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Flooding
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared 23 Arkansas counties disaster areas after recent flooding.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says in a news release Friday he was informed of the designation from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Counties designated as disasters include Faulkner, Lonoke and Randolph.

Perdue visited the state in early May and said in his letter to the governor that there were sufficient production losses in those counties to warrant a designation.

Another 23 counties were designated contiguous disaster areas.

On this week's podcast we take a look at what President Trump's first budget proposal could mean for the poor state of Arkansas. Analysis from political scientist Heather Yates of UCA and reaction from the state's Congressional delegation.

The KUAR News crew also takes a look at:

- A new task force on tax policy is off and running in the Arkansas Legislature. Tax cuts for the wealthy is the goal of some but at what cost? Is there a will to pay for it by cutting existing exemptions?

An Arkansas man is charged with trespassing and public intoxication after state police say he climbed the gate at the governor's mansion.

Court records show 55-year-old Edward Harper of North Little Rock was charged with the misdemeanor counts after being arrested about 1:10 a.m. Thursday on the grounds of the mansion.

Jail records show Harper remains in custody and court records do not list an attorney for him.

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.)
C-SPAN

U.S. Senator John Boozman is applauding President Trump’s immigration enforcement budget proposals, but is cautioning that other parts of the Homeland Security budget are “unworkable.” The Republican senator convened his first meeting as chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security on Thursday.

Boozman praised increases in spending for border patrol agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Delta Regional Authority

One of the state’s most culturally significant regions is receiving a boon to its arts and development sectors. The Delta Regional Authority announced that nearly $460,000 will now be available to innovators in the fields of art and culture through its Creative Placemaking Initiative.

“Investments in our arts and culture sectors are an incredible contributor to our innovation, to our entrepreneurship, and having a more inclusive economy for our communities,” said Chris Masingill, DRA Federal Co-Chairman.

Bill Clinton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Democratic Party has renamed its annual fundraising dinner to honor former President Bill Clinton after the names of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson were stripped from the event.

The party on Wednesday announced that the annual event formerly known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner would now be named after the 42nd president and former Arkansas governor.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is scheduled to headline the newly named Clinton Dinner on July 22 in Little Rock.

Trump’s Proposed Cuts To Agriculture Could Have Dramatic Impact On Arkansas

May 24, 2017
rice fields
Mickey Liaw / Flickr.com

President Donald Trump’s proposed $4.1 trillion budget includes deep cuts to the United States Department of Agriculture, and Arkansas farmers could feel the squeeze.

Trump’s budget would cut USDA discretionary spending by $4.7 billion to $17.9 billion in 2018, a 21% drop from this year, according to figures released. Farm crop insurance, research, international food aid programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, and others could be slashed if his budget is approved.

Little Rock Nine 9
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, joined Tueday (May 23) with civil rights icon U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia and U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont to introduce legislation expanding boundaries of the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site.

This expansion would mean seven homes located near Little Rock Central High School would be included in the school’s national historic site designation and preserved by the National Park Service. The legislation is being introduced ahead of the city’s celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Little Rock Nine in September.

The trial of a former Arkansas state senator and two others on corruption charges is being delayed.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that a federal judge in Fayetteville on Tuesday postponed the trial of Republican former Sen. Jon Woods, Ecclesia College President Oren Paris III and consultant Randell Shelton Jr. until Dec. 4. Prosecutors say the investigation continues and more indictments are expected.

The judge also rejected Paris' request that he be tried separately in the case.

Each month, Arkansas Works, the state’s Medicaid expansion program which provides health coverage for low income residents, refers new and renewed enrollees in the program to the Department of Workforce Services. The Arkansas Department of Human Services issued a report Monday on the number of enrollees referred to employment services this year. 

In the first quarter of the year 144,716 referrals were made. According to the report from DHS, the number of people actually acting on those referrals rose from 628 in January to 2,792 in April.

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