Arkansas Legislature

Local & Regional News
5:41 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Report Shows Dire Need For More Pre-K Funding In Arkansas

Arkansas lawmakers review a Pre-K report released Monday.
Credit Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

A new report presented to a legislative committee Monday says $14 million is needed to raise state funding for pre-K programs to meet cost of living increases. The study also says only about half of eligible children are being served by Arkansas’s early childhood education programs.

State Representative David Kizzia joined Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families to share details of the study with members of the Education Committee. Lawmakers from Alabama and Oklahoma dialed in to discuss the successes of their pre-K programs following increases in funding.

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Local & Regional News
2:51 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Dismang Takes Leadership Post In State Senate And Democrats Place Their Bets

Jonathan Dismang (R-Beebe)

The political hierarchy of Arkansas’s state Senate took shape Friday ahead of next year’s legislative session with the confirmation of Republican Jonathan Dismang of Beebe as President Pro Tem.

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Local & Regional News
10:58 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

The Political and Real Cost Of At-Home Disability Care

State legislators on Thursday considered the future of a healthcare policy that would allow funding for the disabled to be used for home-based and community care instead of only institutional settings. The Community First Choice Option, or CFCO, is part of the Affordable Care Act that each state has to authorize to implement.

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Local & Regional News
4:33 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

GOP Lawmaker Drops Bid To Become Arkansas Senate President

A Republican lawmaker from western Arkansas says he's dropping his bid to unseat the incoming president of the state Senate.

Sen. Gary Stubblefield of Branch said Wednesday he's dropping his effort to unseat incoming Senate President Jonathan Dismang. Stubblefield last week said he planned to challenge Dismang, a Republican who was elected last year to lead the 35-member Senate.

Stubblefield had criticized Dismang for hiring a former aide to outgoing Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe and had said he was concerned about committee assignments under Dismang.

Local & Regional News
3:02 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Stubblefield Yields To More Moderate Republican For Leadership Spot

Senator Larry Teague (D-Nashville)
Credit Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

Republican Gary Stubblefield had planned to challenge the incoming Arkansas Senate President Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang but announced Wednesday he will not. After the midterm election Stubblefield announced his concerns over Dismang’s support of the private option and possible choice of a Democrat to chair a committee as reasons to oppose his Republican colleague.

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Local & Regional News
10:38 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Hutchinson's Chief Of Staff Pick Creates New Dynamic In Private Option Path

Former State Senator Michael Lamoureux (R-Russellville)

This week Republican Michael Lamoureux resigned his position as President Pro Tem of the state Senate to serve as Chief of Staff for Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson. What becomes of this void in the state Senate? We just held elections, what’s in store for the communities surrounding Russellville?

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Local & Regional News
3:17 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Enrollment Nearing For Health Insurance Exchange And Subsidies

An screenshot from healthcare.gov near its 2013 launch.
Credit healthcare.gov

Enrollment in the state’s Health Insurance Marketplace, created by the Affordable Care Act, will re-open Saturday. The Affordable Care Act established the health insurance exchange where shoppers can navigate plans and calculate subsidies for coverage based on income.

Leonard Stern works with the non-profit Future Builders to assist people enrolling in the healthcare exchange. Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families partially funds the effort. Stern said unlike last year things are expected to run smoothly online.

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Local & Regional News
11:17 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Senate President Pro Tem Submits Resignation Letter To Work For Hutchinson

Arkansas Senate President Pro Tem Michael Lamoureux has submitted a letter of resignation from the Senate after being named chief of staff and transition director for Gov.-elect Asa Hutchinson.

A spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe says Beebe's office received a copy of Lamoureux's resignation letter from the Senate on Monday and that Lamoureux also submitted to Beebe a letter of resignation from his post with the Pope County Public Defender's Office.

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Local & Regional News
10:23 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Concerns Aired In Legislature Over $2 Billion Cross-State Transmission Line

State Rep. John Hutchison (R-Harrisburg)
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Members of the state legislature on Monday reviewed the potential impact of a proposed $2 billion, 750 mile interstate transmission line that would cross Arkansas from west to east from just north of Fort Smith to West Memphis.

Outgoing Republican State Representative John Hutchison (R-Harrisburg) has typically been against regulating the energy sector. However, Hutchison believes the Plains and Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project will bring problems to waterfowl, such as ducks, in the areas it crosses. That includes an area nearby his own property in northeast Arkansas. 

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Local & Regional News
4:24 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Republican Leadership Rift Developing In Arkansas Senate

Incoming state Senate President Jonathan Dismang is facing a challenge from a fellow Republican lawmaker who's mounting a late effort to lead the chamber next year. Republican Sen. Gary Stubblefield of Branch said Friday he is challenging Dismang's election as the head of the 35-member chamber for next year's session.

Dismang, a Republican from Beebe, was elected last year to be the Senate president for the 90th General Assembly. Stubblefield said he plans to ask the Republican caucus to back his bid for Senate president when it meets on Thursday.

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