Arkansas Legislature

News and updates about the Arkansas legislative session

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Arkansas has received written approval from the Department of Health and Human Services to forge a new plan to expand health insurance in the state. 

Governor Mike Beebe released a letter from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Tuesday that said the state should move forward on its loose plan to expand private health insurance coverage with federal money available through the Affordable Care Act.

Our content partner TalkBusiness Arkansas has posted the full letter.

arkleg.state.ar.us

Last week, the House was witness to a multitude of displays of emotion and conviction regarding the Defense of Marriage Act. Today, the Senate picked up SR 29, which mirrors the House resolution’s language. The atmosphere in the Senate was noticeably different. The floor debate in the Senate, unlike the House, did not serve as a stage for grandstanding on the issue.

Senator Jason Rapert (R) of Conway sponsored the resolution defining marriage as the, “union between one man and one woman.” Throughout this year’s session Rapert has garnered a reputation as an outspoken leader for conservative Arkansans. His fiery rhetoric on religion and abortion has thrust him into national headlines.

But today, when given the chance to be the face of traditional marriage, Rapert chose a different route.

The Arkansas House on Monday completed an override of Governor Mike Beebe's veto of a bill that would require Arkansas voters to present photo identification before casting ballots.

The override passed the chamber, 52-45.

The vote was down party lines accept for the vote of Rep. Fred Love, D-Little Rock, who later asked to have his vote expunged indicating that it was a mistake.

Rep. Steven Meeks, R-Greenbrier, spoke for the bill saying voters want the added protection from fraud surrounding the voting process.

Rival legal teams are girding for court battles over the coming months on laws enacted in Arkansas and North Dakota that would impose the nation's toughest bans on abortion. 

From both sides, attorneys agree that the laws represent an unprecedented frontal assault on the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe versus Wade decision that established a nationwide right to abortion.

The Arkansas law would ban most abortions from the 12th week of pregnancy onward. North Dakota's law would ban abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat can first be detected.

Governor Mike Beebe has signed legislation that removes the governor's emergency power to regulate guns during a disaster. 

The bill signed by Beebe yesterday removes the governor's authority during a disaster or emergency to suspend or limit the sale, distribution and transportation of firearms.

Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample says the governor had never exercised the power and didn't see a compelling reason to stop the Legislature's effort to remove it.  

Arkansas House Delays Override Try On Voter ID Bill

Mar 28, 2013

The Republican sponsor of legislation that would require Arkansas voters to show photo identification at the polls and the Republican state House speaker are clashing over the delay of an attempt to override  Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of the bill.  

Republican Sen. Bryan King accused Speaker Davy Carter of unnecessarily delaying the override vote on Thursday. Carter said the override attempt was pushed back to next week because of a long afternoon of votes the chamber faced on other issues.  

The state Senate voted 21-12 to override on Wednesday.

http://arcompassion.com/

Legislation regulating canvassers working on ballot initiatives is making its way through the legislature this week. Advocates of the bill argue that steps need to be taken to ensure the integrity of the petition process. Opponents contend the legislation is designed to stifle the capacity of those seeking to put initiatives on the ballot.

The language of SB 821, sponsored by Keith Ingram (D), specifically calls into question the efforts of ballot initiative campaigns from the 2012 election cycle,

Arkansas May Save Millions With Private Insurance Option

Mar 28, 2013

The Arkansas Department of Human Services says the state would save $670 million over 10 years under a plan to use Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for newly eligible recipients. 

The agency released the numbers on Wednesday. DHS spokeswoman Amy Webb says the savings compare to not expanding Medicaid.

House Speaker Davy Carter said Wednesday he was still reviewing the report but called the cost estimates for the private option "favorable" and said they appeared to show that it would be a good financial decision for the state.  

The Arkansas Razorbacks and Arkansas State Red Wolves won't be meeting up on the football field any time soon now that a panel of state lawmakers shot down a proposal that would have required the matchup.

A proposal to require the two teams to face each other for a one-time game at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock to raise money for charity was rejected Wednesday by a House committee.  

www.arkleg.state.ar.us

 The Arkansas House of Representatives passed a resolution today to reaffirm state constitutional amendment 83. The largely symbolic vote on HR 1049 came as the Supreme Court considers cases this week on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. Amendment 83, which was approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2004, banned recognition of same-sex unions in Arkansas.

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