Arkansas Legislature

The latest news about the Arkansas Legislature.

The floor of the Arkansas Senate.
Arkansas.gov

An effort to continue the hybrid Arkansas Medicaid expansion another year has failed in the state Senate, days after Republican efforts to repeal and replace the federal health law that enabled the expanded coverage faltered in Congress.

The Senate voted 19-1 and later 20-1 in favor of the budget for the state's Medicaid program, including the hybrid expansion, short of the 27 votes needed to advance. More than 300,000 people are on the program, which uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents.

Marissa Marisa Pavan Birth Certificate certificates same-sex marrriage
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A bill that would allow married gay couples in Arkansas to list both spouses' names on their children's birth certificates without a court order has failed to advance out of a Senate committee.

Democratic Sen. Joyce Elliott's bill failed to advance Monday from the Senate Judiciary Committee due to a lack of a second motion. The proposed measure would have changed the presumption of parentage under the state's artificial insemination and surrogacy laws.

The Arkansas Senate has voted to exempt college sporting events from a new law greatly expanding where concealed handguns are allowed, moving quickly to address concerns that the sweeping gun rights measure would lead to armed spectators at stadiums and arenas.

Arkansas Razorbacks
Univ. of Arkansas

The Arkansas Razorbacks loss to North Carolina in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament this week was hard to swallow for many Hogs fans. State Senators Keith Ingram and Jeremy Hutchinson, tongues firmly in cheek, determined the Arkansas Legislature should absolve the Hogs for their loss and instead officially condemn the officiating.

In a very real Senate Resolution filed on Thursday, sponsors state the Natural State has been devastated.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law a high profile bill that greatly expands where concealed carry license holders can bring handguns.

The Republican governor made his announcement flanked by several GOP lawmakers and an executive with the National Rifle Association, all of whom helped shape the new law. Hutchinson said the final legislation wasn’t perfect but the group around him balanced the need for safety and Second Amendment rights.

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Voter ID Vote photo ID
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers have approved a measure requiring voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot, sending to the governor's desk a requirement that was struck down as unconstitutional more than two years ago.

The House had already approved a previous version of the legislation. On Monday, it signed off on changes added by the Senate that allow voters without identification to cast a provisional ballot if they sign a sworn statement.

Will Bond Bryan King Dan Greenberg
Jacob Kuaffman / KUAR News

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill Monday that would require offenders sentenced three times previously to the Department of Correction to serve at least 80% of their sentences on the next commitment.

Senate Bill 177 by Sen. Bryan King, R-Green Forest, passed by a voice vote and now goes to the full Senate.

Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET Tuesday

With the stroke of a pen on Tuesday, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson separated a holiday that has for decades celebrated both Martin Luther King Jr. and Gen. Robert E. Lee in the state.

Under the bill that Hutchinson signed into law, King now has the third Monday of January entirely to himself, as dictated by federal law; Lee will now be commemorated in a state holiday on the second Saturday of October.

arkansashouse.org

The Arkansas House of Representatives voted Friday to give final legislative approval to a bill that ends the official recognition of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. on the same day. The House passed SB519 on a 66-11 vote, with five members voting present and 18 not voting.

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