Arkansas Legislature

News and updates about the Arkansas legislative session

A spokesman for Gov. Asa Hutchinson says a broad review of the Arkansas Department of Human Services following the report that a lawmaker gave his adopted daughter to a man who later sexually abused her should cost taxpayers little-to-no money.

Hutchinson spokesman J.R. Davis said Tuesday that the $25,000 payment for an out-of-state consultant to analyze the agency will be paid for by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a national philanthropy for disadvantaged children.

An Arkansas House committee has rejected another attempt to end the state's joint celebration of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Justin harris
Arkansas Times

Legislation banning the "re-homing" of some adopted children is heading to the Arkansas Senate for a vote, a move prompted by a state lawmaker who gave his adopted daughters to away to a man who later sexually assaulted one of them.

The Arkansas House has endorsed a key part of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's criminal justice reform plan to help ease overcrowding at county jails.

Lawmakers voted 79-5 Tuesday to allow the state to partner with county jails on regional facilities to help clear the backlog of more than 2,600 state inmates at the facilities. It also allows inmates to apply for Medicaid benefits and provides avenues for them to enroll in drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

10 commandments

A proposal to allow a privately funded monument to the Ten Commandments near the Arkansas Capitol is advancing to the state Senate for a vote.

An effort to allow a privately funded Ten Commandments monument to be built on the Arkansas state Capitol grounds has failed before a legislative panel.

A proposal to require the secretary of state to allow a private group to build a monument to commandments failed before the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee on Monday on a 3-3 vote. The measure needed at least five votes to advance to the full Senate.

The Arkansas Senate has approved a bill that could help lure a restaurant chain to the state.

Senators voted 33-0 Monday to change the way Arkansas governs coin-operated games. Arkansas currently restricts the value of prizes in single-play games to $5 or less. In games where players can accumulate multiple winning tickets, the prize value is restricted to $12.50.

The Dave & Buster's restaurant can have prizes valued in the $500 range.

State Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock)
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

More than $100 million in individual income tax cuts have been handed down by the Arkansas Legislature this year but the lowest paid Arkansans are not among the beneficiaries. 

An Arkansas lawmaker has dropped his proposal to make most of a state employee's personnel file secret two months after they leave their job.

Republican Sen. John Cooper of Jonesboro on Monday withdrew his proposal to exempt from the state Freedom of Information Act nearly all employees' personnel files 60 days after they leave their job. Cooper's proposal would have allowed the state to release only limited information such as the employee's name, title, dates of service and any awards of commendations.

The Arkansas Senate has rejected legislation to require bills be reviewed for their racial impact.

Democratic Sen. Joyce Elliott of Little Rock said racial impact statements would be similar to fiscal impact statements, environmental impact statements and victim impact statements used in courtrooms. She said no one spoke against her bill in the Judiciary Committee, but Monday's vote in the Senate was only 13-9 - five votes short of the 18 needed to pass. Two years ago, it picked up 15 votes.