Arkansas Politics Blog

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

A bill requiring public universities to allow faculty, staff and students 25 years or older to carry concealed firearms on campuses may be coming up for a vote Monday afternoon in the Arkansas Senate. HB1249 is on the calendar after being amended in recent weeks to include provisions requiring additional training and extending concealed carry privileges to some students.

arkansashouse.org

A late attempt to significantly alter a resolution limiting attorneys fees and injury lawsuit awards failed to get approval from the Arkansas House of Representatives Friday. 

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

An Arkansas House Committee has advanced a revised version of a proposed constitutional amendment to limit awards in injury lawsuits and to change state court rulemaking authority. On Thursday, the Arkansas House Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs voted 14 to 3 to send the proposal to the full chamber.

State Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-Elm Springs) presenting her bill in the House Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee.
arkansashouse.org

A drug testing program for Arkansans seeking help from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, or TANF, is one step closer to becoming law. A House committee on Tuesday passed the bill to extend a two year trial run indefinitely.

The latest in a series of bills to exempt security details from the Freedom of Information Act has been filed in the Arkansas Legislature. Keeping information about the Governor’s Mansion secret from the public is the objective of Republican State Representative DeAnne Vaught of Horatio in southwest Arkansas.

Arkansas Department of Education Building in Little Rock near the state Capitol building.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A bill to open-up membership in the public charter school authorizing panel to anyone in the public – without requirement – sailed through the Arkansas Senate on Monday. Currently the panel that makes recommendations on whether charter schools should open, close, or expand is made up of Department of Education employees.

Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren said establishing criteria for holding the posts is a burden on the state.

File photo. State. Senator Jason Rapert (R-Bigelow) with former State Representative Anne Clemmer testifying to a committee in 2013.
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

A push to call for a convention of the states to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution to redefine marriage and abortion rights narrowly failed in the Arkansas Senate. Article V of the U.S. Constitution allows for states to join together to propose amendments. It’s never been used before, but speaking on the floor on Monday state Senator Jason Rapert said it’s the only tool he has left.

Rapert proposed two separate resolutions. The first would redefine marriage as between one man and one woman. The second would say life begins at conception and effectively ban abortion.

The Arkansas Senate on Thursday voted 21-10 to approve a resolution, SJR8, which places limitations on attorneys’ fees and a $250,000 cap on awards in injury lawsuits. The proposed constitutional amendment also transfers courtroom rulemaking authority from the state Supreme Court to the Legislature.

The measure could end up as one of three the Legislature sends to voters for consideration on the 2018 general election ballot. If passed, it would take effect in 2019.

Rep. Charlie Collins
Jacob Kuaffman / KUAR News

A bill requiring public colleges and universities to allow their faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns on campus easily advanced out of the Arkansas Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

Sponsored by Fayetteville Republican Rep. Charlie Collins, the bill, HB1249, now heads to the full Senate. It was approved by the House of Representatives earlier this month.

File photo. Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) speaking to the Political Animals Club at the Governor's Mansion in Little Rock.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

This week the Arkansas Legislature pushed forward a bill to collect sales taxes on out of state, online purchases. Some retailers, like Amazon, say they support the move and will preemptively start collecting taxes in March.

Governor Asa Hutchinson is roundly praising Amazon’s announcement that the Seattle-based company wants sales tax be collected for online retailers and will voluntarily help collect them. In a statement, the Republican said the company’s decision is “laudable and good news for the state.”

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