Arkansas Legislature

The latest news about the Arkansas Legislature.

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A revised version of a publicity rights bill backed by the family of legendary former Arkansas football coach Frank Broyles that was vetoed last year has won initial approval from the state Legislature.

The House and Senate today approved identical versions of the proposal designed to protect a person's likeness from being used for commercial purposes without their permission.. Gov. Asa Hutchinson last year had vetoed a version of the bill over concerns that it would infringe on First Amendment rights.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) addressing the Arkansas General Assembly at the start of a special session.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson's highway plan is headed toward a final vote in the Legislature, while a Senate-backed effort to limit the funding for one year appears dead.

The Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee today endorsed Hutchinson's proposal to use the state's surplus, investment returns and other funds to raise nearly $50 million for road needs in the coming fiscal year.

The House approved the measure earlier today, and it's expected to go before the full Senate on Monday.

File photo. Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) speaking to reporters after addressing the Arkansas General Assembly at the beginning of a special session.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he’s worked with fellow Republicans to keep a transgender bathroom bill off the agenda of a special session he called to address highway funding. Instead, Hutchinson plans to work with lawmakers on legislation for next year’s lengthier, regular legislative session.

During a press conference, Hutchinson said adding the item to the special session has the potential to detract from his primary objective.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) addressing the Arkansas General Assembly at the start of a special session.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A special session of the Arkansas Legislature is underway and the governor is still looking for more traction for his $50-million highway plan.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s call for a special session includes legislation to protect a person’s identity or likeness from being used for commercial purposes without their permission. Republican Sen. Jon Woods of Springdale is sponsoring the bill, which is a revised version of a measure vetoed by the governor last year.

Woods says the current bill is a compromise that preserves the rights of individual citizens and news agencies to distribute images they have taken in the general public.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers are meeting to take up the governor's plan to raise more money for highways in the coming year along with more than a dozen other proposals.

The House and Senate are scheduled to convene Thursday morning for a special session focused primarily on Gov. Asa Hutchinson's proposal to tap into surplus money, investment returns and other funds for roads. Hutchinson is expected to address both chambers of the Legislature after they convene.

Arkansas State Capitol building.
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers are joining with Gov. Asa Hutchinson to encourage schools to disregard an Obama administration directive that they must permit transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity.

Highways traffic Big Rock Interchange interstate
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s highway plan is expected to have widespread support in the Arkansas House and Senate in the special session that starts Thursday. However, can the bill get out of a key Senate committee?

The chairman of an Arkansas panel looking at elected officials' salaries says he'd like a decision next month on whether to call for another pay hike.

Larry Ross, the chairman of the Independent Citizens Commission, told reporters Wednesday he'd like the panel to decide after its June 14 meeting whether to call for a pay adjustment for elected officials.

Ross said he believes it's important to keep any adjustments "in lockstep" with other state employees. State employees are not receiving a cost of living adjustment in the coming fiscal year.

The Red River in southwest Arkansas.
US Geological Survey

The governor’s short-term highway funding plan is splitting the agenda with 14 other items in the special session of the Arkansas Legislature convening Thursday. Bills have yet to be filed but drafts are drawn up to re-organize the state’s levee system and to end a workers compensation fund among other items.

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