Arkansas Legislature

The latest news about the Arkansas Legislature.

State lawmakers took a step toward enhanced concealed carry on college campuses Friday in spite of some pushback from firearm trainers who don’t want to be required to teach the new class for compensation they say is too low.


State Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-Hindsville) was among the majority of lawmakers who voted to approve the plan anyway.

“You know, when this is done, there will be less gun-free zones which are soft targets in Arkansas. There will be more people, carrying in more places, being able to protect themselves and others in more places when this rule is implemented. That’s called liberty,” he said at Friday’s legislative council meeting.

Arkansas Center for Health Improvement President Joe Thompson (left) and Arkansas Insurance Department Commissioner Allen Kerr exchanging notes after speaking to a legislative committee.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Friday is the last day of open enrollment for signing up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s healthcare exchanges, or marketplaces

State officials are predicting more Arkansans to enroll this year than the last -despite efforts by the Trump administration to limit the enrollment period and to curtail outreach and advertisement about its existence.

The exchange has been open since November 1st and closes December 15th. Enrollees can choose between private insurance plans and determine eligibility for federal subsidies, made possible by the ACA.

House Chamber of Arkansas General Assembly

Seven Republicans and two Democrats with little or no political experience have filed paperwork to run for statewide office.

Three special elections are upcoming for House and Senate seats vacated after the passing of one lawmaker, and two others getting new posts in President Donald Trump’s administration.

Dicamba damage
University of Arkansas

Arkansas lawmakers have recommended state regulators reconsider their plan to ban a controversial herbicide that's been blamed for widespread damage by farmers who say it's drifted onto their crops.

A subcommittee of the Legislative Council on Tuesday voted to delay considering rules proposed by the state Plant Board to prohibit the use of dicamba from April 16 through Oct. 31 next year. The subcommittee's recommendation on Friday goes before the full council, which is the Legislature's primary governing body when lawmakers aren't in session.

Wendy Reaves (seated) speaks to members of the Arkansas Tobacco Settlement Commission with her daughter Regan and Gov. Asa Hutchinson looking on.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says diverting money from Arkansas’s tobacco settlement to help people with developmental disabilities has cut the number of families on a waiting list by 500.

Speaking at the quarterly meeting of the state’s Tobacco Settlement Commission Tuesday, Hutchinson praised commissioners for supporting a proposal he made in September 2016.

"You embraced that idea, which I wanted to thank you for," he said.

Ten Commandments
Max Brantley / Arkansas Times

In Arkansas commission has cleared the way for the installation of another Ten Commandments monument outside the state Capitol, months after a prior marker was destroyed by a man who crashed his car into the statue while livestreaming it on Facebook.

The Arkansas Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission signed off on the final design Tuesday. The monument will include four concrete posts for protection. It's expected to be installed in the coming weeks.

Dicamba damage
University of Arkansas

Monsanto has asked a judge to prevent Arkansas lawmakers from banning the use of a weed killer that farmers in several states have said drifts onto their crops and causes widespread damage.

The Missouri-based agribusiness asked a Pulaski County judge to issue a preliminary injunction preventing the state from banning dicamba's use while the company challenges a prohibition approved by the Arkansas Plant Board last month.

A federal judge has canceled next week's scheduled trial for a former Arkansas state senator accused in a reported kickback scheme.

Former Sen. Jon Woods was set to go on trial Monday on 15 counts on fraud, but a judge in Fayetteville canceled the trial Friday so a hearing can be held on new evidence in the case. No hearing date has been set.

Woods was charged along with Oren Paris III and Randell Shelton Jr.

Ten Commandments
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A man charged with crashing his vehicle into Arkansas' Ten Commandments display nearly three years after he was accused of destroying a monument at Oklahoma's Capitol has been found mentally unfit to go to trial.

A Pulaski County judge on Thursday found Michael Tate Reed unfit to proceed and ordered him to be held by the state hospital for further evaluation. Judge Chris Piazza set a September 2018 hearing on Reed's mental status.

A federal appeals court says it won't reconsider a panel's ruling that Arkansas can block Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, two years after the state ended its contract with the organization over videos secretly recorded by an anti-abortion group.