Arkansas Politics

U.S. Senate Republicans unveil their long-awaited bill to replace the Affordable Care Act. How will it affect Arkansans on the exchanges and the Medicaid rolls? Sen. Tom Cotton helped shape it with a select group in secret. Why has he been silent? Also, thoughts from other Republicans, Democrats and people in between.

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) questioning Director of National Intelligence James Clapper about Russian hacking.
C-SPAN

Republicans in the U.S. Senate released the initial draft of a healthcare bill Thursday that will reduce Medicaid spending, cut taxes for the wealthy, limit subsidies to private insurance companies, remove health insurance mandates, lower taxes for companies in the healthcare industry and enact other changes.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

As Republicans in the U.S. Senate near completion of an initial bill that could vastly alter or replace Obamacare, a  group of demonstrators gathered outside the Victory Building in Little Rock. They delivered the offices of Republican Senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman each about a thousand post cards from residents in the state. The cards, collected by activists with Arkansas Community Organizations and the group Health Care for America Now, ask the Senators to preserve Medicaid expansion and other benefits made available through federal health law. 

On this Week-In-Review, we put Arkansas's congressional delegation in the spotlight as Trump ignores the state's agricultural interests on his newly announced Cuba policies. Also, Sen. Tom Cotton dismisses Russia collusion and  Sen. Boozman is short on healthcare specifics.

-Elections were held throughout Arkansas this week: Pulaski County votes to send more money to schools; Pine Bluff takes a stab at revitalization; and Helena-West Helena makes an effort to pare down its sprawling city council.

One Capitol Mall has houses the Joint Budget Committee.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Arkansas Legislative Council executive committee gave permission on Thursday (June 15) for the Bureau of Legislative Research to hire outside legal counsel, a move designed to help the legislative research group cope with requests from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and possibly other investigatory agencies.

Talk Business & Politics reports.

The widely anticipated public testimony from fired former FBI Director James Comey spurs a political response in Arkansas. As Republican U.S. Senator Tom Cotton dines with the president, state Democrats chime in a critique of their across-the-aisle foes’ relationship with the Russia investigations.

Also on the program:

-Applications for Medical Marijuana retail and grow centers are about to roll in. We check in with the soon-to-be state pot industry.

-Neo-Nazis to rally in Batesville; 10 Commandments go up at the Capitol; and will state highways get a boost under ballot measure? A look at some other state political headlines.

-How did Sexism play into the 2016 presidential election. A poll from the University of Arkansas give us an answer.

Libertarian Party of Arkansas Chair Michael Pakko with over 15,000 signatures to be submitted to the Secretary of State's office for ballot access. May 2016.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

For the fourth consecutive election cycle, the Libertarian Party of Arkansas plans to deliver petitions to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office on Monday to become a “new political party” for the 2018 election.

Because the party failed to win 3% of the electoral vote in the 2016 presidential race that swept Republican nominee Donald Trump into the White House, Arkansas law requires a new political party to collect 10,000 valid voter signatures during a 90-day period.

Questions posed by the lone Arkansan sitting on the Senate Intelligence Committee to former FBI Director James Comey on Thursday produced little information that could be publicly disclosed. Arkansas’s Junior U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton was one of more than a dozen Senators to question Comey, who made his first public appearance since President Donald Trump fired him.

Talk Business & Politics

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., agrees with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that 50 votes for healthcare reform don’t presently exist in the U.S. Senate.

Talk Business and Politics reports.

Senator Tom Cotton
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., says in theory he’s okay with Jared Kushner’s possible communications with Russian officials and with President Trump’s signals to the Middle East and Europe, but he questions the sources that are leaking information to the media.

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