Arkansas lawmakers have opened a legislative session that's expected to focus on the future of the state's compromise plan to expand Medicaid under the federal health care law.
The House and Senate convened Monday for the state's third-ever fiscal session. It's the third slimmed-down session focusing on the state's budget under a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2008 requiring the Legislature to meet and budget annually.
Former Arkansas treasurer Martha Shoffner is asking for a separate trial on new charges accusing her of improper spending from her campaign account.
Shoffner is scheduled for trial next month on charges she accepted cash payments from a broker to whom she allegedly steered state investments. But last week, federal prosecutors added 10 new mail-fraud charges against Shoffner, accusing her of misspending $9,800 in campaign money.
Inside the Arkansas House of Representatives. House Speaker Davy Carter has said the state's alternative Medicaid expansion plan will be an early topic of debate this fiscal session, as the state budget is largely dependant on it.
Arkansas lawmakers have several big issues ahead of them this fiscal legislative session. For its first day, Roby Brock of Talk Business Arkansas, stopped by the KUAR studios to share his thoughts on how the event might play out.
The private option, the future of tax cuts, funding for overcrowded jails, a looming election and ethics scandals are all on the list of topics.
Another winter storm system is heading toward Arkansas before relief from the cold, snow and ice is expected later in the week.
Meteorologist Chris Buonanno with the weather service in Little Rock said Sunday was expected to remain cloudy with temperatures in the 30s, but above freezing, before the next storm system arrives starting Monday afternoon.