Arkansas Politics Blog

Ten 10 Commandments
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The new Ten Commandments monument at the Arkansas State Capitol was destroyed a day after it appeared without fanfare on the grounds. A spokesman for the Secretary of State's office say a driver intentionally sped toward the six foot tall granite tablet at about 4:45 a.m. and was immediately apprehended by Capitol Police.

The base of the 10 Commandments monument was installed earlier this month.
Wesley Brown / Talk Business & Politics

A tablet containing the 10 Commandments is being installed this morning on the grounds of the Arkansas Capitol building. Lawsuits have been promised from several entities contending the monument amounts to a state preference or endorsement of particular religious beliefs. The state Legislature approved the privately funded monument.

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R) meeting with members of the Arkansas Hospital Association before the Senate plan was released.
Sen. Tom Cotton's office.

The Senate Republican healthcare plan has Arkansas Hospital Associate President Bo Ryall worried about the impact on rural hospitals, communities, and the hundreds of thousands of Arkansans who could lose insurance coverage. KUAR's Jacob Kauffman spoke with Ryall about the plan - crafted in part by U.S. Senator Tom Cotton - to rollback much of the Affordable Care Act.

Republican Rep. Rick Crawford
crawford.house.gov

The state’s Congressional delegation is revealing little about their positions on the Republican U.S. Senate proposal to roll back much of the Affordable Care Act. Senator Tom Cotton was one of a select few lawmakers to draft the bill in secret but even he has not commented extensively on the proposal. During a KUAR interview on Friday related to Cuba policy, U.S. Representative Rick Crawford of east Arkansas’s 1st District said he hasn’t read the Senate plan yet but appreciates that it’s moving quickly.

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.

GOP presidential primary frontrunner Donald Trump.
Charlie Neibergall/ AP

The interests of Arkansas’s agricultural leaders went unheralded by President Trump on Friday as he announced a move back toward Cold War relations with our Caribbean neighbor, Cuba. Much of the state’s Congressional delegation has also chimed in on the prospect of tougher relations as a move in the wrong direction.

The Arkansas Farm Bureau wants a “normalization” of trade relations with the communist nation and promises it’ll be an economic boon for the state. Arkansas is the largest cultivator of rice in the nation and not far behind that in poultry production.

Libertarian Party of Arkansas Chair Michael Pakko.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Libertarian Party of Arkansas submitted over 15,000 signatures on Monday to the Secretary of State’s office to try and qualify to be a new political party -- for the fourth election cycle in a row. The state has 30 days to certify at least 10,000 of the signatures are from registered Arkansas voters.

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.

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.

Arkansas Republicans are roundly cheering President Trump's decision to join forces with Syria and withdraw from a worldwide climate change accord. Mayors in Little Rock and Fayetteville take a different tone and pledge to keep the course set under the previous administration.

The podcast also delves into the first movement in the 2018 U.S. House race in central Arkansas. Paul Spencer launched an exploratory committee as a Democrat and Natashia Burch Hulsey prepares for an independent bid.

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