Arkansas Politics Blog

Arkansas’s attorney general spoke Friday at one of the nation’s most prominent gatherings of conservatives. CPAC, or the Conservative Political Action Conference, describes itself as the “birthplace of modern conservatism.” Ronald Regan was its inaugural keynote speaker in 1974.

Arkansas Times

Grassroots electoral organizing in the Indivisible and "Resistance" strain continues to gain steam in Arkansas, with the launch this week of a new project Progressive Latinx in Arkansas Politics. Springdale-based organizer Irvin Camacho is spearheading the effort. He says the moment is right for Arkansas’s growing Latino population to become ingrained in the state’s electoral politics.

This Thursday women in Arkansas's media world launched the #morethanababe hashtag in response to a local radio show's Babe Bracket that ranks TV journalists based on looks. Governor Asa Hutchinson previously went on program and said "everybody enjoys it” but has since released a statement saying he was not defending the gimmick.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

UPDATE 3:30 p.m. Gov. Hutchinson has issued a statement expounding on a brief remark made this morning about a radio station's "Babe Bracket" that ranks women television journalists based on appearance.

Governor Asa Hutchinson opened his campaign headquarters this week but he'll have to defeat his Republican primary opponent in May if he wants to make it to November. Hot Springs business owner and political pundit Jan Morgan has been taking the fight to the incumbent governor, traversing the state to talk to a host of varied groups. Morgan spoke with KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman about what separates her from Hutchinson.

Scenic Hill Solar CEO Bill Halter.
Bobby Ampezzan / Arkansas Public Media

While the energy sector is bracing for higher prices under the impact of President Trump’s 30-percent tariff on solar goods manufactured outside the U.S. the city of Clarksville is ready to turn on Arkansas’s largest municipal solar array. The $10 million project was constructed by Arkansas-based Scenic Hill Solar. It’ll ceremonially open on Wednesday six months ahead of schedule.

CEO Bill Halter says it was made mostly with imported parts out of necessity. He expects future arrays to be more costly with the imposition of tariffs.

A greater share of Arkansans opted to join a union in 2017 than the year before with membership rates ticking up from 3.9 to 5.1 percent of the workforce. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 62,000 Arkansans were represented in the workplace through a union; another 74,000 non-union employees work under contracts negotiated by unions.

Take a listen to the interview above about the state of organized labor in Arkansas with the AFL-CIO’s Jessica Akers Hughes.

This weekend the Arkansas Capitol building will be the site of two rallies with two very different messages. Those in support of reproductive rights and a larger progressive presence in the 2018 elections plan to be at the Capitol Saturday. While those seeking to end abortion are set to rally Sunday – minus Roman Catholic Bishop Anthony Taylor.

U.S. Representative Steve Womack
Talk Business & Politics

An Arkansan has a newly minted role near the top of Congress’s budget-making hierarchy. U.S. Representative Steve Womack out of northwest Arkansas’s 3rd District is the new chair of the House Budget Committee. Congressman Womack talked with KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman as Friday’s government shutdown looms. Womack also addresses his initial support of the President’s immigration comments about Africa and Haiti.

Take a listen in the link above.

There's evidently some trouble in the Perry County home of state Representative Mary Bentley. Law enforcement arrested her husband Ted on Sunday morning for allegedly violating an order of protection. The Petit Jean Country Headlight newspaper (paywall) reports Mary Bentley took out an order of protection against Ted on December 6th. Deputy Danny Story told the paper Mrs. Bentley has filed for divorce. 

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