Arkansas Government

Johnny Key Asa Hutchinson
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Governor Asa Hutchinson has named University of Arkansas System lobbyist Johnny Key as his pick to head the Arkansas Department of Education. The former Republican state Representative from Mountain Home would replace former Democratic Governor Mike Beebe's appointee Tony Wood.

However, Key does not meet the post’s minimum requirements of having 10 years of experience in teaching and holding a master’s degree. In a press conference at the Capitol Monday, Hutchinson said he wants the Legislature to re-write the qualifications to allow Key to become Education Commissioner.


A winter storm is prompting Gov. Asa Hutchinson to close state offices in the Little Rock area.

A statement from Hutchinson's office said state offices in the central portion of the state were closing at noon for non-essential personnel. Workers outside the Little Rock area were told to check with their supervisors on whether they could leave.

Forecasters issued a winter storm warning for southern and parts of eastern Arkansas and said up to 6 inches of snow could fall.

Talk Business & Politics

Last week, Gov. Asa Hutchinson unveiled his plan to reform the state’s prison, parole and probation programs in a holistic, comprehensive effort to reduce crime, stem repeat offenders and curtail a high-growth area of the state’s budget. The price tag for Hutchinson’s plan is $64 million with about $32 million being spent in the next two years.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is ordering state offices in the Little Rock metropolitan area to open two hours later for non-essential personnel Tuesday due to winter weather that hit the state.

The governor's office on Monday said the state's inclement weather would remain in effect Tuesday morning after snow, sleet and freezing rain hit most of the state.

Hutchinson's office says state employees outside central Arkansas should check with their supervisor for delays.

Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Ethics Commission has dismissed a complaint against Attorney General Leslie Rutledge that accused her violating state law by appearing in an outside group's campaign ad last year.

Director Graham Sloan says the panel voted 4-0 on Friday to dismiss the complaint against Rutledge, a Republican who was sworn in last week as attorney general. Little Rock attorney and blogger Matt Campbell had filed the complaint against Rutledge over her appearance in a 30-second television spot by the Republican Attorneys General Association.

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin is taking a job with a national communications and consulting firm in addition to his post as the state's No. 2 constitutional officer.

Purple Strategies announced Tuesday that the Republican ex-congressman would work for the firm as senior adviser for communications and growth strategies. Griffin was sworn in last week as lieutenant governor.

The company said Griffin will not work for its government affairs and lobbying subsidiary, Purple Advocacy, and he won't lobby at either the state or federal level.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has announced five appointments to state boards and commissions. Hutchinson's office announced the appointments on Monday.

Little Rock resident John Belken has been appointed to the parole board. His appointment expires Jan. 14, 2022.

Russellville resident Dale Douthit has been named to the Workers Compensation Commission. His appointment expires Dec. 5, 2020.

Mike Roberts of Little Rock was reappointed to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. His appointment expires Jan. 14, 2019.

The Arkansas Municipal League has wrapped up its 2015 winter conference. More than 1,200 participants, including many newly elected municipal officials from across the state, attended the event in Little Rock that concluded Friday. Highlights include the first appearance before the municipal group by newly inaugurated Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R)
Governor's Office

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has ordered a hiring freeze for most state agencies and is requiring that any new rules or regulations go before his office for approval.

Hutchinson issued the two executive orders on Wednesday, his first full day as Arkansas' governor. The Republican ex-congressman was sworn in Tuesday as the state's 46th governor.

The Arkansas panel reviewing elected officials' salaries has chosen five states it will use as a comparison for its decisions: Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

The Independent Citizens Commission chose those states Wednesday. Commission members must meet a Feb. 2 deadline to decide whether Arkansas' top elected officials, lawmakers and judges should get raises.