Arkansas Politics Blog

Pipe laying idle in the yard of Welspun Tubular in east Little Rock (2014 file photo).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas’s congressman may be divided on healthcare reform but they are squarely lined-up when it comes to cheering the State Department’s green-light for Keystone XL Pipeline. 

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton said the decision puts working families “ahead of the demands of left-wing donors for a change.” Senator John Boozman noted a Little Rock manufacturer, Welspun Tubular, manufactured hundreds of miles of the pipeline. Central  Arkansas U.S. Representative French Hill claimed the cross-nation “pro-growth” pipeline will have “a minimal impact on the environment.”

UPDATE: Pence's visit to Arkansas has been canceled according to state GOP officials.

From earlier:

Vice President Mike Pence will be in Little Rock on Friday, on the heels of whatever happens in the U.S. House of Representatives to efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Arkansas Razorbacks
Univ. of Arkansas

The Arkansas Razorbacks loss to North Carolina in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament this week was hard to swallow for many Hogs fans. State Senators Keith Ingram and Jeremy Hutchinson, tongues firmly in cheek, determined the Arkansas Legislature should absolve the Hogs for their loss and instead officially condemn the officiating.

In a very real Senate Resolution filed on Thursday, sponsors state the Natural State has been devastated.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law a high profile bill that greatly expands where concealed carry license holders can bring handguns.

The Republican governor made his announcement flanked by several GOP lawmakers and an executive with the National Rifle Association, all of whom helped shape the new law. Hutchinson said the final legislation wasn’t perfect but the group around him balanced the need for safety and Second Amendment rights.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The state is poised to hand over control of the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame to the city of Pine Bluff. A bill passed in the Arkansas House on Friday would transfer the operation from the state Department of Parks and Tourism to the city’s Advertising and Tourist Promotion Commission.

Update: The Department of Parks and Tourism provided KUAR with attendance figures for the Hall of Fame. It reveals a dramatic decline in recent years.

2017 – To date 2,675

2016 – 5,793

2015 – 7,125

2014 – 16,932

2013 – 21,102

npr.org

Legislation is advancing in the Arkansas House of Representatives that would legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp in the state.

Rev your engines! Well, not yet. The Arkansas House overwhelmingly backed a bill on Thursday to raise the speed limit to 75 miles per hour on interstates and 65 miles per hour on other highways. If it becomes law, the five-mile per hour bump would still be subject to studies from state highway officials.

State Representative Justin Gonzalez, a Republican from Okolona, nestled between Prescott and Arkadelphia, is a fan of faster driving.

“I’d say that this bill couldn’t get here fast enough wouldn’t you agree?” Gonzalez joked to bill sponsor DeAnn Vaught (R-Horatio).

Delta Regional Authority Chairman Chris Masingill and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Funding for the Delta Regional Authority would be eliminated under President Trump’s first budget request to Congress. The federal agency is set up to help encourage and coordinate economic development in eight states, including Arkansas, tied to the beleaguered Mississippi River Delta region.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

A bill that expands where trained Arkansans can bring concealed firearms is now heading to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's desk after the Legislature gave its final approval on Wednesday.

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