Wesley Brown/ Talk Business & Politics

Wesley Brown is the Business Editor for Talk Business & Politics. He can be reached by email at wesbrocomm@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @BrownOnBusiness.

Governor Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Governor's Office / You Tube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday put the weight of his office behind Congress’ latest attempt to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system, saying the Graham-Cassidy bill now circulating in the U.S. Senate was the “best and last opportunity” to replace the Affordable Care Act passed by former President Barack Obama.

Arkansas was the among several states that saw higher unemployment rates in August, but U.S. Labor Department officials said Hurricane Harvey had “no discernible effect” on the nation’s employment picture last month.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has not yet received applications for pot-growing and cultivation facilities as of Wednesday, and there have only been two submissions to locate a cannabis dispensary within the state less than three weeks before the state’s legislature-approved deadline

Hope Union Pacific
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Union Pacific Corp., which operates more than 1,300 miles of railroad track in Arkansas, announced plans to cut up to 750 jobs that will impact management and administrative positions across the company’s operations.

According to an 8K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Union Pacific’s board of directors approved and initiated the personnel reorganization plan to further its “ongoing efforts to increase efficiency and more effectively align company resources.”

Governor Asa Hutchinson violent crime task force
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday announced the creation of a multi-jurisdictional, investigative joint task force that will help the Little Rock Police Department respond to a recent spike in violent crimes, including the Power Ultra Club shooting last week.

Backed by a phalanx of local, state and federal law enforcement, prosecutors and correction officials in the packed Governor’s Conference Room at the State Capitol, Hutchinson outlined what he described as an effort to take back the “streets of Little Rock.”

In addition to Steep Hill and Herbal Compliance’s unorthodox investment vehicles looking to enter Arkansas’ medical marijuana industry that is projected to grow to nearly $70 million in the next seven years, a host of other local and out-of-state investors, entrepreneurs and speculators also want to get in on the front end of the state’s newest hybrid healthcare sector.

The Trump administration announced Monday it has reached agreement with China on final details of a protocol to allow U.S. companies to ship beef exports to China, a move Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the state’s two U.S. senators say will benefit Arkansas and American beef markets.

Libertarian Party of Arkansas Chair Michael Pakko with over 15,000 signatures to be submitted to the Secretary of State's office for ballot access. May 2016.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

For the fourth consecutive election cycle, the Libertarian Party of Arkansas plans to deliver petitions to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office on Monday to become a “new political party” for the 2018 election.

Because the party failed to win 3% of the electoral vote in the 2016 presidential race that swept Republican nominee Donald Trump into the White House, Arkansas law requires a new political party to collect 10,000 valid voter signatures during a 90-day period.

The base of the 10 Commandments monument was installed earlier this month.
Wesley Brown / Talk Business & Politics

Construction is underway on the foundation of a Ten Commandments monument at the State Capitol, setting up a possible legal showdown on the constitutionality of religious monuments on public property.

On May 11, the State Capitol Arts and Ground Commission unanimously approved a proposal to place a Ten Commandments monument on the west side of the State Capitol grounds, in between the Arkansas Supreme Court and offices of the State Department of Education.

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.

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