Arkansas Legislature

The latest news about the Arkansas Legislature.

A state commission will be holding a public hearing Tuesday morning on its proposal to raise salaries by two percent for state elected officials. The Independent Citizens Commission meets at the state Capitol Tuesday at 9am. The commission has proposed pay raises for members of the state judiciary, including Supreme Court justices, Appeals Court justices; state legislators and the state’s seven constitutional officers.  

An Arkansas Senate panel has voted to study a bill limiting which restrooms transgender people can use that had stalled in this year's legislative session after facing opposition from the state's Republican governor, tourism groups and LGBT rights supporters.

Rita Sklar ACLU American Civil Liberties Union
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Abortion rights groups are asking a federal judge to block several new abortion restrictions in Arkansas, including a ban on a commonly used second-trimester procedure.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit Tuesday to block laws that have yet to take effect but were approved by lawmakers this year.

One Capitol Mall has houses the Joint Budget Committee.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Arkansas Legislative Council executive committee gave permission on Thursday (June 15) for the Bureau of Legislative Research to hire outside legal counsel, a move designed to help the legislative research group cope with requests from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and possibly other investigatory agencies.

Talk Business & Politics reports.

Report Finds More Than One In Four Arkansas Kids Live In Poverty

Jun 13, 2017
Rich Huddleston Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
Arkansas Business

Arkansas has much work to do to raise itself from the bottom of the barrel when it comes to overall child well-being. The Natural State ranked No. 45 out of 50 states in the Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count report released Tuesday. The state ranking slipped one notch from a year ago.

Roughly 188,000 Arkansas children are living in poverty. That comes to 27% up from 26% reported a year ago. Nationally the child poverty rate is 21%, slightly better than 22% in the last year’s report.

The base of the 10 Commandments monument was installed earlier this month.
Wesley Brown / Talk Business & Politics

Construction is underway on the foundation of a Ten Commandments monument at the State Capitol, setting up a possible legal showdown on the constitutionality of religious monuments on public property.

On May 11, the State Capitol Arts and Ground Commission unanimously approved a proposal to place a Ten Commandments monument on the west side of the State Capitol grounds, in between the Arkansas Supreme Court and offices of the State Department of Education.

marijuana
npr.org

Arkansas officials say they anticipate that between 20,000 and 40,000 people will ask for permission to obtain medical marijuana.

The state Health Department's chief lawyer, Robert Brech, told a joint meeting of the Senate and House Public Health Committee on Monday that running Arkansas' medical marijuana program will cost about $1.5 million over the next year.

Medical marijuana registration cards will cost about $50. Under the proposed rules, an Arkansas driver's license or state ID will be required to obtain one.

On this week's podcast we take a look at what President Trump's first budget proposal could mean for the poor state of Arkansas. Analysis from political scientist Heather Yates of UCA and reaction from the state's Congressional delegation.

The KUAR News crew also takes a look at:

- A new task force on tax policy is off and running in the Arkansas Legislature. Tax cuts for the wealthy is the goal of some but at what cost? Is there a will to pay for it by cutting existing exemptions?

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

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.

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