Arkansas Politics Blog

State Sen. Jason Rapert (file photo).
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The governor’s Medicaid expansion plan picked up a last minute potential change intended to block insurance coverage for the Morning After and Plan B pills. State Senator Jason Rapert filed an amendment on Tuesday that requires Governor Asa Hutchinson to ask federal officials for a waiver that would stop Medicaid funds from going to the reproductive health medications.

State Senator Jason Rapert (R-Bigelow).
Arkansas Times

The governor may have found a solution to the Medicaid budget impasse caused by just 10 of the state Senate's 35 members in the form of a creative new use of the line item veto but he hasn't done it yet. Into the void steps some last minute finagling and fine tuning.

Morning After Pill

State Senator Jason Rapert told me Tuesday night and then announced to the public via Twitter that he's going to try and stop insurance plans under Arkansas Works from paying for The Morning After or Plan B pill.

The new head of the Little Rock School District Michael Poore.
bentonvillek12.org

We weren't supposed to know who would replace Baker Kurrus as Superintendent of the Little Rock School District until Wednesday morning but news from northwest Arkansas confirms that Michael Poore has the job.

He's been superintendent of the Bentonville School District since 2011-12 school year. Prior to that he developed some job experience as a deputy superintendent that he'll be deploying once again if the state's plan to close schools in Little Rock continues.

File photo: LRSD Superintendent Baker Kurrus, Democrat Gazette publisher and charter advocate Walter Hussman, and Governor Asa Hutchinson.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Little Rock School District Superintendent Baker Kurrus confirmed to multiple news sources this evening that his contract will not be renewed by the Department of Education which has controlled the district since January of last year.

The floor of the Arkansas Senate.
Arkansas.gov

Backers of Arkansas’s Medicaid expansion plan are expected to try again this week to overcome the resistance of a minority of Republican lawmakers and pass a budget bill. 

The battle over the future of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's Medicaid expansion plan takes center stage on KUAR's podcast, with lawmakers recessed until Tuesday amid a standoff about funding. Jacob Kauffman reports on developments he's covered this week at the Capitol, while Chris Hickey speaks with state agency heads about the impacts to them if the healthcare plan for low income Arkansans isn't renewed.    

The news staff also discusses developments in education this week, the state's jobless rate dropping to an all-time low, and the death of longtime Congressman Ray Thornton.

Former U.S. Congressman Ray Thornton.
Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Former U.S. congressman, Arkansas Supreme Court justice and university president Raymond "Ray" Thornton died early Wednesday, his former chief of staff says. He was 87. Thornton was in hospice care for lung cancer in Pulaski County.

The Conway native graduated from Yale University in 1950 and a few years later served in the Navy during the Korean War. Thornton then earned a law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law.

The scene at the beginning of Franklin Graham's rally in Little Rock.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The voice of evangelist Franklin Graham, son of Christian media pioneer Billy Graham, boomed across the Arkansas Capitol lawn Tuesday, calling on Christians to get involved in politics.

“Vote for candidates that stand for biblical truths and biblical principles and are willing to live them,” Graham told a crowd KUAR estimated to be over 4,500.

He said failing to do so in recent years has had grave consequences, with secularism trickling down to local governments and institutions.

UPDATE: Jump to the bottom for KUAR's interview with Conner Eldridge on the connection between the governor's Arkansas Works plan and the Affordable Care Act.

The latest salvo in Arkansas's U.S. Senate race has Democratic challenger Conner Eldridge calling on Republican incumbent John Boozman to "unequivocally" back federal funding for the governor's Arkansas Works plan. 

Charlie Collins
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Arkansas legislators have given initial approval to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's plan to continue a modified form of the state's Medicaid expansion, but the margins suggest it will be an uphill battle to approve funding.

Pages