Jacob Kauffman

Reporter / Anchor

Jacob Kauffman is a reporter and anchor for KUAR. He primarily covers the state legislature and politics beat while juggling anchoring Morning Edition Monday through Friday. 

Jacob is a long-time Little Rock resident who started out working with Hendrix College's KHDX and the Arkansas Legislative Digest. His work has appeared on NPR, our other wonderful public radio stations across Arkansas, PBS News Hour, TalkBusiness.net, Arkansas Money & Politics Magazine, ArkansasBlog.com, and the Nashville News. 

He regularly appears on Arkansas Educational Television Network's (AETN) weekly roundtable politics program Arkansas Week. Jacob also served on the board of the MacArthur Military History Museum. If you see him you should ask him about the experience of German-Arkansans during World War I.

Phone: 501-683-7393

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State Rep. Mary Bentley (R-Perryville) presenting her bill to limit the use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Jacob Kauffman

The first step toward restricting the use of food stamps in Arkansas has been taken by the state legislature. The House Public Health Committee voted 12-6 on Tuesday to back a bill intended to ban the purchase of junk food under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Republican State Representative Mary Bentley of Perryville said lowering the state’s high obesity rate is her driving reason for sponsoring a measure to ban items like soda and chips.

Several of the state’s top politicians – all of whom are white - celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at the predominately African-American St. Mark Baptist Church in Little Rock. Governor Asa Hutchinson recounted first seeing King on television in his youth and indirectly rebuffed President-elect Trump’s disparagement of a different, still living Civil Rights icon.

Governor Hutchinson, a Republican from the small town of Gravette in northwest Arkansas, recounted how as a junior high school student he first came to learn of King.

The Confederate soldiers monument at the state Capitol.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

'Heritage not hate' is an oft heard refrain from Arkansans working to protect the state's dual observance of Robert E. Lee and Martin Luther King, Jr. But throughout 2015 and 2016 long-established heritage groups, like the Sons of Confederate Veterans, overlapped and interacted with modern-day Southern, white nationalist groups like the League of the South on numerous occasions.

State Rep. Charles Blake (D-Little Rock) testifying to end the joint observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert E. Lee. (2015 file photo)
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Heading into Arkansas's concurrent observances of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Robert E. Lee Day some lawmakers were predicting this could be the last year for the joint state holiday. But despite the backing of the state's Republican governor, no one has stepped forward to carry the legislation.

House Speaker Jeremy Gillam (R-Judsonia) speaking in the press gallery.
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public Media

This week, the 91st Arkansas General Assembly convened. KUAR’s Chris Hickey and Political Reporter and Morning Edition host Jacob Kauffman were there for much of it and took a dive into some of the first week’s big issues, including new rules on committee assignment process, party-switching former Democrats and attitudes surrounding proposed ethics reform legislation. 

Welcome to another edition of KUAR's Week In Review podcast where the KUAR News team takes a look at the news from the week that was.

Arkansas State Capitol
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

It's likely over 2,000 bills will be filed during this legislative session and just over 300 have been filed so far. Legislation impacting special elections, a Blue Ribbon taxes task force, executions, and hand guns were filed on Wednesday.

KUAR will be keeping track throughout this legislative session. A round-up from Wednesday includes:

A pair of Arkansas legislators want to make Arkansaurus fridayi the official dinosaur of the state of Arkansas. Arkansas isn't particularly known as a hot bed for uncovering the ancient creatures but southwest Arkansas has had a couple of excavations.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson preparing to address a joint session of the General Assembly.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Governor Asa Hutchinson delivered the State of the State address Tuesday to a joint meeting of the Arkansas Legislature. The Republican governor told the Republican-controlled legislature that it is working in historic times, defined by rapid change.

Outside the Arkansas House chamber in the state Capitol building.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A State of the State address from the governor and the first salvo of medical marijuana-related bills are expected Tuesday morning, day two of the 91st General Assembly.  Governor Asa Hutchinson is scheduled to address a joint session of the state House and Senate at 10:30 a.m.  Watch the speech here.

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