Steve Brawner / Talk Business & Politics

Steve Brawner is a freelance journalist and contributor to Talk Business & Politics.

He is also a syndicated columnist in 10 Arkansas newspapers.

You can email him at brawnersteve@mac.com or follow him on Twitter: @SteveBrawner.

March for Life pro-life anti-abortion abortion
Talk Business & Politics

Forty-four years to the day after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, Gov. Asa Hutchinson told a couple of thousand marchers at the annual March for Life that he will sign a bill outlawing the most common form of second trimester abortion.

State Rep. Doug House (R-North Little Rock).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Arkansas House of Representatives passed two bills changing the state’s medical marijuana amendment Tuesday, including narrowly passing one change the bills’ sponsor said was necessary to ensure physicians would certify patients have a qualifying medical condition. Both now move to the Senate.

Clean Line
Arkansas Business

Plains and Eastern Clean Line Holdings LLC officials have asked a federal court in eastern Arkansas to move a fall hearing date on a lawsuit protesting a $2 billion wind energy transmission line, saying the controversial development is “time sensitive” and that legal delays could imperil the project’s financing and three-year construction schedule.

In a marathon session, the U.S. Senate rejected 19 health care-related pieces of legislation Wednesday and Thursday, culminating in a budget resolution that sets the stage for repealing Obamacare. Now the action moves to the House and, eventually, state capitols.

Cindy Gillespie
C-SPAN

The Department of Human Services has virtually erased a backlog of Medicaid eligibility cases that had reached 140,000 people earlier this year, Director Cindy Gillespie said in a letter sent to Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday (Jan. 11).

As of Dec. 30, there were 692 overdue cases. Some individuals’ applications dated back to 2014.

“Based on a review of the remaining cases, all individuals have coverage and the only work that remains is simply clean-up of case files,” wrote Gillespie, who began working in her position in March.

House Speaker Jeremy Gillam (R-Judsonia).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The speaker of the House would appoint committee members under a resolution passed Tuesday by the House Rules Committee, while legislators for the first time would be able to engage in campaign fundraising during fiscal sessions.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

On the eve of the beginning of the 2017 session of the Arkansas General Assembly, more than 100 bills had been prefiled. Several key issues are expected to dominate the session.

Museum of American History, Cabot Public Schools / Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Stanley Russ, who served as an Arkansas state senator from Conway for a quarter century, died Thursday (Jan. 5) at the age of 86 after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The state initially will grant licenses to five marijuana cultivation facilities, one for each of its five public health regions, the newly formed Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission decided Tuesday.

The vote was the first step taken by the commission to move the state closer to allowing certain patients access to the drug.

Rep. Joe Jett
Talk Business & Politics

Rep. Joe Jett of Success, who has been chairman of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, announced Friday he is switching from the Democratic to the Republican Party, meaning the only legislative committee where Democrats had a majority will become a 50-50 split.

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