Arkansas Politics Blog

Arkansas Chamber of Commerce Chair Randy Zook with Gov. Asa Hutchinson sitting behind him.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Arkansas Chamber of Commerce and state economic officials are rolling out a private-public partnership branded as “Be Pro. Be Proud” designed to entice young people to enter technical fields and become skilled laborers.

At the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock on Tuesday, chamber Chair Randy Zook said learning a trade such as welding or plumbing ought to be considered in the same regard as pursuing a four-year college degree.

ADEQ Clean Power Plan ADEQ Director Becky Keogh and APSC Chairman Ted Thomas
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Arkansas is halting its effort to craft and implement a plan to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and Arkansas Public Service Commission said in a statement on Tuesday that stakeholder meetings will cease as a result of last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to stay the EPA’s plan to reduce carbon emission to curb climate change.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is proposing a $5.3 billion budget for the next fiscal year, a $143 million spending increase primarily directed to the Department of Human Services. 

About 15 percent of the increase would go to education with most other agency budgets staying flat. The governor said the uptick in spending in the budget plan released on Tuesday is mostly geared toward meeting shortfalls in the foster care system.

Jim Hendren
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers charged with issuing recommendations on the future of the state’s Medicaid expansion program voted Monday to back the Republican governor’s proposal to change and continue the Affordable Care Act-enabled plan that provides insurance to over 250,000 low-income residents. A series of bi-partisan votes have narrowly carried the program since its 2013 inception.

The convening of the Health Reform Legislative Task Force was planned as the penultimate meeting.

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

Arkansas’s governor was in a buoyant mood the day after Election Day despite his pick for the Republican presidential contest falling flat. Governor Asa Hutchinson told the Political Animals Club on Wednesday that figuratively he and his version of Medicaid expansion were on the ballot in a handful of state legislative contests – and he prevailed. 

He also told a packed house of politicos lunching at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock that a cloud of dark money in state Supreme Court races has him backing a change to an appointment system.

The Republican presidential field.
NPR

The Republican presidential field is narrowing but with former Governor Mike Huckabee out of the race Arkansas has been left more wide-open than ever.

Improbably, Arkansas is occupying a station far above its delegate worth heading into Super Tuesday. This small state, of relative unimportance in the presidential primary scheme, is on the cusp of symbolic importance for anyone not named Trump. Wins are just that hard to come by for Rubio, Cruz, Carson, and Kasich.

Brock Olree and French Hill (left to right).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

It’s been a quiet contest but U.S. Representative French Hill is facing a Republican primary challenger for the 2nd District seat. His challenger Brock Olree wants to bring trade deals to the forefront of the congressional race in central Arkansas.

“Employment statistics for these seven counties, there are only about 1,500 more people employed now than there were in 2007, so we need faster economic growth,” said Rep. French Hill.

Donald Trump speaking at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Republican presidential contender Donald Trump’s campaign is brushing off Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinon’s remarks that the candidate’s rhetoric is “frightening.” The governor made the comment this week on National Public Radio after endorsing Marco Rubio in the state’s March 1 primary.

Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson said she hasn’t listened to the full interview but has heard the sentiment before from establishment figures.

US Senator John Boozman, Curtis Coleman (left to right).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas's senior U.S. Senator John Boozman appears to be well-entrenched heading into the March 1 primary, but challenger Curtis Coleman says the sitting Senator is not the conservative voice the state needs in Washington.

The Arkansas House of Representatives chamber.
arkansashouse.org

Democrats in Arkansas don’t hold any congressional seats or control any branch of government but there are some spots on the map, at the state legislative level, where the party hopes to make advances.

An open seat for the state House, HD38, a district that narrowly turned Republican in 2014 is giving Democrats hope to make up for a lot of ground lost since the state’s GOP shift.

But first, Democrats have to settle who their nominee will be for the district containing parts of North Little Rock and Sherwood.

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