Arkansas Government

Issues That Matter: The 2020 U.S. Census And Arkansas

Dec 12, 2019
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Issues That Matter: The 2020 U.S. Census is the third forum in a series presented by KUAR, the Central Arkansas Library System and the League of Women Voters.

Arkansas finance office says the state's revenue remains above forecast and above the same point last year.

The Department of Finance and Administration on Monday said Arkansas' net available revenue in October totaled $470.9 million, which is $35.5 million above the same month last year and $33.3 million above forecast. The state's net available revenue for the fiscal year that began July 1 is $1.9 billion, which is $72.2 million above forecast.

Arkansas is 1 of 15 states where citizens have the right to propose new state laws and constitutional amendments for voters to decide statewide.

Article 5 of the 1874 Arkansas Constitution grants this power to the people, but it wasn’t until the progressive teen years of the 1900s that citizens used their authority to propose a handful of amendments involving the legislative session and bond issues.

In the years since then, citizens have used the initiative process to enact laws such as:

DHS Division of Children and Family Services Director Mischa Martin points to a chart included in the report showing improvements to Arkansas's child welfare system during a meeting with reporters Wednesday.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A new report from the state says Arkansas is making major progress toward improving its child welfare system, which drew praise from Gov. Asa Hutchinson Wednesday. A few years ago the state had a disproportionate number kids in foster care, workers with unmanageable caseloads and partners who said they weren’t getting the support needed.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) talking to reporters in his Capitol office.
KUAR News

Less than a year into his second term, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has accomplished several of his priorities. During this year’s legislative session, his main four goals: an increase in teacher pay, the passage of the final part of his tax plan, funding for state highways and a transformation of Arkansas’s state government all made it through.

Another priority for Hutchinson is greater broadband access across the state for both schools and rural areas.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson expanded on previous comments concerning two recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, including the prospect of adopting an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) in Arkansas. An ERPO, known colloquially as a red flag law, would outline a process officials could use to temporarily remove guns from individuals who are deemed a danger to themselves or others. Hutchinson said a red flag law would have to balance the need for protection with the due process of law.

Mosaic Templars
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, which tells the story of African-Americans in Arkansas, is striving to raise $3 million to renovate its educational exhibit space. The museum opened in 2008 in a spot that was once the heart of Little Rock’s black community.

During a ceremony Monday with Gov. Asa Hutchinson at the state Capitol, backers of the fundraising campaign accepted the museum’s largest-ever corporate donation. Union Pacific Railroad, which employed about 2,600 people in the state as of last year, gave $300,000 toward the campaign.

Asa Hutchinson
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Gov. Asa Hutchinson will celebrate his election to a second term with two days of inaugural events on January 14-15, 2019.

Hutchinson was re-elected to a second term as governor in November 2018 with 65% of the vote.

The two-day inaugural celebration will center around the theme “Together for Success” and will include free and paid events and activities. Dave and Sarah Hutchinson Wengel, Hutchinson’s daughter and son-in-law, are co-chairs of the 2019 Inaugural Committee.

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.

Arkansas finance officials say the state's revenue last month remained above expectations and higher than the same month last year.

The Department of Finance and Administration on Tuesday said the state's net available revenue in September totaled $569.6 million, which is $50.7 million above the same month a year ago and $15.4 million above forecast. The state's revenue so far for the fiscal year that began July 1 is more than $1.4 billion, which is $33.4 million above forecast.

File photo: Gov. Asa Hutchinson presenting part of his Arkansas Works plan, the state's version of Medicaid expansion.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Thousands of Arkansans are at risk of losing their healthcare coverage this weekend for failing to comply with a recently enacted work requirement for the state's Medicaid expansion program. The deadline is Friday at 5 p.m.

August is the third month that a work requirement has been in place for the Arkansas Works program. Enrollees who fail to report three months in a row will lose their coverage on the first day of the following month. That means those who haven't reported anything will be cut from the program on Saturday.

Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Amidst more revelations of problems tied to Arkansas’s nascent medical marijuana program, the architect of the state’s voter-approved amendment is calling for commissioners to abandon their process of scoring cultivation applications.

Attorney David Couch says the merit-based scoring system has been plagued with allegations that have rocked public confidence in the process.

Voter ID Vote photo ID
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas officials are appealing a judge's order blocking the state from enforcing a voter ID law nearly identical to a measure struck down as unconstitutional four years ago.

Ten Commandments
Max Brantley / Arkansas Times

A Ten Commandments monument will be installed outside Arkansas' Capitol next week, months after the original display was destroyed.

The Arkansas Secretary of State's office said it expects the new display to be installed on the morning of April 26.

The original display that was installed outside Capitol last June was destroyed less than 24 hours later. The man accused of driving his car into it apologized in 2015 for also destroying a Ten Commandments monument outside Oklahoma's Capitol.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson talking with reporters in his office at the state Capitol.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to expedite an appeal of a judge’s order blocking the issuance of medical marijuana cultivation licenses. He also said Monday that President Donald Trump is ”winning on better trade deals for America” but cautioned against engaging in a trade war with China.

Speaking to reporters in his office Monday, Hutchinson said the state has no choice but to wait for the Supreme Court regarding medical marijuana cultivation licenses.

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