Arkansas Politics Blog

File photo: Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking to reporters at the Capitol
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas Republicans wasted no time in letting voters know they do not accept President Obama’s directive on transgender access to public school bathrooms and locker rooms while some Arkansas Democrats are keeping a low profile.

LRSD Civic Advisory Committee Chair Greg Adams tells Education Commissioner Johnny Key the group wants him to resign. Outgoing Superintendent Baker Kurrus watches, saying afterward "well said."
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Frustrations of advocates for Little Rock’s traditional public schools were on display at the Arkansas Department of Education build on Thursday even as the state Board moved toward a creating a new civic advisory group and a quickened academic review of the state-run district. 

KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman reports that the state Board’s response to unrest likely won’t be enough to quell the community’s disdain.

File photo. Arkansas State Board of Education auditorium.

A coalition of public school advocates lead by the Arkansas Public Policy Panel is planning to pack the state Department of Education building Thursday morning to make their case against what is being characterized as the “re-segregating” of Little Rock schools. It comes on the heels of one charter school apologizing for not sending recruitment mail to certain ZIP codes.

A screenshot of an advertisement from Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Conner Eldridge linking Republican incumbent John Boozman to presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Conner Eldridge is hoping GOP anxiety that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign will hurt Republicans down the ballot will materialize in his race against incumbent John Boozman. 

The Eldridge campaign released a web advertisement titled “Harassment” on Monday that strings together about a dozen statements made by Mr. Trump demeaning women. 

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).

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.