Jacob Kauffman

Reporter / Anchor

Jacob Kauffman is a reporter for KUAR. During the legislative session, he wrote the online column Capitol Access. He has worked with the Arkansas Legislative Digest and is currently on the board of the MacArthur Military History Museum. 

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Capitol Access
6:56 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Undocumented Immigrants Ask for Education

Credit arkleg.state.ar.us

Yesterday, Senator Joyce Elliott (D) of Little Rock led an hour long hearing on the floor concerning legislation to allow undocumented immigrants, who have attended 3 years of high school in the state or obtained a G.E.D. in Arkansas, to pay in-state tuition rates for postsecondary education. Advocates testified for the Senate to invest in children who were brought to Arkansas and have succeeded in the school system. Republican legislators expressed concern that allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates would reward crime or tax the education system.

This hearing, a Committee of the Whole, effectively turns a regular floor session into a committee hearing replete with testimony from activists, business leaders, and educators. This maneuver results in a prolonged discussion on a pending piece of legislation. In effect, Elliott got a chance to showcase SB 915 and make her case with the help of some powerful testimony.

If Elliott sought to persuade Republican legislators, she may have been foiled by their conspicuous absence. Less than half of the Republican Senators were in the chamber throughout the duration of the testimony, while nearly every Democrat was seated.

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Capitol Access
4:09 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

No Big Affair: Gay Marriage and the Senate

Credit arkleg.state.ar.us

Last week, the House was witness to a multitude of displays of emotion and conviction regarding the Defense of Marriage Act. Today, the Senate picked up SR 29, which mirrors the House resolution’s language. The atmosphere in the Senate was noticeably different. The floor debate in the Senate, unlike the House, did not serve as a stage for grandstanding on the issue.

Senator Jason Rapert (R) of Conway sponsored the resolution defining marriage as the, “union between one man and one woman.” Throughout this year’s session Rapert has garnered a reputation as an outspoken leader for conservative Arkansans. His fiery rhetoric on religion and abortion has thrust him into national headlines.

But today, when given the chance to be the face of traditional marriage, Rapert chose a different route.

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Capitol Access
12:44 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

New Challenge for Ballot Initiatives

Credit http://arcompassion.com/

Legislation regulating canvassers working on ballot initiatives is making its way through the legislature this week. Advocates of the bill argue that steps need to be taken to ensure the integrity of the petition process. Opponents contend the legislation is designed to stifle the capacity of those seeking to put initiatives on the ballot.

The language of SB 821, sponsored by Keith Ingram (D), specifically calls into question the efforts of ballot initiative campaigns from the 2012 election cycle,

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Local & Regional News
5:04 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Department of Veterans Affairs Director Speaks on Women in the Military

Alicia (Cissy) Rucker

Only a few weeks ago, The Pentagon lifted its ban on women in front-line combat roles, in a historic step toward gender equality in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Issues regarding women in the military have been on the minds of Arkansans lately. At a recent town hall meeting with U.S. Congressman Tom Cotton of Arkansas, one veteran confronted the Congressman on how he plans to address sexual assaults in the military.

KUAR's Jacob Kauffman has this report on one Arkansas woman who has made an important contribution to improving the lives of women in the United States military.

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Capitol Access
4:23 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Right and Left Tackle Unemployment Fraud

Credit http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2011/2011R/Pages/MemberProfile.aspx?member=Irvin

Right and Left Tackle Unemployment Fraud

Yesterday was a long day over at the Capitol. Both chambers abandoned most of their schedules and adjourned early to take a walk across the Capitol grounds to listen to several hours of committee arguments regarding the Big River Steel Mill.

But the Senate did manage to squeeze in a little work.

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Capitol Access
10:17 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Ethics, Concealed Carry in Church Schools, and the Poultry Capital

Credit www.arkleg.state.ar.us

Ethics

Governor Beebe signed SB 331, a bill creating a one year moratorium on registering as a lobbyist for constitutional officers, agency heads, judges, and various commissioners into law today. The bill did not generate a single nay vote in the Senate or House.

The bill’s author, Republican Senator David Sanders of Little Rock, noted this legislation also restricts employment with a company if a state official or employee had “direct impact over a particular entity” or was in a position of picking a “winner or loser.” 

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Capitol Access
9:57 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Capitol Access: Voter ID and the Senate

Senator Joyce Elliott takes a seat after giving emotional testimony on the voter ID bill.
Credit Nathan Vandiver

The drive to require photo identification at polling sites is well on its way to becoming law. The debate has been marked by concerns over voter suppression and the integrity of the electoral process. Tensions have been high throughout its course in the legislature. This Tuesday’s floor session was no exception.

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Capitol Access
6:04 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Capitol Access: Stepping Toward School Prayer, Violence and Mental Health, and Banter on the Floor

Stepping Toward School Prayer

Earlier today the House Education Committee passed through legislation that mandates a “one (1) minute period of silence at the beginning of each school day.” The bill suggests students use this time to, “reflect,” “pray,” or “engage in silent activities.”

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Capitol Access
2:32 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Capitol Access: No Limit Southland, Election Daze II, and Banter on the Floor

No Limit Southland

This Tuesday the Legislature continued to relax regulation of Southland Park in West Memphis. Limits on both the hours and days on which greyhound racing may be held have been rescinded and the Racing Commission has been granted additional regulatory powers.

I asked two of the bill sponsors, Senator Keith Ingram of West Memphis and Representative Deborah Ferguson of West Memphis, about the removal of language prescribing hours and dates of operation. Both were wary of characterizing SB 330 as a precursor to unrestricted racing.

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Local & Regional News
8:38 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Capitol Access: Shell Bills, Election Daze, and Prison Health Care

Last Day to File Bills

This is my first article with KUAR and fortune has it that it’s one of the longest days of the year over at the State Capitol. 

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