Arkansas Politics Blog

The Trump administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has at long-last made its decision to add a work requirement for certain low-income people if they way to keep getting health insurance through Arkansas’s version of Medicaid expansion, known as Arkansas Works. The announcement was made Monday at the state’s Capitol building.

CMS Director Seema Verma personally signed and hand-delivered the federal agency’s letter to Governor Asa Hutchinson granting the state’s request.

One of the founders of the Indivisible movement says Arkansas Democrats did a fair job of candidate recruitment compared to an anemic 2016 slate but the state party didn’t stack up as well it should have. The candidate filing period closed last week for Arkansas elections.

Listen to the full interview in the link posted above.

Co-author of the Indivisible Guide, Billy Fleming told KUAR it’s good that Democrats are running in every Congressional race and in 57 legislative seats (49 in 2016) but it pales compared to other states.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking to President Donald Trump.
C-SPAN

Governor Asa Hutchinson promoted the idea of teachers being armed in schools at a meeting with President Trump on Monday and called for federal terrorist-fighting funds to be redirected locally to schools. The President, who was hosting a few dozen governors during the National Governors Association annual winter meeting, indirectly responded by saying deporting gang members is part of the solution.

Libertarian candidate for governor Mark West.
KATV

Mark West is throwing his hat in the ring for the race for Arkansas governor. The pastor and business manager out of Batesville filed to run on Monday after being nominated over the weekend at the Libertarian Party of Arkansas’s convention in Little Rock. The governor’s office tops the Libertarian ballot for a number of reasons. Notably, the party’s gubernatorial or presidential candidate has to get three-percent of the vote if it is to retain ballot access in the next election. For the past four election cycles its fallen short of that threshold and had to petition its way on the ballot.

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.

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