Arkansas Legislature

The latest news about the Arkansas Legislature.

Ten Commandments
Max Brantley / Arkansas Times

A Ten Commandments monument will be installed outside Arkansas' Capitol next week, months after the original display was destroyed.

The Arkansas Secretary of State's office said it expects the new display to be installed on the morning of April 26.

The original display that was installed outside Capitol last June was destroyed less than 24 hours later. The man accused of driving his car into it apologized in 2015 for also destroying a Ten Commandments monument outside Oklahoma's Capitol.

Wendell Griffen
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A handful of state lawmakers are calling for Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen’s impeachment amid questions of his fitness to serve on the bench.

Griffen on Tuesday repeated his April 2017 protest of laying on a cot in front of the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, intending to symbolize a condemned inmate on a gurney.

State Sen. Trent Garner (R-Camden), who called for Griffen’s impeachment following last year’s protest, said Griffen’s vocal objection to capital punishment is one of many questionable actions and public statements made during Griffen’s tenure.

Jury selection is underway in the trial for a former Arkansas state senator accused in an alleged kickback scheme.

Former Sen. Jon Woods faces 15 fraud charges. Prosecutors accuse of him of taking kickbacks from former Ecclesia College president Oren Paris III in exchange for directing state funding to the college.

Paris pleaded guilty last week to one count of fraud and agreed to testify for prosecutors. Woods' attorney, Patrick Benca, has said his client is innocent and that defense attorneys will prove that, despite Paris' guilty plea.

The Arkansas House of Representatives chamber.
arkansashouse.org

The Arkansas House of Representatives is getting upgrades to its historic chamber and committee rooms at the state Capitol building. New desks, carpeting, chairs and voting machines will feature prominently in the House chamber, which is already undergoing renovations.

Gary Clements of North Little Rock-based Clements & Associates is serving as the consulting architect on the project. He said the upgrades are the final steps in a larger project for the chamber.

Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' governor has signed into law legislation to continue the state's Medicaid expansion, which will impose a work requirement on thousands of participants this year.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson's office said Thursday the Republican signed the budget bill for Medicaid and the expansion, which uses federal and state funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. More than 285,000 people are on the program, which was created as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law.

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

An impasse over the Arkansas Treasurer’s budget is being averted in the state Legislature. After two-days of falling short of the needed three-quarters vote, lawmakers moved on Thursday to strip a contested provision, regarding a proposed tax deduction for contributions to a savings fund for private education. Representative Lane Jean spoke from the well of the House.

Arkansas House
ArkansasHouse.org

Arkansas lawmakers have voted to continue the state's Medicaid expansion another year after federal officials approved a plan to impose a work requirement on the program.

The Arkansas House approved by a 79-15 vote Wednesday the budget for the state's Medicaid program and the expansion, which uses federal and state funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. The measure needed at least 75 votes to pass. It now heads to the governor's desk.

State Sen. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale) cast the decisive 27th vote in favor of granting Gov. Asa Hutchinson's appropriation to the Department of Human Services funding the state's health care coverage for low-income Arkansans called Arkansas Works. 

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for a vote, and then on to Hutchinson, who's expected to sign it.

The Arkansas House of Representatives chamber.
arkansashouse.org

Legislation detailing Arkansas' proposed $5.6 billion budget for the coming year calls for increasing funding for Medicaid and setting aside nearly $64 million in surplus funds.

Lawmakers on Monday got their first look at the proposed Revenue Stabilization Act, the budget bill that calls for a nearly $173 million increase in spending for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The Joint Budget Committee is expected to take up the measure on Tuesday.

classroom desks
http://www.nctq.org

Arkansas lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow taxpayers with tax-deductible 529 college savings plans to withdraw funds for tuition at public, private and religious K-12 schools.

A legislative subcommittee on Wednesday recommended including the change in a budget bill for the state treasurer's office. The proposal now heads to the Joint Budget Committee.

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