Arkansas Politics Blog

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.

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.

Pages