Arkansas Legislature

The latest news about the Arkansas Legislature.

Ann Clemmer
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

The Arkansas House of Representatives has overridden by a vote of 56 to 33 the Governor’s veto of a controversial bill that restricts abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The bill will take effect 90 days after the conclusion of this year’s legislative session after the Senate voted 20-14 to override the veto Tuesday.

Republican Sen. Jason Rapert of Conway is the sponsor of SB 134, also called the Human Heartbeat Protection Act. It prohibits a pregnant woman from having an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, or after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The Arkansas Senate voted Tuesday to override the Governor's veto of a bill that would ban most abortions after 12 weeks.  It now heads to the Arkansas House.

Arkansas Increase In Minimum Wage Fails In Committee

Mar 5, 2013
Arkansas Capitol building.
Ron Breeding / KUAR News

An effort to raise Arkansas' minimum wage failed to make it out of a House committee Tuesday. The measure by Democratic Rep. Butch Wilkins of Bono would have increased the state's minimum wage by two dollars to $8.25 for all employees, except part-time student workers at universities.

“I don’t think the facts will show that the minimum wage increase is really harmful to the economy,” said Wilkins.

Arkansas Lawmakers Approve Contract On Medicaid

Mar 5, 2013
Arkansas Capitol
flickr.com

Arkansas lawmakers have approved a $220,000 contract with a consultant to review Medicaid and other public assistance programs, despite objections from Democrats over the way the agreement was handled.

Gov. Mike Beebe issued his second veto of this year’s legislative session Monday and again it was an abortion-related bill.

Gov. Beebe Vetoes Another Abortion Bill

Mar 4, 2013

Gov. Mike Beebe today vetoed legislation that would prohibit most abortions after 12 weeks. The governor, in his veto letter, said Senate Bill 134 by Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, “would blatantly violate the United State Constitution” if it became law.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

The Arkansas Senate is advancing a bill to Governor Mike Beebe that would ban most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.  This comes immediately after the upper chamber voted Thursday morning to override the Governor’s veto of a bill banning most abortions after 20 weeks.

Representative Andy Mayberry, a Republican from Hensley, sponsored the 20-week ban. He says it’s been a personal mission.

Now that lawmakers know the state can opt to insure individuals eligible for a federal Medicaid expansion on private insurance exchanges, lawmakers in both parties are indicating expansion may be more likely for Arkansas.

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe has vetoed HB 1037, also known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have banned most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

"House Bill 1037, if it became law, would squarely contradict Supreme Court precedent," the Governor said in a written statement Tuesday.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

A bill that promises to reign in state government growth advanced out of committee Tuesday, for the second time.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Arkansas Speaker of the House Davy Carter is calling on lawmakers to make $150 million in tax cuts this session.

The Republican from Cabot visited the House Judiciary, Public Health and Revenue and Tax Committees Tuesday morning reminding each committee of the time frame of the legislative session.

In the House Revenue and Tax Committee he told lawmakers he was counting on them to wade through the over $2 billion in tax cuts they have before them in a timely manner. He said not all tax cuts will be possible.

A bill that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks may still have a chance, even after the Governor vetoed it Tuesday.

Governor Mike Beebe may have vetoed Representative Andy Mayberry’s 20-week abortion ban, but not before singing the Hensley Republican’s praises for asking Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr not to sign it while the Governor was out of the state.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Legislation to reduce the scholarship amount paid to students from the Arkansas Lottery is now going to the Governor for a signature.

The bill would set scholarships in tiers. Freshmen would receive $2,000, which would increase by $1,000 each year until senior year, topping out at $5,000.

The program currently pays $4,500 per year to four-year college students.

Two-year college students would be eligible for $2,000 per year, down from $2,250.

Governor Mike Beebe is heading back from Washington DC, and with him are answers to lawmakers’ questions about the state’s options for expanding Medicaid under the Federal health care law.

The Governor, a Democrat, supports expansion, but some Republicans want more flexibility in the plan.

Representative Charlie Collins of Fayetteville says he and his colleagues want to see more private insurance options.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (4th District) speaking in 2013 at the Arkansas Capitol when he was a State Rep.
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

The sponsor of a bill that would create a controversial state-spending cap says he will try it again in House committee Tuesday.

House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman, a Republican from Hot Springs, says he’s been researching successful spending caps in other states.

New Survey: Arkansans Divided On Concealed Weapons Bill

Feb 22, 2013

A survey released Friday by Talk Business and Hendrix College finds by a slight margin that most respondents support a bill that would allow weapons to be carried on college campuses by licensed faculty and staff. 

49% are in favor of the proposal, while 43-percent are against it.  Roby Brock with Talk Business Arkansas says it shows that gun rights issues remain a divisive topic.  

Governor Mike Beebe is neither vetoing, nor signing a law to make a list of concealed handgun permit holders a secret.

Instead, he’ll let the law take effect without his signature.

Matt DeCample, the Governor’s spokesman said Thursday that the Governor is against the law, because he says there hasn’t been any instances of permit holders being victimized due to their information being out there.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

A bill that would require voters in Arkansas to show a valid picture ID when casting a ballot is moving to a House committee after the Senate passed it this Wednesday.

Senator Bryan King, a Republican from Green Forest, sponsored the bill. He says it will make voters more confident in the voting process.

“We know that photo ID is an everyday part of life, that you have to use a photo ID to get on a plane, you have to use a photo ID to get a library card, it’s just an everyday part of life,” King said.

  The Arkansas House of Representatives is set to vote on two controversial abortion bans, possibly later this week, after a committee approved the legislation Tuesday.

One bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks, and the other would ban them after 12. Both bills have been amended to include exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the mother, but some say both bills go too far, infringing on women’s rights to control their reproductive health.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

  Arkansas now has a beefed-up statute designed to deal with human trafficking offenses after the Governor signed the Human Trafficking Act of 2013 into law Tuesday.

The bill will exempt victims of human trafficking from being prosecuted for prostitution and it stiffens penalties for human traffickers.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Republican Representative Missy Irvin of Mountain View, says the bill will help the fight against human trafficking in Arkansas.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

A bill to allow public university faculty and staff who have concealed handgun permits to bring their guns on campus passed a vote in the House of Representatives Friday morning.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

  Arkansas voters are currently asked to show ID when voting, a new bill approved in Senate committee Thursday would require voters to show a government issued ID when casting a ballot.

The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee passed the bill on a voice vote.

Its sponsor, Republican Representative Bryan King of Green Forest insists there is voter fraud happening in Arkansas and says the need for the bill is a simple one.

U.S. Representative Bruce Westerman during his time in the Arkansas Legislature.
Maggie Carroll / KUAR News

The House Revenue and Tax Committee on Tuesday advanced legislation that would cap state spending.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

  A House Committee is advancing a bill that would let state colleges and universities decide whether to let permitted faculty and staff carry concealed handguns on campus.

The House Education Committee passed Representative Charley Collins’ bill Tuesday on a voice vote. Collins, a Republican from Fayetteville, says his bill is a preventative solution.

Arkansas State Legislature

Lawmakers may soon have a new tool aimed at rooting out fraud and corruption in state government.

A House committee today advanced legislation that would pay a reward to any state employee who reports waste or inefficiency. That employee would stand to receive 10 percent of any savings the state gains from their report.

  Republican Representative Nate Bell of Mena says he sees his bill is a safeguard.

File photo. State. Senator Jason Rapert (R-Bigelow) with former State Representative Anne Clemmer testifying to a committee in 2013.
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

After tabling the issue, a House committee is advancing a bill that would ban most abortions in Arkansas after 12 weeks.

Senator Jason Rapert’s bill seeks to prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat has been detected.

It passed the Senate but was tabled in a House committee until a lunchtime hearing Thursday, when it was brought back up with two amendments.

Governor Beebe with Reporters
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

New legislation on how the state must execute its death row inmates is on its way to a House committee after passing the Senate 33-0 Thursday.

AG Dustin McDaniel (D)
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

A Senate committee is advancing a law that would provide new instructions for how the state administers the death penalty.

Arkansas Capitol
flickr.com

Small school districts teetering on the edge of 350 students won’t be able to count home schoolers as a way to avoid school district consolidation.
 

Photo: Kezia Nanda

Governor Mike Beebe hopes Arkansas will not have to carry a disproportionate amount of the burden as President Obama and Congress work on a compromise for avoiding the fiscal cliff, should negotiations fail.

Beebe was back in Little Rock Wednesday after a meeting with President Obama, alongside other governors Tuesday at the White House.

The 90 minute meeting with the president also included five other governors, representing both parties and offering the states’ perspectives on negotiations.

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