Arkansas Elections

State Rep. Dan Douglas (R-Bentonville) speaking against medical marijuana ballot measures while pledging to introduce a more restricted policy in 2017.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

An Arkansas lawmaker opposed to two medical marijuana ballot measures said Monday he'll introduce legislation during next year's session to make a more limited form of the drug available to some patients if voters reject the proposals, a move legalization proponents dismissed as a ploy to defeat their efforts.

Medical Marijuana
Arkansans for Compassionate Care

A new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey shows that opposition remains stronger than support for two medical marijuana proposals that will be on the November ballot.

The poll, conducted statewide among 463 likely Arkansas voters on October 21, 2016, has a margin of error of 4.6%.

Election vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Early voting is beginning for Arkansas' general election, though the fate of a medical marijuana proposal being challenged before the state's highest court still remains unclear.

Voters can cast ballots early starting Monday for the Nov. 8 election, which includes the presidential election and U.S. Senate race between Republican Sen. John Boozman and Democratic challenger Conner Eldridge. The secretary of state's office is estimating potentially 70 percent of Arkansas' 1.7 million voters will cast a ballot in the election.

An excerpt from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's October 2016 3rd Quarter report for the 2018 election cycle.
Arkansas Secretary of State's Office

How American democracy is faring this presidential election is the subject of many perplexed and disillusioned observers but a few Arkansas candidates already have their eyes on whatever comes next, with campaign contributions trickling in for the 2018 cycle. High dollar contributions from Political Action Committees and individual business owners dominate the filings. A number of lower level contributions from persons employed in governmental affairs also line some reports. As could be expected virtually nothing was allocated to 2018 campaign expenditures.

Senate John Boozman, Conner Eldridge, Frank Gilbert
AETN

The three candidates for U.S. Senate defended their parties’ presidential candidates and attacked the others in their first and only debate this election season.

At a debate at AETN, incumbent Republican Sen. John Boozman said the two candidates are “very flawed” but the “total package” was the reason he is supporting his party’s nominee, Donald Trump. He said Trump had put forth a list of acceptable Supreme Court nominees while Hillary Clinton in the debate listed personal qualifications but didn’t mention the Constitution.

The Arkansas Supreme Court issued decisions Thursday impacting three items that voters were to consider in next month's general election. Justices disqualified proposals to legalize three casinos and place limits on medical liability cases, while saying a medical marijuana proposal can be considered.

2nd district congressional race Democrat Dianne Curry, Libertarian Chris Hayes and Republican incumbent French Hill.
AETN

The three candidates for the state’s 2nd District congressional seat faced off in the final AETN debate, discussing banking reform, the national debt and other issues.

The debate featured Republican U.S. Rep French Hill, Democrat Dianne Curry and Libertarian Chris Hayes.

Asked what banking reforms are needed to protect smaller banks from regulations while keeping the country safe from big banks’ unsafe practices, Hill, a former banker, faulted Congress for passing the Dodd-Frank Act, saying it hurt small community banks.

1st district congressional race  Rick Crawford (R) and Mark West (L)
AETN

Republican First District Congressman Rick Crawford and his Libertarian opponent, Mark West, criticized their opposing parties’ presidential nominees and disagreed about America’s role overseas during a lively debate sponsored by AETN. The debate airs at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Asked how he would explain Donald Trump’s recent comments about women to his female constituents, Crawford said the comments disturbed him but that Trump is still a better choice than Hillary Clinton, whose policies would be a continuation of President Barack Obama’s.

Candidates for the 4th District seat: Libertarian Kerry Hicks and Republican incumbent Bruce Westerman.
AETN

Republican Rep. Bruce Westerman said tax returns should be simple enough to be filed on a postcard, while his Libertarian challenger, Kerry Hicks of Mena, said the country must address its $19 trillion national debt.

The Arkansas Hospital Association and the Arkansas Medical Society have endorsed Issue 4, the proposed constitutional amendment directing the Legislature to set caps of at least $250,000 on non-economic damages in medical lawsuits and limiting attorney contingency fees to one-third of jury awards after expenses.

The two associations announced that their governing boards had formally endorsed the amendment in a joint press release Monday. Voters will decide on the amendment in the November 8 elections if the proposal survives two lawsuits.

petition signatures signature gathering
WESA

A "special master" appointed by the Arkansas Supreme Court to review a ballot proposal to legalize casinos in three counties says Secretary of State Mark Martin was wrong when he certified a signature petition seeking the election and placed it on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

File photo: Former US Attorney Conner Eldridge formally launching his US Senate campaign from his family store in Augusta.
Arkansas Times

The U.S. Senate race in Arkansas between Republican incumbent John Boozman, Democrat Conner Eldridge, and Libertarian Frank Gilbert isn’t exactly heating up or grabbing the public’s attention but we are getting ever closer to Election Day.

KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman spoke with Conner Eldridge about convincing Trump voters to crossover for the Senate race, how to respond to a President Clinton agenda, bombings in NYC and New Jersey, pre-K, and three Arkansas ballot issues.

Donald Trump speaking at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey shows that Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump has widened his lead over Democrat Hillary Clinton by another 10 points from late June.

marijuana
npr.org

The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected one of two efforts to block a medical marijuana proposal from the November ballot.

Arkansas Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe with Gov. Asa Hutchinson and other state health officials urging opposition to two medical marijuana ballot measures.
David Monteith / KUAR News

A few talking points against two medical marijuana ballot measures, many of them familiar, have cropped up over the past few weeks as opponents continue to make their case in a string of press conferences. Supporters of medical marijuana have heard them before and have retorts at the ready.

Gov. Mike Beebe
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe is opposing a ballot measure that would legalize casinos in three counties.

Protect Arkansas Values/Stop Casinos Now announced Wednesday the former Democratic governor is opposing the proposed constitutional measure that's on the Nov. 8 ballot. Beebe said in a statement released by the group that he believes the measure would not give local communities the right to decide whether they want expanded gambling.

The third leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer is medical errors, a set of Johns Hopkins University researchers concluded in a paper published this spring in The BMJ. So how much should we be able to sue for our pain and suffering when doctors make mistakes, and should the state legislature get to decide?

The campaign behind an effort to legalize casinos in three Arkansas counties is asking the state's highest court to dismiss a lawsuit trying to block votes for the ballot measure.

Arkansas Wins in 2016 asked the state Supreme Court on Monday to dismiss the lawsuit by opponents that claims the ballot measure is misleading and that supporters didn't follow the law for reporting paid canvassers. The lawsuit asks the court to block election officials from counting any votes for the measure in the November election.

(file photo) Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Conner Eldridge filing paperwork to run for office inside the state Capitol building.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Conner Eldridge's campaign is pointing to the University of Arkansas Associated Student Government for a lapse in ensuring the Republican incumbent received a debate invitation. The student group says Eldridge's team had told them it sent out an invite as well.

The first debate of the U.S. Senate race takes place Friday afternoon at 3:30 at the University of Arkansas. It's being hosted by the UA Law School's Young Democrats. It will not feature Republican incumbent John Boozman. Libertarian Frank Gilbert will be debating.

The group behind a proposal being challenged before the Arkansas Supreme Court to put limits on damages awarded in medical lawsuits claims state election officials incorrectly tossed out some of the signatures that were submitted for the ballot measure.

The group that opposes a voter-initiated act to authorize three casinos in Arkansas has received $109,500 in campaign donations from Oaklawn Racing and Gaming and Southland Park Gaming and Racing.

Oaklawn has donated $59,500 while Delaware North, the parent company of Southland, has donated $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Arkansas’ Values/Stop Casinos Now, according to the Committee’s Arkansas Ethics Commission filing report. Oaklawn and Southland both operate casinos.

Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Conner Eldridge has been pillorying Republican incumbent John Boozman for not accepting his invitations to debate, but he may not have sent out a formal invite for a debate Friday. Eldridge and Libertarian Frank Gilbert will be debating each other at the University of Arkansas but Sen. Boozman's campaign says it never got an invite.

Republican incumbent John Boozman is launching his first television advertisement in the race against Democrat Conner Eldridge and Libertarian Frank Gilbert for an Arkansas U.S. Senate seat. The ad tries to convey that the former U.S. Representative and first term U.S. Senator is in touch with his state.

"He's traveled all cross our state getting to know us and listening to our problems," the ad's narrator says, "the people of Arkansas know, John Boozman puts us first."

Candidate Jim Hall filing paperwork to run for an open state House seat covering parts of Ashley and Drew counties in south Arkansas.
facebook.com

Jim Hall, the Republican nominee for House District 9 in south Arkansas, will be removed from the November ballot for a 2014 hot check conviction. Special Circuit Judge Jim Laser ruled the conviction amounts to an infamous crime which bars Hall from the ballot.

Patty Wooten at SEARK Today reported Laser's interpretation of Hall's crime.

Greg Ledding Casinos
David Monteith / KUAR News

Forty state legislators are opposing a ballot measure that would legalize casinos in three Arkansas counties.

The Committee to Protect Arkansas' Values/Stop Casinos Now on Monday released the list of lawmakers backing their bid to stop a proposed constitutional amendment allowing the casinos in Boone, Miller and Washington counties. The proposal would allow three companies owned by supporters of the amendment to open the casinos.

Arkansas Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe with Gov. Asa Hutchinson and other state health officials urging opposition to two medical marijuana ballot measures.
David Monteith / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and some of the state's top doctors are criticizing efforts to legalize medical marijuana, accusing backers of two ballot measures of misleading voters about the benefits of the drug.

(file photo) Family Council Action Committee Director Jerry Cox at his office.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

One of the key opposition groups that helped narrowly defeat a medical marijuana measure in 2012 is gearing up to do the same this fall. The Family Council Action Committee outlined its arguments and announced its intention to launch an active campaign at the state Capitol on Thursday.

Family Council’s director Jerry Cox laid forth the crux of his argument against the two medical marijuana ballot measures, “These measures are simply recreational marijuana masquerading as medicine.”

Arkansas' Supreme Court has been asked to block a proposal to legalize casinos in three counties, the latest in a growing list of efforts to disqualify measures from the November ballot.

The Committee to Protect Arkansas Values/Stop Casinos Now on Tuesday asked the court to prevent election officials from counting any votes for the proposed constitutional amendment in the Nov. 8 election. The proposal would legalize casinos in Boone, Miller and Washington counties for three companies owned by supporters of the amendment.

The Family Council Action Committee says it's opposing a ballot measure placing limits on medical lawsuit damages in Arkansas, signaling a possible split among conservatives on the proposal.

The social conservative group on Tuesday said it's opposing the effort to allow the Legislature to cap non-economic damages awarded for medical injury against health care providers, with a minimum $250,000 cap. The proposal, if approved by voters, would also put a limit on the contingency fees attorneys could receive in medical injury cases.

marijuana
npr.org

A coalition of groups already trying to block a medical marijuana measure from the Arkansas ballot has asked the state's highest court to also disqualify a competing legalization proposal.

Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana on Tuesday asked the state Supreme Court to prevent election officials from counting any votes for the proposal to allow patients with certain medical conditions to buy the drug. The coalition includes the state Chamber of Commerce, the Arkansas Farm Bureau and the Family Council Action Committee.

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