Arkansas Politics Blog

Jack Greene
Arkansas Department of Correction

The execution of Arkansas death row inmate Jack Greene has been halted by the state Supreme Court. Justices granted an emergency stay on Tuesday for the execution slated for Thursday night. Greene’s attorneys argue he suffers from extreme mental illness and wouldn’t rationally understand his execution.

His legal team asked the state’s highest court to review a lower court ruling that the state’s prison director – not a medical professional – has the authority to determine whether a person is mentally competent to stand for execution.

Bruce Westerman
c-span.org

Arkansas Congressman Bruce Westerman’s bill to change how federal forests are managed passed in the U.S. House on Wednesday and is headed to the Senate. Last year a similar version of Westerman’s Resilient Federal Forests Act passed the House but stalled in the Senate. The Republican lawmaker tells KUAR this time around he expects better results in the upper chamber.

Listen to the full interview in the link posted above.

UPDATE: 10/31, 11:42 a.m. The lack of publicly expressed interest in the Mueller indictments from Arkansas's Congressional delegation is drawing condemnation from the chair of the Democratic Party of Arkansas.

Chair Michael John Gray told KUAR he hopes for more communication between the state's elected officials and Arkansans.

Assistant Pro Tempore 1st District Senator Eddie Joe Williams (R-Cabot).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

President Donald Trump has appointed an Arkansas state Senator as the federal representative on the Southern States Energy Board. Eddie Joe Williams says he’ll be sworn into the new post in 30 to 45 days, and in the meantime he’ll resign as state Senator.

He’s held an elected office of kind or another in the Cabot area since the early 2000’s. He was elected to the Senate in 2010. A special election will have to be called to fill out the remainder of his term.

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.

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