Arkansas Legislature

The latest news about the Arkansas Legislature.

Governor Asa Hutchinson sign into law Military retirees tax break
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law a plan to scale back the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion that would move 60,000 people off the program and impose a work requirement on some remaining participants.

Hutchinson's office said Thursday he signed into law legislation allowing the state to seek federal approval for the new restrictions to the program, which uses Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. More than 300,000 people are on the program, which was created in 2013 as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law.

House Speaker Jeremy Gillam speaking to reporters after the inauguration of Governor Asa Hutchinson.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

On a 73- 13 vote Wednesday, the Arkansas House of Representatives implemented rules that specify the procedure for removing a public elected official from duty. The measure’s passage came after calls by conservative legislators to impeach Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen.

The judge took part in an anti-death penalty demonstration just a few hours after issuing a ruling last month that temporarily blocked Arkansas’s scheduled executions.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers have approved scaling back the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion by moving 60,000 people off the program and requiring some remaining participants to work.

The Senate and House gave final approval to identical measures Wednesday.

The plans will allow state to seek federal approval for the new restrictions to a program that covers more than 300,000 people. The program was created in 2013 as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health overhaul.

Arkansas's General Assembly has given initial approval to healthcare changes not possible under President Obama. 

The modifications would move about 60,000 out of the subsidized Medicaid expansion that took place after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and under the guidance of Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe. These recipients would become customers in the regular exchange. The changes also include new Medicaid work requirements.  

A final vote is expected Wednesday morning.

The Arkansas House of Representatives chamber.
arkansashouse.org

Arkansas lawmakers have given initial approval to moving 60,000 people off the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion program and to impose a work requirement on its participants.

The House on Tuesday voted 71-23 for the new restrictions by a 71-23, while the Senate approved an identical measure by a 23-9 vote.

Final votes on the bills are expected in both chambers on Wednesday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson earlier this year proposed the restrictions, which must also be approved by the federal government.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
arkansashouse.org

An Arkansas House committee has advanced Gov. Asa Hutchinson's proposal to make changes to the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion program.

Hutchinson called for a special legislative session for lawmakers to address Medicaid and other issues, including shoring up the state's long-term reserve fund.

More than 300,000 people are covered by Arkansas Works, the program that uses Medicaid money to buy private insurance for low-income residents. Hutchinson wants to move 60,000 people off the program, and put in place a work requirement for eligibility.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

State lawmakers are returning to Little Rock to adjourn their regular legislative session and begin a special session that's mainly focused on changes to the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson plans to address lawmakers at 2 p.m. Monday, shortly after they begin the special session that is expected to wrap up this week.

The Arkansas House of Representatives chamber.
arkansashouse.org

For the first time in the history of polling from Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College, the Arkansas Legislature received a failing grade from state voters.

The latest survey of 550 Arkansas voters conducted on April 4, 2017, shows that more voters disapproved of the GOP-controlled legislature’s performance by a 12 percentage point margin. Voters were asked:

Q: Do you approve or disapprove of the job the Arkansas Legislature did during its recently completed session?

32% Approve 
44% Disapprove 
24% Don’t Know

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has vetoed a bill that appropriated $850,000 for school districts to pay for panic button alert systems.

Panic button systems are used during emergencies, such as an active shooter situation.

Hutchinson announced his veto Friday, saying it should be up to local school districts to decide whether to pay for the alert systems.

The governor's letter noted that the panic button system was originally presented to lawmakers as a pilot project that school districts would eventually fund.

Protesters in the Street
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has vetoed a bill that would have criminalized mass picketing, saying it would restrict free speech.

Hutchinson vetoed the bill on Thursday. It had been passed by both chambers of the Arkansas Legislature.

The measure, sponsored by Republican Sen. Trent Garner, defines mass picketing as people assembling for demonstrations at or near a business, school or private facility.

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