Arkansas Politics

As the consequences of automatic federal spending cuts begin to seep into daily life, Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas says his office is already fielding calls from concerned citizens. Pryor says the sequester will have long-term implications.

U.S. Senators John Boozman and Mark Pryor of Arkansas have joined a bipartisan coalition of senators who want quick approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The pipeline would move oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Boozman says the group is urging Secretary of State John Kerry to approve the project within the first quarter of this year.

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.

Gov. Beebe Disapproves Lt. Gov. Darr's Actions

Feb 26, 2013

Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr is standing by his decision to sign a bill into law while Governor Mike Beebe was out of the state on business. Act 145 bans the public release of concealed handgun license records.

The bill would have become law with or without a signature since Beebe didn't veto it, but Darr wanted it put into effect immediately. Beebe says the lieutenant governor embarrassed himself by doing this. "I will be much more careful, [because] people like that you have to watch. You can't turn your back on them" he said. 

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.

Poll: Asa Hutchinson Is The Front-Runner For Governor In 2014

Feb 25, 2013

A new poll shows that in the 2014 Governor’s race, Republican Asa Hutchinson has an early lead over two potential Democratic rivals, Mike Ross and Bill Halter.

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 met with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in Washington DC this Friday to discuss how low-income Arkansans can purchase insurance without going on expanded Medicaid. 

Arkansas is one of six states to be awarded a $42 million dollar grant for a new health care initiative. Beebe says the plan will address preventative care, as well as existing chronic conditions. 

Lieutenant Governor's office

With Gov. Mike Beebe out of state attending a National Governors Association meeting in Washington, Lt. Gov. Mark Darr Friday signed into law a bill that makes private a list of people who can carry concealed weapons in Arkansas.

Gov. Beebe had said he would not sign the bill, but also would not veto it, which would allow it to become law five days after reaching his desk.

But in his role as Acting Governor, Darr signed it into law, saying in a written statement that he felt there should be no delay.

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.

Former Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter disagrees with the House and Rules Committee’s bill to decrease the amount of lottery funded scholarships awarded to college students across Arkansas.

He says over 100,000 students have already benefited from the $4,500 awarded to them each year, with freshman enrollment of Arkansas students increasing significantly since instating the scholarship program. 

Guns In Church Bill Passes In House And Senate

Feb 5, 2013

Governor Mike Beebe says he will sign the bill allowing concealed weapons in Arkansas's churches if it reaches his desk. Both the Senate and the House have passed the legislation, with the latter approving it Monday.

The bill, proposed by Republican Senator Bryan King of Green Forest, lifts the previously established ban on guns in places of worship.Arkansas, along with nine other states, does not allow them. KUAR News called more than 30 churches with many pastors not wanting to comment on the potentially divisive issue.

Michael Hibblen

A major new employer will be coming to east Arkansas IF the legislature approves start-up funding for the project.

Governor Mike Beebe announced Tuesday that a much talked about super-project involves a steel mill in Osceola.

"It is a $1.1 billion investment.  It is 525 direct, immediate jobs with an average salary of $75,000 a piece," Gov. Beebe said to applause in a packed conference room at the Capitol.

About 2,000 temporary construction jobs would also be created as the mill is being built.

McDaniel Out, Halter In Race For Ark. Governor

Jan 25, 2013

  Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat, officially ended his bid to become the state's next Governor on Friday. In a message to supporters, McDaniel said he is proud of his record in the legislature and as AG, but now believes he would have a tough time winning the 2014 gubernatorial race.

"I am now convinced that if I run for Governor, this campaign would be about me personally, rather than Arkansas's future,” said McDaniel.

Results from a nonpartisan academic poll, conducted by the Diane Blair Center at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville and the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, provide new details on the changing social and political views of many Americans.

Over 3,600 people participated in the national survey that was conducted over 10 days right after the 2012 election.

US Senator Mark Pryor
pryor.senate.gov

The kickoff for Senator Mark Pryor’s re-election campaign is set for March 16th.

Former President Clinton is among political leaders expected to take part in the event in Little Rock.

Although the election is still a year and a half away, Pryor Campaign Manager Jeff Weaver said it is necessary to start early.

“You hate to start raising money this early, but you kind of have to. These races are very expensive to run,” said Weaver.

Michael Hibblen

A former state lawmaker, who has led efforts concerning state highways in previous years, was appointed Thursday to the Arkansas Highway Commission.

Former House Speaker Robert Moore was named to a 10-year term, replacing commission Chairman Madison Murphy, whose term is expiring.

Moore said he realizes the significance and challenges of maintaining good highways and will look for innovative new ways to meet the challenges of funding needed work.

Starting Mon, Dec. 17 through Tuesday, Dec.18, Little Rock is hosting the world’s largest annual forum of former democratic heads of state, Club de Madrid.

More than 40 former leaders will attend the event.

Governor Mike Beebe, in his weekly radio address over the weekend, said he is proud of Arkansas’ achievements in getting recognition from people around the world.

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.

For the first time since before the Civil War, Republicans Tuesday night won control of both chambers of the Arkansas Legislature.

Republican incumbents from Arkansas in the U.S. House of Representatives also won re-election, while Tom Cotton won the 4th district seat being vacated by Democrat Mike Ross.

But the margins in the state House and Senate weren't as wide as Republican leaders had hoped, suggesting both parties will still have to work together in reaching mutually satisfying agreements in the coming legislative session.

Arkansas Voters Head To Polls On Election Day

Nov 5, 2012

Listen to the audio link above to hear more views from voters at polling sites in central Arkansas.

Voters are at polling sites in communities across Arkansas for their final chance today to weigh-in on the issues and candidates this election cycle. At a precinct in Saline County, Leslie Bass said she was an undecided voter for a long time, but finally made up her mind.

Doctors voicing their opposition to Issue 5
Photo: Kezia Nanda

Several doctors are voicing their opposition to a medical marijuana proposal that will be on the ballot next month.

Members with the Physician Coalition Against Medical Marijuana spoke Wednesday afternoon in Little Rock saying marijuana has not been adequately researched.

Dr. David Smith with Baptist Health Medical Center says he deals with patients suffering from pain and death everyday and doesn’t believe this is the solution.

Little Rock Airport
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Little Rock National Airport is being renamed in honor of Bill and Hillary Clinton. The airport's commission unanimously approved the name change Tuesday after hearing comments from the public.

Arkansas House Speaker-elect Darren Williams told the panel he believes it is an appropriate way to honor the 42nd President and the Secretary of State. 

Where did the political jingle go?

Oct 26, 2008

One aspect of electioneering is quickly becoming a relic. The political jingle, a catchy campaign tune that could connect a candidate with the office he or she was running for, has fallen by the wayside in national, state and local campaigns.

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