Arkansas Legislature

The latest news about the Arkansas Legislature.

Both chambers of the Arkansas Legislature have advanced proposals to move several smaller state agencies into larger ones.

Identical bills backed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson cleared the House 95 to 0 and the Senate 33 to 0 Wednesday.

Under the plan, the Department of Rural Services and the Science and Technology Authority would be merged into the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Hutchinson also wants to merge the Division of Land Survey into the Geographic Information Office and the Arkansas Building Authority into the Department of Finance and Administration.

A federal appeals court has struck down parts of an Arkansas law that sought to ban most abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the viability standard the law cites is becoming more difficult to use because of advances in technology.

The appeals court noted the viability standard was once 28 weeks, but in the Arkansas case was generally considered 24 weeks.

A proposal to change Arkansas' driving while intoxicated law to prevent losing more than $50 million in federal highway funds is heading to the state Senate for a vote.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday endorsed a proposal to make DWI an offense for which prosecutors don't have to prove intent. The measure would only apply to alcohol-related DWI offenses.

An earlier version of the proposal had failed before the panel on Tuesday.

A proposal to change Arkansas' driving while intoxicated law to prevent the state losing more than $50 million in federal highway funding has stalled before a legislative panel.

The proposal to make DWI an offense that prosecutors don't have to prove intent failed twice Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The panel was expected to meet again Wednesday to take up the proposal.

Election vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Legislation to move Arkansas' primary from May to March has failed to make it out of a Senate committee.

The bill failed in the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday. An identical House bill narrowly passed through the House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The effort would make Arkansas part of a planned regional nominating contest among southeastern states called the "SEC Primary."

military vehicle lockheed martin tom cotton asa hutchinson
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times


An $87 million state incentive package intended to help Lockheed Martin land a $30 billion federal defense contract easily passed a pair of initial committee hurdles on Tuesday. But on the first day of the legislative special session a path to move Arkansas’s primary date stalled in a Senate committee.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR

The Arkansas Legislature is preparing to convene Tuesday for a special session.

The key item up for consideration is an $87 million bond package that would go toward helping a Lockheed Martin facility in south Arkansas land a contract building a new type of military vehicle.

In an interview with KUAR Monday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he’s optimistic lawmakers will support it.

As part of the review process under Amendment 82, the state’s superproject amendment, lawmakers have received an independent consultant’s analysis of the proposed $87 million Lockheed Martin  Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) bond issue that will be at the center of debate in next week’s special session.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson made the official call for legislators to meet in special session beginning Tuesday, May 26 to vote on helping lure the military’s new JLTV production facility to Camden. The new military vehicle will replace the long-running Humvee vehicle.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Governor Asa Hutchinson is asking the Arkansas Legislature to approve an $87 million dollar bond package to help Lockheed Martin secure a multi-billion dollar federal military contract. 

Hutchinson held a press conference at the Capitol Thursday to release more details about the special session that convenes next week. 

Lockheed Martin Bonds

Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says an effort to move up the state's primary, a change in the driving while intoxicated law and a reorganization of some agencies are also on the agenda for a special legislative session he's calling to take up an economic development project.

The Republican governor on Wednesday detailed the proposals that lawmakers are taking up when they convene next week for a special session focusing on an incentive package aimed at helping Lockheed Martin land a defense contract in Camden.