Wesley Brown/ Talk Business & Politics

Wesley Brown is the Business Editor for Talk Business & Politics. He can be reached by email at wesbrocomm@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @BrownOnBusiness.

Arkansas Death Chamber Lethal Injection
Arkansas Department of Correction

The state Senate on Monday easily approved a bill that would further veil the confidentiality of the lethal drugs used to execute Arkansas inmates on death row.

Under Senate Bill 464 by Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, the legislature would give the state Department of Corrections broad powers to conceal the state’s method of capital punishment and ability to acquire the drugs necessary for lethal injection. The bill was approved by a vote of 25-9 strictly along party lines with one lawmaker, Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Searcy, voting present.

Highways traffic Big Rock Interchange interstate
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Senate on Thursday approved the final piece of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s $300 million highway funding package, albeit with a procedural twist that left some lawmakers shaking their heads during the chamber’s two-and-half hour session. Senators also passed a resolution in honor of the late Matt DeCample, a former spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe.

Arkansas House
ArkansasHouse.org

The final legislative act in Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s legacy-setting tax cut trilogy was approved Thursday in the state House of Representatives with the necessary three-fourths vote after a debate on the measure was cut short on the chamber floor.

By a vote of 82-14, Senate Bill 211 now heads to the governor’s desk where the measure is expected to be speedily signed and enacted into law early next week as the first major item in the Hutchinson administration’s broad legislative agenda for the 92nd General Assembly, officials said.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s $97 million tax cut bill for the state’s top income bracket that breezed through a Senate panel on Monday hit a wall in the full chamber after the measure failed to get the necessary three-fourths vote for approval on Tuesday.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers will go into the upcoming legislative session with a $17 million surplus as Gov. Asa Hutchinson pushes his plan to reduce the top personal income bracket from 6.9 percent to 5.9 percent by 2023.

Halfway through fiscal year 2019 that began on July 1, Arkansas net available general revenues totaled $2.85 billion year to date, which is $163.2 million or 6.1 percent ahead of year ago levels and $17 million or 0.6 percent above the state’s official forecast, according to the monthly report by the state Department of Finance and Administration.

marijuana
npr.org

Two startups located in Little Rock and Jonesboro posted the highest scores among the nearly 200 medical marijuana dispensary applications that were unexpectedly released late Thursday afternoon by the state Medical Marijuana Commission (MMC).

The Freedom of Information document dump comes one day after the five-person MMC board, chaired by Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman, postponed a highly-anticipated meeting scheduled for Wednesday to announce the dispensary scores from a pool of nearly 198 applications until new board members are seated at a rescheduled meeting on Jan. 9.

Little Rock Tech Park
Little Rock Regional Chamber

The Little Rock Technology Park Authority will soon unveil Phase II architect renderings on the city’s downtown startup village, a larger but unfinanced five-story planned development next to the current 38,000-square foot Phase I headquarters at the door step of Main Street.

A long week of televised debates ended Friday (Oct. 12) with three gubernatorial candidates mostly sparring over the policies of Republican incumbent Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is running for a second term.

The election is Nov. 6, with early voting beginning Oct. 22.

Over the past week, candidates in eight races have participated in the Arkansas Educational Television Network’s (AETN) 2018 election debates, which were taped at the network’s studios in Conway, televised throughout the week and made available online.

Governor Hutchinson reorganize state government
Governor's Office / You Tube

Before an overflow crowed in the conference room at the state Capitol, Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday unveiled his long-awaited “transformation plan” to shrink the size of the Arkansas state government from 42 to 15 agencies. It’s a proposal that has been in the making almost since he took office in early 2015.

State Sen. Jason Rapert (file photo).
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday against long-serving state Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, by local members of national atheist group who say the Arkansas lawmaker violated their constitutional rights by blocking them on social media.

Betty Jo Fernau, Catherine Shoshone, Robert Barringer and Karen Dempsey, all members of American Atheists Inc., filed the civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas against the Faulkner County Republican lawmaker for violating the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and Arkansas state law.

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