Arkansas Politics

Tom Cotton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton says he is hopeful that Congress backs President Trump's plan to build a wall on the country's southern border and also says local communities should decide what to do with Confederate monuments.

Arkansas' junior senator spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday after presenting the survivors of a World War II veteran with medals he had earned.

Michael Hibblen
Governor's Office

Gov. Asa Hutchinson shared his thoughts with a national audience on President Trump's response to violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. In an interview Friday on NPR's All Things Considered, the Arkansas Republican said the president needs to send a clear message that "white supremacy, neo-Nazism has no place in American values."

But Hutchinson also spoke against the removal of Confederate statues and monuments, saying it would be dismantling history.  

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Supporters of a program that allows undocumented children to stay in the U.S. are urging Arkansas’s Attorney General to change her position on the issue.

A large group of supporters and recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program crowded into the Little Rock office of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Tuesday. They met with Carl Vogelpohl, Rutledge’s Chief of Staff, and presented him with a petition organized by the Arkansas United Community Coalition.

At least two Arkansas residents found themselves the target of a social media doxxing this weekend, following the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that turned violent this weekend.

Doxxing comes from the word document and refers to the outing of a person’s real identity on social media to get revenge for something they did.

Or didn’t do, in this case.

The subject quickly turned to dicamba during Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s two-day, seven-county tour across east and northeastern Arkansas.   The tour stopped in rural Leachville on Wednesday so the governor could meet with farmers where they live and grow their crops.

The controversial weed killer is currently on a 120-day ban for farm applications in Arkansas and Missouri amid complaints that it can be carried by the wind to neighboring farms and settle on to crops where it isn’t intended.

“I know that here in Mississippi County particularly, it’s like ground zero for the problems with dicamba,” said the governor.

U.S. Senator John Boozman in the Republican Party of Arkansas headquarters in 2016 during a campaign interview.
KUAR News

U.S. Senator John Boozman, R-Ark., has scheduled a follow-up surgical procedure next Tuesday (Aug. 15) that’s related to an emergency heart surgery he underwent a little more than three years ago.

Boozman, Arkansas’ senior senator, had surgery April 22, 2014, to fix an aortic dissection. The procedure was performed at Mercy Hospital in Rogers. The medical staff at the time said the surgery went as planned.

CDC, National Vital Statistics System

The politics of public health will be at play as Arkansas moves forward with studying pregnancy-related deaths.

Arkansas has the third-highest rate of women who die during pregnancy or delivery, according to the United Health Foundation. This has prompted a study into the matter.

Senator John Boozman
Talk Business & Politics

As healthcare reform seems destined for a bipartisan solution in the U.S. Senate, Arkansas’ senior Senator John Boozman said he also expects tax reform to include both sides of the aisle.

Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, Sen. Boozman, R-Ark., said the upper chamber appears poised to be a Republican and Democratic effort.

Arkansas Lawmakers Head To Annual Legislative Summit

Aug 4, 2017
Rep. Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville)
Twitter

A group of Arkansas lawmakers are headed to Boston for an annual legislative summit.

The event, held by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), brings together more than 6,000 lawmakers, legislative staff, and federal officials from around the nation to discuss policy issues. Those issues will range from laws on autonomous vehicles to election technology.

RAISE Act Senator Tom Cotton
Getty Images / NPR

President Donald Trump was joined by U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., at a White House news conference on Wednesday to tout an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system. Republican Georgia Sen. David Perdue also will co-sponsor the bill.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

President Trump unveiled controversial legislation on Wednesday that would sharply curtail legal immigration to the United States.

The president met at the White House with two Republican senators pushing the legislation, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia.

An educator and activist says she's running for a U.S. House seat in central Arkansas, becoming the second Democrat to launch a bid to unseat the district's incumbent Republican congressman.

Gwendolynn Combs announced Monday she's filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for the 2nd Congressional District.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says a meeting in Washington with other governors and Trump administration officials to discuss the health care overhaul was productive and that he's encouraged there's a commitment to include him and leaders from other states to find solutions to concerns with the law.

Hutchinson's office said the Republican governor traveled to Washington on Monday morning for the White House meeting to discuss options for improving the health care system. Hutchinson spokesman J.R. Davis said the governor will return to the state Tuesday.

What's The Skinny

Jul 28, 2017

A decisive early Friday vote on a GOP-led Obamacare "skinny" repeal comes up short. Why Arkansas's Senators voted for the failed measure amidst evidence that state public opinion may not be quite on their side.

Late Wednesday night Arkansas’s four member U.S. House delegation, all Republican, split over a vote to eliminate the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis division. That’s the non-partisan government office charged with scoring things like healthcare repeal bills for cost and how many would gain or lose insurance coverage.

Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton of Arkansas joined their Republican colleagues in voting to begin debate on repealing and possibly replacing the Affordable Care Act.

In written statements released after the vote Tuesday afternoon, both were cautious in their support with so much unknown about what will be presented. Boozman said it was "just the first step," while Cotton said he will be "carefully monitoring any legislative changes that are proposed."

Two other Republicans in the Senate voted against it, with Vice-President Mike Pence breaking a tie vote.

Attorneys for the state of Arkansas want a court to cancel subpoenas issued in the battle over a gay-rights ordinance in Fayetteville, saying they're too broad.

The state Supreme Court struck down Fayetteville's anti-discrimination ordinance this year, saying it violates state law, but justices didn't rule on whether law is constitutional because that question wasn't addressed in the lower court.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump
NPR

Arkansas voters are relatively split on President Donald Trump’s campaign ties to the Russian government, but a majority are not ready to impeach him over the matter or call for his resignation at this time. That's according to a new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey that shows voters are keenly aware of the issue.

Q: Do you think the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election? 

41% Yes
43% No
16% Don’t Know

Arkansas voters oppose a Republican effort to repeal Obamacare immediately and wait two years to find a replacement plan.

The latest Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey of more than 500 Arkansas voters tested this effort and asked an additional question about Medicaid expansion and the Arkansas Works program.

Q: Senate Republicans have discussed a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act now and replace it two years from now with a yet-to-be-determined plan. Do you support or oppose this?

30% Support
52% Oppose
18% Don’t Know

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

In the now-reliably red state of Arkansas, President Donald Trump’s job approval rating is taking a hit.

According to the latest Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey, the nation’s chief executive has gone from a 60%-35% job approval-disapproval rating in February to just 50-47% in July. In April, Trump had a 53%-39% approval rating.

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

39%  Strongly Approve
11%   Somewhat Approve
7%    Somewhat Disapprove
40%  Strongly Disapprove
3%.   No Opinion

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson's campaign says it has nearly $1.2 million in the bank as the Republican ramps up his re-election bid for next year.

Hutchinson's campaign on Monday reported it raised more than $526,000 over the past three months and spent more than $37,000. Hutchinson, who was first elected in 2014, formally announced in May that he was seeking a second term but had already been raising money for a re-election bid.

So far no Democrats have announced a bid to challenge Hutchinson. Hutchinson has raised nearly $1.3 million total for his re-election bid.

KATV

A central Arkansas prosecutor has been nominated for a U.S. attorney post in the state.

The White House announced Thursday that President Donald Trump has nominated Cody Hiland to serve as U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Arkansas.

Hiland is currently the prosecuting attorney for the state's 20th judicial district, which includes Faulkner, Van Buren and Searcy counties. Hiland has formerly worked at the Arkansas Public Service Commission, the Arkansas Transitional Employment Board and is a former legislative liaison and aide for former Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Ten Commandments Monument Destroyed At Arkansas State Capitol

Jun 28, 2017
Ten 10 Commandments
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The new Ten Commandments monument at the Arkansas State Capitol was destroyed Wednesday less than 24 hours after it was unveiled. A spokesman for the Secretary of State's office says a driver intentionally sped toward the six foot tall granite tablet at about 4:45 a.m. and was immediately apprehended by Capitol Police.

Arkansas Capitol
flickr.com

An Arkansas panel has approved a 2 percent pay raise for all of the state's top elected officials except the lieutenant governor, who has said he didn't want the bump in salary.

The Independent Citizens Commission voted 4-0 to increase the salaries for the state's constitutional officers, legislators, judges and prosecutors. The pay raise will take effect in 10 days.

Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin last week said he opposed the pay raise and said he would decline the additional money if approved by the panel. The panel voted to keep Griffin's salary at $42,315.

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) questioning Director of National Intelligence James Clapper about Russian hacking.
C-SPAN

Republicans in the U.S. Senate released the initial draft of a healthcare bill Thursday that will reduce Medicaid spending, cut taxes for the wealthy, limit subsidies to private insurance companies, remove health insurance mandates, lower taxes for companies in the healthcare industry and enact other changes.

One Capitol Mall has houses the Joint Budget Committee.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Arkansas Legislative Council executive committee gave permission on Thursday (June 15) for the Bureau of Legislative Research to hire outside legal counsel, a move designed to help the legislative research group cope with requests from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and possibly other investigatory agencies.

Talk Business & Politics reports.

Libertarian Party of Arkansas Chair Michael Pakko with over 15,000 signatures to be submitted to the Secretary of State's office for ballot access. May 2016.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

For the fourth consecutive election cycle, the Libertarian Party of Arkansas plans to deliver petitions to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office on Monday to become a “new political party” for the 2018 election.

Because the party failed to win 3% of the electoral vote in the 2016 presidential race that swept Republican nominee Donald Trump into the White House, Arkansas law requires a new political party to collect 10,000 valid voter signatures during a 90-day period.

Talk Business & Politics

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., agrees with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that 50 votes for healthcare reform don’t presently exist in the U.S. Senate.

Talk Business and Politics reports.

Senator Tom Cotton
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., says in theory he’s okay with Jared Kushner’s possible communications with Russian officials and with President Trump’s signals to the Middle East and Europe, but he questions the sources that are leaking information to the media.

French Hill
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, was complimentary of President Donald Trump’s Middle East terrorism stance and he said a portion of his Congressional work is centered on more transparency and reforms in the international bank financing system.

Hill, who appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, said the new Gulf Cooperation Council is a step in the right direction for Saudi Arabia and other regional countries to curtail the financing of global terrorism.

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