Arkansas Elections

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.

Eldridge Campaign Points To UA Student Government As Debate-Invite Break In Chain

Sep 16, 2016
(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.

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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.

Boozman Campaign Says Eldridge Never Sent Debate Invite, Moderator Withdraws

Sep 14, 2016

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.

Boozman Out With First TV Ad In Arkansas U.S. Senate Race

Sep 13, 2016

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."

The Jim Hall Saga Ends With Removal From State House Ballot

Sep 13, 2016
Candidate Jim Hall filing paperwork to run for an open state House seat covering parts of Ashley and Drew counties in south Arkansas.
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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.

Election vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Not only has the 2016 presidential election cycle deviated from the typical – or expected – script, but detailed analysis by ChamberLeads.com using Little Rock-based Acxiom consumer data shows unusual demographic trends for first time voters, Talk Business & Politics reports.

Opponents have asked Arkansas' highest court to block votes for an initiative to limit damages awarded in medical lawsuits, the second challenge filed against the proposed ballot measure.

The Committee to Protect Arkansas Families on Thursday asked the state Supreme Court to bar election officials from counting any votes cast for the proposed constitutional amendment. The proposal would allow the Legislature to cap non-economic damages awarded for medical injury against health care providers, with a minimum cap of $250,000.

The Victory Building across from the state Capitol hosts the state Board of Election Commissioners.
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Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office is asking a federal appeals court to allow the state to enforce its restrictions on the abortion pill, saying the law protects the integrity of the medical profession.

State Rep. candidate Jim Hall (R-Monticello).
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Republican Party of Arkansas Chair Doyle Webb is calling on state House candidate Jim Hall "to resign his candidacy" following an appeals court ruling affirming harassment charges. Hall, a Republican from Monticello, maintains his innocence and says he won't step out of the race even though he faces jail time.

"I am not guilty and if I have to vote absentee from the jail I will do it. But I refuse to withdraw from this race," Hall told KUAR News.

In a statement, Chair Webb said Hall should get his personal life in order.

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

Republicans hoping to further erode Democratic seats in the Arkansas Legislature may have hit a stumbling block in candidate Jim Hall. The House candidate from Drew County is facing jail time for harassment after losing an appeal on Wednesday.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine standing with presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
NPR

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine is making a fundraising stop in Little Rock as part of swing through traditionally red states. The U.S. Senator from Virginia will be at the west Little Rock home of Deborah and Mike Roberts on Tuesday.

The minimum contribution for the private event is $2,700 per-person. The maximum donation, for a chair-level contributor, tops out at $50,000.

Early voters
Sarah-Koditschek / KUAR

The Democratic Party of Arkansas says the Secretary of State’s office has promised to turn over documents related to 7,730 voters it recommended county clerks remove from voting rolls.

Party legal counsel Chris Burks says Mark Martin’s office did not respond within the required three days to a Freedom of Information Act Request for information.

He says the documents could show why Martin's office requested outdated voter rolls from the state's Crime Information center and distributed them to county clerks.  

marijuana
npr.org

The Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation is joining with the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce in opposing two medical marijuana initiatives that are likely to be on the ballot this November.

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) speaking to the Political Animals Club at the Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock (file photo 2016).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton says his party’s presidential nominee Donald Trump should apologize for disparaging exchanges with the family of a Muslim American killed in combat. The Republican senator, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, commented on his affinities and disagreements with Trump’s “underdog” campaign at Tuesday’s meeting of the Political Animals Club in Little Rock.

Prompted by a reporter, Cotton defended Gold Star families. He didn’t initially ask Trump to express remorse.

marijuana
npr.org

A proposed constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for medical use fell short of the number of valid signatures required but will have 30 days to make up the difference.

To qualify for the ballot, proposed amendments this year must collect 84,859 signatures. According to a letter sent by the secretary of state’s office to David Couch of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, 72,309 of the 99,629 signatures the group submitted were valid.

arkansas gaming casino
Talk Business & Politics

Supporters of a plan to legalize casinos in three Arkansas counties have won additional time to gather signatures to put the proposal on the November ballot.

Secretary of State Mark Martin's office on Wednesday said Arkansas Wins in 2016 had fallen short of the 84,859 signatures from registered voters needed to put its proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot. But at least 75 percent of the group's signatures are valid, qualifying it for another 30 days to circulate petitions.

marijuana
npr.org

An effort is forming to oppose ballot initiatives that would legalize medical marijuana, saying it would lead to increased use of the drug and, eventually, full legalization.

The Coalition for Safer Arkansas Communities held an informational meeting Friday that included a message from Terry Benham of Impact Management, who is managing the group’s campaign, Keep Arkansas Safe. The main speaker was Little Rock native and Colorado resident Henny Laster of Smart Colorado, a group that opposes marijuana legalization in that state.

State Rep. Sheilla Lampkin, a Democrat from Monticello, died of ovarian cancer on Saturday.
arkleg.state.ar.us

State Representative Sheilla Lampkin of Monticello died of ovarian cancer on Saturday at the age of 70. Earlier in the week, Lampkin announced she was withdrawing her re-election effort due to the malady.

Asa Hutchinson Republican National Convetion
Republican National Convention

Arkansas's governor and attorney general went to bat for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump by smacking  Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton back-to-back Tuesday night in prime-time speaking slots at the Republican National Convention.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson told delegates Tuesday night that electing Clinton after President Barack Obama's eight years in office would "double your trouble."

Cotton Speaks To Convention, Only Mentions Trump Once

Jul 19, 2016
U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Yellville) at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas's Tom Cotton spoke during prime time at the Republican National Convention on Monday night. The state's junior U.S. Senator echoed military themes familiar to those following his career. Cotton was in the infantry in Iraq and Afghanistan prior to his legal and electoral careers.

Sen. Cotton only mentioned Trump's name once and never said his full name. Cotton said, "In a Trump-Pence administration and with a Republican Congress, help is on the way.” 

Watch Cotton's speech here:

Womack's Ears Stop Never Trump's Last Hurrah At Republican Convention

Jul 18, 2016
U.S. Representative Steve Womack (R-Third Distirct)
NPR

Arkansas Congressman Steve Womack was at the center of holding back the last gasp of the Never Trump movement at the Republican National Convention.

The U.S. Representative for the third district in northwest Arkansas served as chair on Monday afternoon, when rules for the convention were adopted. On a voice vote, Womack determined delegates approved the normal set of rules binding delegates to vote according to primary and caucus results and consequently paving the way to Donald Trump’s nomination.

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