Arkansas Politics Blog

File photo: Gov. Asa Hutchinson presenting part of his Arkansas Works plan, the state's version of Medicaid expansion.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Trump administration issued guidance to states on Thursday regarding the terms of adding work requirements for Medicaid coverage and Arkansas’s governor is ready to take advantage of the policy shift. Medicaid is a health insurance program for low-income people administered by states but primarily funded by the federal government. Eligibility is largely determined by income levels, which were expanded under the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Representative Steve Womack (R-Third Distirct)
NPR

An Arkansas Congressman has been recommended to chair the U.S. House Budget Committee. The ascension of Representative Steve Womack to the post comes as Rep. Diane Black steps aside to focus on running for governor of Tennessee. The House Republican Steering Committee announced late Tuesday it chose Womack. The move still has to be voted on by the full House GOP conference and considered on the floor for ratification.

The main campus of the University of Arkansas For Medical Sciences in Little Rock.
UAMS

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is cutting 600 positions as it faces the prospect of cutting $30 million in expenses this fiscal year. Only 258 of the once-budgeted positions were filled. UAMS is the state’s largest public employer with a staff of more than 10,000 and is the only Level One Trauma Center in the state.

Regnat Populus Chairman Paul Spencer
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Second District U.S. Congressional hopeful Paul Spencer is characterizing his end of the year fundraising efforts as a vindication of his principles to never take PAC or corporate money for his 2018 election effort. Spencer’s position that only individual donors should contribute to electoral campaigns is not shared by his Democratic primary opponent Gwen Combs or Republican incumbent French Hill.

Arkansas Center for Health Improvement President Joe Thompson (left) and Arkansas Insurance Department Commissioner Allen Kerr exchanging notes after speaking to a legislative committee.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Friday is the last day of open enrollment for signing up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s healthcare exchanges, or marketplaces

State officials are predicting more Arkansans to enroll this year than the last -despite efforts by the Trump administration to limit the enrollment period and to curtail outreach and advertisement about its existence.

The exchange has been open since November 1st and closes December 15th. Enrollees can choose between private insurance plans and determine eligibility for federal subsidies, made possible by the ACA.

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jared Henderson.
KUAR

A Democrat has announced intent to run for the governor’s office in 2018. Jared Henderson was the executive director of Teach for America’s Arkansas division from 2013 to 2017 and is centering his campaign in part on “making teachers one of the most important professions in the state.” The 39-year old Arkansas native declared Tuesday he’s seeking his party’s nomination.

The base of the 10 Commandments monument was installed earlier this month.
Wesley Brown / Talk Business & Politics

Proposed security features for the soon-to-be resurrected Ten Commandments monument on Arkansas’s state Capitol grounds have passed a first step. The monument was intentionally destroyed in June, within 24-hours of being erected, when a mentally ill man drove his car through it.

Gwen Combs at the Women's March for Arkansas in January 2017.
Combs Campaign.

Democrat Gwendolynn Combs marked her entrance into the 2nd Congressional District race on Monday night with a campaign launch event in downtown Little Rock. Combs’s presence means a Democratic primary between her and Paul Spencer. The winner will face Republican incumbent French Hill who is seeking a third-term in the U.S. House.

KUAR spoke with Spencer earlier this year at the time he announced his intent to run.

File photo: US Sen. Tom Cotton touring military vehicle prototypes in Little Rock.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The New York Times reports today on a White House plan to replace U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. It's reported that President Trump wants Arkansas U.S. Senator Tom Cotton to replace Pompeo as head of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Recently released FBI data shows Black Friday gun sales set a single-day record for background checks at just over 203,000. And a number of Arkansas stores are claiming strong sales through the holiday weekend and Cyber Monday as well.

Rusty Fisher with Sunrise Outfitters in Searcy says his shop was no exception.

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