Arkansas Politics Blog

Arkansas’s two U.S. Senators - Republicans Tom Cotton and John Boozman – joined the slimmest of majorities this week to strike down a new rule that would have allowed consumers to band together in class-action lawsuits against credit card companies and banks. It’s a blow to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created after the 2009 financial crisis.

Democratic Party of Arkansas Chair Michael John Gray discusses the vote with KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman in the interview posted above.

USDA - McKeand

A timber company with deep Arkansas ties and a headquarters in El Dorado is being acquired in a $1.18 billion deal by Potlatch Corporation. The Spokane, Washington-based operation, now to be known as PotlatchDeltic Corporation, will have 1,500 employees combined, 2-million acres of timberland, and is estimated to be worth $4 billion. Deltic’s contribution is 530,000 acres in Arkansas and Louisiana.

Potlatch CEO Mike Covey will stay at the helm of the combined company. He told investors on Monday that he expects more activity out of south Arkansas forests and mills.

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

Arkansas will be handing out cash to high school students who pass an Advanced Placement test in computer science. The Arkansas Department of Education announced the launch of the Arkansas Advanced Placement Computer Science A Incentive Program designed to encourage computer science education by rewarding students as well as schools.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) talking to reporters in his Capitol office.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

In advance of an Arkansas Highway Commission meeting, Governor Asa Hutchinson said he will not support directing general revenue funds to highways. He told reporters on Tuesday that he will oppose any ballot initiative that would re-direct general funds for roads.

“Those are funds that are necessary for education, for public safety and all the other needs of our state. So, I say no we can not divert that general revenue stream that’s needed for education, higher education, and other needs over to highways,” said Hutchinson. “That’s an important principle that needs underlining.”

A concert in Little Rock, from a musician at the top of his field, has been cancelled under pressure from Mayor Mark Stodola. The incumbent mayor worried that a concert held by the rapper from Memphis posed too much risk to public safety.

Bill Clinton Little Rock Nine
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public media

The surviving members of the Little Rock Nine and former President Bill Clinton marked the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High School on Monday. The ceremony was replete with jabs at how far is left to go to achieve progress in the era of President Donald Trump and a state-controlled school district.

Frank Scott, Jr.
frankscottjr.com

Banker Frank Scott, Jr. is considering entering the Little Rock mayoral race. The life-long Little Rock resident said on Tuesday he’s exploring a 2018 bid. His interest follows announcements by state Representative Warwick Sabin and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola. 

Scott says facilitating economic development through infrastructure improvement is a top priority. The former State Highway Commissioner is in favor of one such project – the widening of Interstate 30 through downtown – that has met opposition in public comments to the regional transportation planning agency Metroplan.

Tom Cotton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Some of Arkansas’s top elected officials – all Republicans – are generally supportive of President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program in six months barring Congressional action. Meanwhile the state’s Democrats are offering a full rebuke and condemning attempts to use DACA beneficiaries as a political football for broader immigration policy changes.

Arkansas National Guardsmen unloading supplies from a helicopter in Texas.
KATV

1,500 members of the Arkansas National Guard are preparing to head to Texas to help Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Governor Asa Hutchinson authorized the deployment today, after receiving a request from the state of Texas.

In a statement Hutchinson said the contingent is expected to leave on Saturday and that the deployment could extend up to 30 days.

U.S. Rep. French Hill after giving remarks at the Governor's Mansion to the Political Animals Club in 2014, prior to his election.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

U.S. Representative French Hill put veterans at the forefront of his remarks on Wednesday to constituents at the Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock. The Republican lawmaker’s comments after the meeting of the Political Animals Club - on FEMA and the President’s tax plan - painted a busy picture for when Congress returns to Washington D.C. next month.

Pages