Arkansas Politics

State Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

State Rep. Clarke Tucker says he will seek the Democratic nomination for Arkansas’s second congressional district. The lawmaker from Little Rock announced Monday he will file paperwork for the office later this month.

Democrats Paul Spencer and Gwen Combs are also seeking the party’s nomination. Incumbent Republican Congressman French Hill is running for his third term.

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To get a sense of how the president's State of the Union address was received in different parts of the country, we've called on two governors. Elsewhere in the show, we'll hear from Colorado Governor Democrat John Hickenlooper.

File photo. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R).
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' attorney general has rejected the wording of a proposed ballot measure that would allow up to three casinos in the state to raise money for highways.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Thursday cited ambiguities in the proposed constitutional amendment submitted earlier this month by Driving Arkansas Forward, a group formed to campaign for the measure. The proposal calls for 65 percent of casino tax revenue to go toward highway funding.

Tom Cotton
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who has held a hardline position on immigration reform, says there are areas of compromise he’s willing to consider in order to resolve the dilemma of “dreamers” and to enact larger U.S. immigration reform.

Clean Line
Arkansas Business

Arkansas's congressional delegation has asked U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to block plans for a power line across the state, arguing that recent setbacks make it unlikely for the project to continue.

Delegation members sent a letter to Perry on Tuesday urging the Energy Department to either "pause or terminate" the $2.5 billion Clean Line Energy project. The project is expected to bring several hundred miles of wind power lines through Arkansas, which landowners say would lower property values.

On the steps of the Arkansas state Capitol today supporters of ending legal abortion gathered for a rally. Yesterday, another march with very different ralliers called for keeping abortion legal — as well as grooming female political candidates for office, gun control and other liberal aims.

Both marches enjoyed passionate speakers and considerable turnout, but only one enjoyed the presence of the state's most powerful constitutional officeholders, from Gov. Asa Hutchinson down.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

One year after the Women's March drew thousands to the streets nationwide, including in Arkansas, demonstrators again made the journey to the Arkansas State Capitol to let their voices be heard. Though this year's March On, Arkansas! March to the Polls and ensuing Rally for Reproductive Justice had numerous callbacks to the previous march, including many signature pink hats, there was a marked shift in tone. Legislators, candidates and community organizers urged the public to channel their dissatisfaction into votes for progressive politics. 

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson's campaign says it has more than $2 million in the bank as the Republican ramps up his re-election campaign.

Hutchinson's campaign on Tuesday reported raising nearly $622,000 in the final three months of 2017. It spent more than $152,000 during the same period.

Hutchinson was first elected in 2014 and announced last spring he was seeking re-election. He faces a challenge in the May Republican primary from Hot Springs gun range owner Jan Morgan.

Jacob Slaton / Clinton School of Public Service

  

Adding to Congress’s already lengthy to-do list, the federal government’s primary tool for agricultural and food policy, known as the farm bill, will need congressional reauthorization this year.  Originally designed to keep crop prices fair for consumers and farmers during the Great Depression, the bill is a piece of legislation with broad-reaching effects, especially for Arkansans.

marijuana
npr.org

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions threw a monkey wrench into the Natural State’s long-awaited launch of Arkansas’ medical marijuana industry next month by rolling back an Obama-era policy Thursday that opened the door to the legalization of pot in Arkansas and 29 other states.

The Arkansas Plant Board has doubled down on its plan to ban Dicamba, the agricultural weed killer. The vote Wednesday was a slight rebuke of state Rep. Bill Sample (R-Hot Springs) and colleagues on a legislative subcommittee that last month asked the board to reconsider the ban, specifically the April 15 cutoff date for spraying Monsanto’s controversial herbicide.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced his initial campaign team structure on Monday, Jan. 1. Five positions were filled as the governor embarks on his re-election bid. The staff and consultants include:

Campaign Manager – Robert Moery. Moery most recently served as Director of Legislative Affairs in the Office of the Governor. During the 2014 campaign, he served as Executive Aide to then candidate Asa Hutchinson. Prior to joining the 2014 campaign, Moery worked for Senator John Boozman. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas.

House Chamber of Arkansas General Assembly
wikipedia.org

Seven Republicans and two Democrats with little or no political experience have filed paperwork to run for statewide office.

Three special elections are upcoming for House and Senate seats vacated after the passing of one lawmaker, and two others getting new posts in President Donald Trump’s administration.

Ten Commandments
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Members of the Capitol Arts and Grounds Committee will be holding three hearings over the next two weeks to finalize changes to a new Ten Commandments monument at the Arkansas State Capitol.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

25 years after he took office as the country’s chief executive, former President Bill Clinton returned to Arkansas to look back on his eight years in office.

Clinton joined his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former chief campaign strategist James Carville in a conversation at the Clinton Presidential Center’s Frank and Kula Kumpuris Distinguished Lecture Series.

Bill Hillary Clinton Rock Island Bridge
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Bill and Hillary Clinton are appearing jointly at a lecture in the former president's home state later this month to mark the 25th anniversary of his 1992 election.

The Clinton School of Public Service and the Clinton Foundation announced Thursday the former first couple is appearing at a "special conversation" on Nov. 18 that will be moderated by political strategist and commentator James Carville. The event is being presented through the Frank and Kula Kumpuris distinguished lecture series.

Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren (R-Gravette) was selected as to chair the Tax Reform and Relief Task Force.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The Republican leader of the Arkansas Senate says his company is cutting ties with a drug rehabilitation program amid reports that workers provided by the nonprofit were not getting paid. In an interview with KUAR News, Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren denied any wrongdoing by his company.

The accusations were detailed by news outlet Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting as part of a larger series looking at questionable practices by some rehab programs. On Tuesday a story was published by reporters Amy Julia Harris and Shoshana Walker saying Hendren’s company in northwest Arkansas relied on the workers who weren’t getting any monetary compensation.

 

Arkansas voters hold varying views on three statewide elected officials who are all polling below 50% in job performance approval.

A new survey from TBP-Hendrix College, conducted a week ago, shows Gov. Asa Hutchinson with the largest margin of approval, while attitudes toward U.S. Senator John Boozman are evenly split. U.S. Senator Tom Cotton has the highest approval rating of all three politicians, but he also has the highest disapproval number.

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

One year after Donald Trump’s historic presidential victory in Arkansas, where he garnered 60.5% of the state’s vote, President Trump now finds himself below majority support in his job performance.

The latest Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College Poll of 784 statewide voters finds that Trump has a thin margin of approval versus disapproval. In the survey conducted on Monday, October 23, voters were asked:

Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the job President Donald Trump is doing?

47.5%  Approve
45.5%  Disapprove
7%   Don’t know

An official with the Arkansas Department of Higher Education told lawmakers Thursday the department is moving ahead with forming procedures to try to address sexual assault on college campuses.

The Department is approaching a November 3 deadline to create a plan for preventing sexual assault and for providing more comprehensive education on how sexual assault is legally defined.

State Sen. Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs) and Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department Director Scott Bennett presenting the governor's highway bill to a committee.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas highway officials are leaving open the possibility they'll take a road funding proposal to lawmakers in 2019 rather try to put it on the ballot next year. The move comes after the state's governor said he'll oppose any plan to take general revenue to fund road improvements.

A lobbyist and former Arkansas state representative who served on President Donald Trump's Commission on Election Integrity has died. His business partner, Melissa Moody, said Tuesday former Democratic state Rep. David Dunn of Forrest City died Monday during surgery to repair an aortic aneurism. He was 52.

French Hill
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, wants to see a broader tax base as part of federal tax reform, and with few exceptions, he’s open to a review of many deductions to eliminate that could lower overall rates.

Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, Hill said he supports keeping deductions for mortgage interest and charitable contributions, but beyond that he’s open-minded to changes.

Jan Morgan in a photo posted to Facebook on August 18.
Facebook

A gun rights advocate who once declared her firing range "Muslim-free" says she's exploring challenging Arkansas' governor in the state's Republican primary next year.

Jan Morgan said Tuesday she's forming an exploratory committee and will travel around Arkansas as she considers whether to run against Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson next year. Hutchinson announced in May that he was seeking a second term.

www.are.uscourts.gov

A federal judge has blocked a new law that seeks to restrict panhandling in Arkansas. The law was the second attempt by the Arkansas Legislature to ban people from asking for money and other help on most sidewalks and intersections.

Despite the law passing with bipartisan support, U.S. District Court Judge Billy Roy Wilson said the law proposed by Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville) is “plainly unconstitutional.” Collins tells KUAR News he authored the law to put an end to threatening conduct by panhandlers.

Gov. Mike Beebe
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

In a rare public disagreement with his Republican successor, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe on Monday called the proposed Graham-Cassidy amendment to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act “a terrible bill” that would hurt the state’s economy and healthcare marketplace.

Governor Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Governor's Office / You Tube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday put the weight of his office behind Congress’ latest attempt to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system, saying the Graham-Cassidy bill now circulating in the U.S. Senate was the “best and last opportunity” to replace the Affordable Care Act passed by former President Barack Obama.

An Arkansas immigrant rights coalition is organizing community meetings, a protest at the state capitol and a 24-hour hunger strike following the federal repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy better known as DACA.

Meanwhile, state officials, from Gov. Asa Hutchinson to U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford (R-1st District) called DACA an unconstitutional executive action leftover from the previous administration of Barack Obama.

Campus Carry Advocates Say Safety Course Will Address Concerns

Aug 31, 2017

John Fulbright is manning a table at a gun show on a Sunday afternoon at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds in Little Rock.

He’s selling firearms and holsters for people who want to hide the weapons they’re carrying. He hovers over dozens of guns laid out for sale on the counter, and pulls a hard, synthetic holster out of its box to  hold it up for display.

“Some people like the appendix carry, which is carried in the front. Some people carry at the 3 o'clock positions, sometimes back to the five or 7 o'clock positions,” he says. “It’s just what’s comfortable for that person. They carry inside the waistband, outside the waistband...”

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Dozens of parents and children rallied against proposed cuts to the federal budget in Little Rock Wednesday, saying they would severely impact Medicaid services in Arkansas. Arkansas Community Organizations hosted the “Children for Healthcare” Day of Action across from Stephens Elementary School, where kids wrote symbolic postcards addressed to U.S. Rep. French Hill.

Gwendolynn Millen Combs teaches at Stephens Elementary. She’s also an Air Force veteran, and a Democratic hopeful for Hill’s seat in the House.

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