Arkansas Politics Blog

Gov. Asa Hutchinson with Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services Director Seema Verma holding a signed and approved waiver for Arkansas's Medicaid program on May 30, 2018.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

More than a quarter of the 27,000 Arkansans subject to a new work requirement in order to keep Medicaid coverage did not satisfy the state’s new reporting rules, according to state officials. The work requirement is the first in the nation to be rolled out, with the approval from the Trump administration earlier this year.

David Wildy, a prominent Arkansas farmer, in a field of soybeans that were damaged by dicamba.
Dan Charles / NPR News

President Trump’s trade battles are causing pain for Arkansas farmers who have seen prices drop rapidly under retaliatory tariffs. The state’s political leadership has shown some division over the issue, though elected leaders remain optimistic Arkansas will emerge unscathed.

Arkansas Soybean Association President A.J. Hood said farmers are showing some stress as prices fluctuate on the state’s top commodity and top export.

State Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View.
Arkansas Times/Brian Chilson

The freshly minted Select Committee on Senate Ethics held its first meeting Thursday and elected its leadership. The Senate last week approved rule changes creating the committee to hear and investigate claims of corruption. Its formation comes on the heels of federal investigations that have led to five former lawmakers being convicted.

State Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View, was confirmed as chair. She says good ethics rules aren’t partisan.

Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Amidst more revelations of problems tied to Arkansas’s nascent medical marijuana program, the architect of the state’s voter-approved amendment is calling for commissioners to abandon their process of scoring cultivation applications.

Attorney David Couch says the merit-based scoring system has been plagued with allegations that have rocked public confidence in the process.

Lance Cheung/Flickr

Advocates for the hungry in Arkansas are hoping the U.S. Senate’s farm bill will not include House-approved work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  (SNAP). All four members of Arkansas’s House delegation voted for the $867 billion farm bill, which requires most able-bodied adults work 20 hours per week or enroll in job training in order to keep food benefits.

Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance Director Kathy Webb worries the work requirement will end up harming those that SNAP is supposed to benefit.

Second Congressional District candidate Clarke Tucker (D).
clarketucker.com

U.S. House hopeful Clarke Tucker, D-Ark, is opposing the possible use of Arkansas facilities to house migrant children and families detained at the U.S.-Mexico border and rejecting his opponent's claims he's in lock-step with Democratic national figures. While President Donald Trump has ordered a halt to his zero-tolerance policy of separating children from their families at the southern border, federal officials are still planning to scout potential detainment sites in Arkansas on Thursday, including the Little Rock Air Force Base.

U.S. Senator John Boozman in the Republican Party of Arkansas headquarters in 2016 during a campaign interview.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas’s senior U.S. Senator John Boozman is calling for a stop to the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy to separate children from their parents at the border. Boozman was one of 13 Republican Senators on Tuesday to sign a letter addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying immigration policy must be consistent with "ordinary human decency" and putting the blame for the "immediate cause of the crisis" on the Attorney General’s new policy.

Tom Cotton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., says some of the immigrant children who are being separated from the adults they are entering the country with at the border with Mexico are not actually related.

Speaking Tuesday on the nationally-syndicated radio program The Hugh Hewitt Show, Cotton was skeptical that many of the 2,000-plus children separated from their parents since April are relatives.

U.S. Rep. French Hill speaking at a meeting of the House Financial Services Committee on March 22, 2016.
C-SPAN

U.S. Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.) says current immigration law justifies the Trump administration's decision to implement a zero tolerance policy that separates children from their parents if they illegally cross the border with Mexico. However, Hill says he does not support children being separated from their families and is urging Congress to pass legislation to fix the problem, while putting the blame on past presidential administrations for the creation of the law.

Oaklawn Racing & Gaming

Arkansas is one of just seven states that does not spend money to support gambling addiction treatment.

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