Arkansas Legislature

News and updates about the Arkansas legislative session

10 commandments

Arkansas' governor has approved legislation that will allow a monument to the Ten Commandments to be constructed near the state Capitol.

A spokesman for Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday said the governor had signed the bill requiring the state to allow a privately funded display of the commandments to be built on the state Capitol grounds. Lawmakers sent the measure to Hutchinson last week.

Gov. Hutchinson Envisions 20% Of Arkansas Students Taking Computer Classes

Apr 8, 2015

Gov. Asa Hutchinson told a group of startup executives and entrepreneurs visiting Little Rock that one of his educational visions is for 20% of Arkansas students to eventually take computer coding classes while in high school.

Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Several hundred people rallied inside the state Capitol throughout the day on Wednesday to advocate for disability rights and to celebrate the signing of the ABLE Act.

Leonard Boyle, who sits on the Governor’s Commission on People with Disabilities, said it will remove a cap on savings accounts tied to eligibility for benefits, establishing tax-free accounts intended for care-related spending and to encourage independent living.

Several groups including Arkansas' largest zoo are calling on Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto a bill that would make it less restrictive for groups to keep primates in Arkansas.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Dan Douglas, R-Bentonville, will come before the governor Wednesday. Spokesman J.R. Davis says the governor is still reviewing the legislation.

The bill would revise a 2013 law that prohibits ownership or breeding of orangutans, baboons, chimpanzees, gorillas or macaques unless a facility is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Jeff Rosenzweig

Seven death row inmates in Arkansas have filed a lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court to challenge a law Governor Asa Hutchinson signed Monday. It allows the state to perform executions by injection without revealing the drugs it is using.

Attorney for the inmates, Jeff Rosenzweig, says such a provision is unconstitutional since the state made an agreement in 2013 to disclose the injection drug types.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' Senate president says he didn't like the process that surrounded the last-minute revamping of a religious objections measure that initially was criticized as anti-gay, but said he was happy with the compromise version that was enacted.

Senate President Jonathan Dismang told members of the Political Animals Club on Tuesday he shares some of the blame over the measure, which was revised after facing widespread complaints from critics that included the state's largest employers.

Hutchinson asa bill signing
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a trio of bills into law on Monday intended to overhaul the state’s workforce development plan. The governor said tailoring education toward filling needs identified by business interests is a “dramatic” and “foundational” change.

Talk Business & Politics

Senate President Jonathan Dismang and Speaker of the House Jeremy Gillam said they are satisfied with the outcome of the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that nearly derailed the regular legislative session in the last full week.

Following a firestorm of criticism, Republican governors in Indiana and Arkansas signed revised versions of their states' Religious Freedom Restoration bills Thursday night. In Indiana the language was adjusted, and in Arkansas it was significantly scaled back to more closely align with the federal law.

Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

After quick work by the Arkansas Legislature, Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a revised religious objections bill into law Thursday.

The signing ceremony took place shortly after the House approved a new bill, which replaced one that had drawn criticism from many who suggested it was anti-gay. The new bill more closely mirrors the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.