Arkansas Legislature

News and updates about the Arkansas legislative session

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.

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.

 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.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

The Arkansas Senate voted 21-12 Wednesday to override the Governor's veto of a bill that would require voters in the state to present valid photo identification before casting a ballot.

This is the third veto the Senate has overridden this legislative session. The other two were on abortion restrictions.

The Senate delivered a letter announcing the override to the House of Representatives which also has to vote to override the veto.

Arkansas Senate To Take Up Override Of Voter ID Veto

Mar 27, 2013

The Arkansas Senate is expected to attempt to override Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of a bill that would require voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot. 

Republican Sen. Bryan King is expected to ask the Senate on Wednesday to override Beebe's veto of his voter ID bill.

It takes a simple majority in the House and Senate to override a governor's veto. If King is successful, the House is expected to vote on an override Thursday.

A bill that would remove water quality standards for mineral content in small streams in the state is set for a hearing in the Senate Public Health Committee Wednesday.

House Bill 1929 would remove a special permit requirement for businesses that discharge minerals such as chlorides and sulfates into streams. Representative Andy Davis, a Republican from Little Rock, is the bill’s sponsor. Davis says current standards apply to water that will never be used as drinking water.