Arkansas Legislature

The latest news about the Arkansas Legislature.

Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren (R-Gravette) was selected as to chair the Tax Reform and Relief Task Force.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas legislators held the first meeting of a newly formed task force on taxes on Monday and selected its leadership. Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren (R-Gravette) was confirmed as chair.

The Tax Reform and Relief Task Force was formed as part of a compromise last legislative session that helped deliver a $50-million tax cut for low-income Arkansans. Some conservatives had called instead for a $100-million-plus tax cut for the state’s wealthiest earners.

UAMS campus carry guns
Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Ahead of a new law taking effect in September that expands places where people can carry firearms, schools that want to prohibit concealed handguns are working with state police to get exemptions.

Institutions seeking to ban concealed weapons from certain areas and events must send a security plan to be approved by Arkansas State Police.

The plan calls for schools to have enhanced security measures in place should they choose to opt out of the bill. One institution seeking to restrict concealed carry is the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.

Jonathan Dismang
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers are starting the lay groundwork for changes to the tax code in 2018. Members of a task force were announced this month charged with reviewing the state's tax system. The group was formed by legislation that enabled an over $50 million income tax cut in the last legislative session.

KUAR's Jacob Kauffman spoke with State Senator Jonathan Dismang (R-Searcy) about the task force's goals and whether another signature, high-dollar income tax cut is a priority.

For lawmakers, caregivers and patients  a solution to the state legislature’s multi-year process of bringing a new type of coordination to a traditional Medicaid population is set to be finalized this summer.

10 Ten Commandments monument
Wesley Brown / Talk Business & Politics

The State Capitol Arts and Ground Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a proposal to place a Ten Commandments monument on the west side of the State Capitol grounds, setting up a legal showdown on the constitutionality of religious monuments on public property.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Ten Republicans and six Democrats have been named to serve on a legislative task force that will recommend tax cuts before the 2019 session.

House Speaker Jeremy Gillam and Senate President Jonathan Dismang on Monday named their appointees to the Tax Reform and Relief Legislative Task Force, created as part of a $50 million income tax cut plan approved by lawmakers this year.

Governor Asa Hutchinson sign into law Military retirees tax break
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law a plan to scale back the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion that would move 60,000 people off the program and impose a work requirement on some remaining participants.

Hutchinson's office said Thursday he signed into law legislation allowing the state to seek federal approval for the new restrictions to the program, which uses Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. More than 300,000 people are on the program, which was created in 2013 as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law.

House Speaker Jeremy Gillam speaking to reporters after the inauguration of Governor Asa Hutchinson.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

On a 73- 13 vote Wednesday, the Arkansas House of Representatives implemented rules that specify the procedure for removing a public elected official from duty. The measure’s passage came after calls by conservative legislators to impeach Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen.

The judge took part in an anti-death penalty demonstration just a few hours after issuing a ruling last month that temporarily blocked Arkansas’s scheduled executions.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers have approved scaling back the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion by moving 60,000 people off the program and requiring some remaining participants to work.

The Senate and House gave final approval to identical measures Wednesday.

The plans will allow state to seek federal approval for the new restrictions to a program that covers more than 300,000 people. The program was created in 2013 as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health overhaul.

Arkansas's General Assembly has given initial approval to healthcare changes not possible under President Obama. 

The modifications would move about 60,000 out of the subsidized Medicaid expansion that took place after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and under the guidance of Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe. These recipients would become customers in the regular exchange. The changes also include new Medicaid work requirements.  

A final vote is expected Wednesday morning.

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