching a lot of movies, hanging out with her cats and trying out new recipes.

Email: sarah@kuar.org

Newsroom: 501-683-7400

Ways to Connect

ACLU of Arkansas

A law that bans transgender Arkansans younger than 18 from accessing transition-related health care, has been blocked from becoming law.

U.S. District Judge Jay Moody issued the ruling Wednesday blocking the enforcement of Act 626, which would have been gone into effect on July 28. The act blocks any transgender child from seeking or accessing health care related to their transition, such as puberty blockers, even with consent from parents or medical professionals.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The deadline for when most laws passed during the 2021 Arkansas Legislative session officially go into effect is fewer than 15 days away. However, some bills are facing legal challenges that could strike them down before become law.

Benjamin Victor

Arkansas' process of replacing its current statues in the National Statuary Hall has recently progressed with the selection of the sculptors for new statues of country artist Johnny Cash and civil rights leader Daisy Bates.

Sculptor Benjamin Victor, who the selection review committee chose in June to create the sculpture of Daisy Bates, says they’re still early on in the process.

Sarah Kellogg - KUAR News

Little Rock voters who will decide whether or not to approve a 1% sales and use tax will now have an idea of how the funds would be actually spent.

During a specially-called meeting on Tuesday, the Little Rock Board of Directors voted 6-4 to approve a resolution outlining how tax dollars would be spent if voters approve the tax during a special election on Sept. 14.

Manhattan Institute

Arkansas' junior U.S. senator is pushing back against proposed federal legislation that would eliminate the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses, a position opposite of the state’s governor.

Speaking Friday during an event held by the conservative think tank, the Manhattan Institute, Sen. Tom Cotton spoke on the hearing concerning the EQUAL Act, which would reduce the harsher sentences for crack cocaine as opposed to the current lesser sentences for powdered cocaine. Cotton said his proposal legislation concerning sentence disparities is different. 

Governor's Office

The state’s committee in charge of allocating $1.25 billion from the 2020 federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security or CARES Act, voted Wednesday to extend the spending timeline for certain projects until the end of the year.

According to Larry Walther, Secretary for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, several projects the CARES Act Steering Committee already approved and gave funds to had an initial spending deadline of June 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

littlerock.gov

Little Rock residents will officially have the chance to pass or fail a 1% sales and use tax in September.

Over a series of votes, the Little Rock Board of Directors on Tuesday approved both calling a special election on Sept. 14, and for the sales tax to be enacted by the City of Little Rock, if passed by voters. According to the resolution regarding the election itself, if the public does pass the sales tax, collection of it would begin on Jan. 1, 2022.

Sarah Kellogg - KUAR News

The public lynching of John Carter, a Black man, by a white mob in 1927 was remembered during a memorial ceremony on Sunday at the Haven of Rest Cemetery.

This is the first in a series of lynching commemorations that the Pulaski County Community Remembrance Project plans to do, with the next one set to happen in Argenta in late October memorializing Homer G. Blackman.

LGBTQ Flag
wikipedia.org

A new statewide fund aims to support organizations in Arkansas serving the LGBTQ community.

The Bentonville-based Walton Family Foundation announced Thursday it’s partnering with the Arkansas Community Foundation to distribute $1 million dollars worth of grants to groups working to improve the quality of life for LGBTQ Arkansans.

Walton Family Foundation spokesperson Luis Gonzalez says it’s designed to include members of the community in the process.

Governor's Office

State employees in Arkansas will soon have the opportunity to earn a raise as a result of their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday a 3% "performance or merit" bonus will be given to state agencies, that in turn will be distributed to their employees based on their work.

"This last year, our workforce has shown dedication, resilience and flexibility during this pandemic. It’s been circumstances that no workforce has been through in the last 100 years," Hutchinson said.

Arkansas PBS

The members of the state Board of Apportionment, who are responsible for redrawing Arkansas’ congressional districts, on Monday approved the hiring of a former state Supreme Court chief justice to serve as the redistricting coordinator.

The three-membered board, consisting of Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Secretary of State John Thurston, motioned and then approved the hiring of Betty Dickey to serve in the position at a rate of $10,000 a month until the end of the redistricting process.

Picture of a tractor on a farm
Creative Commons

A rainier than average spring in Arkansas brought multiple complications to the state’s agriculture industry, some of which could have longer term implications later in the year.

Data from the National Weather Service’s Precipitation Plot shows that in mid-May, much of Arkansas, particularly western Arkansas, frequently accumulated at least a half inch of rain in a 24-hour period over multiple days. 

Governor's Office

The state committee in charge of allocating federal funding from the American Rescue Plan approved $150 million to go towards broadband efforts, with an additional $150 million to possibly be approved in a later meeting.

The Arkansas American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Steering Committee met for the second time on Wednesday and spent over an hour discussing the $300 million request from the state’s Department of Commerce to go towards broadband expansion.

Central Arkansas Library System

Topics of media misinformation, how the changes in media have also changed how the public interacts with it and what a community centered media would look like are focuses of a panel from the Central Arkansas Library System. The panel, "Imagining Civic Media" will take place virtually Thursday at 6 p.m. Those interested in attending can register through the Central Arkansas Library System.

ARCAN / Arkansas PBS,

Though the board responsible for redrawing Arkansas’ state congressional districts met for the first time Monday, delays in receiving Census data until possibly the end of September has already caused the board to be behind the recommended schedule. 

The three-member Board of Apportionment, consisting of Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Secretary of State John Thurston, set a deadline of Dec. 31 to complete redrawing the state’s legislative districts.  

Governor's Office

During the first meeting of the committee slated to distribute around $1.57 billion in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan, Arkansas’ governor outlined broadband and vaccines as areas to which he would like to see funds allocated sooner rather than later.

City of Little Rock

Investigations, citations, arrests and other police actions concerning adult misdemeanor marijuana offenses will be the "lowest law enforcement and prosecutorial priority" in Little Rock due to a recently passed ordinance.

Arkansas Cinema Society

A new Arkansas law passed by the legislature with little dissent and signed by the governor in April creates a new tax incentive for the film industry in Arkansas.

KUAR spoke with Kathryn Tucker, executive director of the Arkansas Cinema Society and Christina McLarty Arquette, producer and board member of the Arkansas Cinema Society about the new credit and how they hope it will bring more film projects to the Natural State. Below is a transcript of the aired conversation.

How does the rate of literacy impact Arkansas and how has the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the need for greater literacy both in children and adults.  

In the latest Issues That Matter forum, we ask our panelists about the state of literacy in the Natural State and what can be done to improve it. 

Panelists include: 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson provides new COVID-19 numbers in Arkansas during his weekly press briefing Tuesday.
Chris Banks / KUAR News

Arkansas' governor announced a challenge Tuesday to raise the state's COVID-19 vaccinated population in the next 90 days.

The goal, which Gov. Asa Hutchinson outlined during his weekly press briefing on the pandemic, is to have at least 50% of Arkansans vaccinated with at least one dose. Meeting that threshold would mean vaccinating 467,206 additional Arkansans, he said.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The 2021 session of the Arkansas General Assembly adjourned last week. Lawmakers will return in the fall to consider redistricting and any unfinished business.

The session included debate on many cultural issues as well as a power struggle between Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Republican-controlled House and Senate on matters like executive orders for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Arkansas House

In the last moments of the 2021 Arkansas General Legislative Session, which ended early Tuesday after 1 a.m., the legislature managed to pass a bill that bans police from enforcing some federal gun laws, but addresses problems previously brought up on a similar bill that was vetoed by the governor. 

House Bill 1957, filed late Monday night, made its way through the legislature in fewer than 28 hours through a series of committee meetings, recesses and votes.

Arkansas House

A bill that would have eliminated early voting on the day before an Election Day in Arkansas failed in the state House of Representatives on Tuesday, the final full day of the legislative session.

The chamber ultimately did not pass Senate Bill 485, with 39 representatives  voting for it and 43 members voting against it. The bill would have eliminated early voting on the day before either a primary or general election. 

Arkansas Senate

A bill that could have allowed public and open enrollment charter schools to place limitations on teaching certain aspects about racism failed in a Senate committee on Monday.

By a vote of 4-3, the Senate Education Committee did not get the five votes needed to advance House Bill 1761.

A bill that would have allowed the Arkansas General Assembly to amend voter-approved constitutional amendments by a two-thirds vote of each chamber failed in the Senate on Monday.

Arkansas Senate

It’s now up to the Arkansas House to consider overriding a veto of a bill that would prohibit local police from enforcing federal gun laws in Arkansas. The Senate voted 21-12 Monday to override Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of Senate Bill 298.

Arkansas Senate

A bill that would have replaced the state’s existing Confederate Flag Day with a newly-created Arkansas Day failed in a Senate committee Monday.

House Bill 1916 fell one vote short of the needed five in the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee to advance to the full Senate. Members voted 4-3 for it, with one member not voting. 

Arkansas House

A bill that would establish statewide minimum housing standards is one step closer to going to the governor, after passing the Arkansas House on Thursday.

By a vote of 89-0, with one member voting present, representatives passed Senate Bill 594.

The legislation establishes minimum housing standards for rented properties that landlords must provide such as an "available source of electricity" and a "functioning" roof.

Arkansas House

The Arkansas House has voted to advance a bill that would prohibit public schools, as well as open enrollment charter schools in the state, from teaching certain aspects about racism.

Arkansas Senate

The Arkansas Senate has passed the appropriation for the state Department of Commerce for the 2021-2022 fiscal year after failing it on three previous votes. 

Senators voted 28-2 on Wednesday, gaining one additional vote for the needed 27 to pass it. The Senate failed to pass the appropriation both on Monday and Tuesday. 

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