Arkansas Politics Blog

File. Gov. Asa Hutchinson's chief of staff Michael Lamoureux when he was a state senator from Russellville.
Arkansas Times

Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s chief of staff says he is departing for “another professional opportunity.” Michael Lamoureux has held the position since the governor began his term in January 2015.

Previous to working in the governor’s office Lamoureux was President Pro Tem of the Arkansas Senate. His first term in the legislature began in 2004 and he served as House Minority leader before the state's great political transformation from Democratic to Republican control.

File. Education Commissioner Johnny Key speaking to reporters in the state Capitol building.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Education Commissioner Johnny Key is sticking with his decision to bring in Bentonville's Michael Poore as superintendent for the state-controlled Little Rock School District. KUAR's Jacob Kauffman spoke to Key about trust, an academic vision, charter schools, segregation, and school closings.

File. State Rep. Jana Della Rosa (R-Rogers).
arkansashouse.org

A legislative committee is poised this week to consider the purchase of a new campaign finance filing system to allow for electronic uploads and more flexible search tools for the public. State Representative Jana Della Rosa crafted the appropriation measure for the purchase of a $750,000 of a new electronic filing system.

Arkansas Public Policy Panel Executive Director Bill Kopsky with his child on his shoulders at an LRSD rally.
Arkansas Times

Last weekend hundreds of Little Rock denizens and public school proponents rallied at the Capitol to call for the state to renew Superintendent Baker Kurrus’s contract, place a moratorium on charter school expansion, and to return control to a locally elected school board. Bill Kopsky, with the Arkansas Public Policy Panel, helped organized that event.

KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman talked with Kopsky about what’s next and his conversations with the district’s new head Michael Poore.

Steps leading up the Arkansas Senate chamber.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

An attempt in the Arkansas Senate on Tuesday to override Governor Asa Hutchinson’s veto – that allowed for Medicaid expansion to continue – failed on a voice vote. Many on both sides expected the veto override move to fall short of the needed majority since nearly all of the lawmakers who sent the budget bill to the governor's desk- knowing in advance he planned to veto the provision that would end Medicaid expansion - were supporters of his Arkansas Works plan.

File. State Sen. Linda Chesterfield (D-Little Rock).
Arkansas Times

Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus Chair Linda Chesterfield plans to introduce legislation this week for $1 million in higher education funding for inmates preparing to exit the system. The Democratic state senator from Little Rock announced in a meeting on Monday she’ll try on Thursday to add the appropriation for pilot programs at Shorter College and ASU-Newport.

Attorney and state Rep. John Walker of Little Rock.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Advocates of public schools in Little Rock are continuing to add their voices to the fallout over the state’s decision to bring in a new superintendent for the state-controlled district, without any community input.

Arkansas Education Commissioner Johnny Key testifying to a joint meeting of the Education Committees.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key says the way he handled the decision to bring in a new superintendent for the Little Rock School District was a "mistake" that has led to the "poor implementation" of new leadership.

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

Much of Little Rock is fuming over the decision by Arkansas Department of Education head Johnny Key to not renew Superintendent Baker Kurrus’s contract. But not everyone in the district is upset, some see much promise in the pick of Michael Poore of Bentonville schools.

KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman spoke with Gary Newton, president of the education policy group Arkansas Learns to talk about the decision and the role of charter schools in the district.

Arkansas House of Representatives.
ArkansasHouse.org

Governor Asa Hutchinson used a line item veto on Thursday afternoon to ensure the continuation of Medicaid expansion in Arkansas. The veto was part of a procedural maneuver meant to work around the resistance of a minority of Republicans blocking funding for the insurance program. It benefits over 267,000 low-income Arkansans.

Earlier on Thursday, the House of Representatives narrowly secured the three-fourths vote the funding bill needed for passage on a 76-13 vote.

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