Arkansas Politics Blog

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

A bill to require Arkansas political candidates file their campaign finance reports through an online system advanced out of a committee in the Arkansas House of Representatives Wednesday.

Opponents of a bill to cut off funds to state universities with sanctuary campus policies filled the committee room, spilling out into the hallway.
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public media

A bill that would defund sanctuary campuses – of which Arkansas has none – failed Tuesday in a legislative committee. In a voice vote, members shot down the bill by state Representative Brandt Smith of Jonesboro. Smith feared “rogue professors” would force Arkansas colleges to become safe havens for undocumented immigrants trying to escape federal immigration laws.

Rep. Warwick Sabin
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Lawmakers in the Arkansas House voted to allow foreign governments to pay for legislators’ travel expenses. In an 83-to-8 vote on Monday, the chamber advanced the measure which peels back a ban approved by voters in a 2014 constitutional amendment. State Representative Michelle Gray, of Melbourne in north Arkansas, said free travel for legislators will benefit the state.

A bill headed to the Arkansas Senate would give the governor more long-lasting authority to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat. The Arkansas House approved the measure on Monday, which re-affirms the governor’s power to appoint a temporary, replacement Senator while extending the period of time before an election would be held.

A statue of Baphomet as a goat-headed figure flanked by two children could appear alongside the 10 Commandments at the state Capitol.
KFOR

A bill advancing in the Arkansas Legislature would effectively block an effort to erect a monument to Satan on state Capitol grounds. The Arkansas House passed a bill on Monday to prevent the Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission from considering monument proposals without pre-approval from the Legislature.

The state of Arkansas may be officially recognizing more poets soon. The Arkansas House on Monday approved changes to the committee which appoints the state Poet Laureate and shortened its term. State Representative Carlton Wing of North Little Rock introduced his measure in a fitting style.

“What this house bill does is help more folks take the post.

No longer a lifetime appointment, it’s now four years at the most.

Neil Gorsuch
npr.org

Arkansas’s federal office holders are roundly praising President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court pick. Members of the state’s all-Republican congressional delegation weighed in late Tuesday after Neil Gorsuch was nominated the nation’s highest court.

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Dardanelle) commended the pick and had a favorable first impression. In a statement, Cotton noted the pick will have an impact for decades to come.

The Arkansas House advanced a restriction on food stamps, or SNAP, that would ban the purchase of junk food.

If approved by the federal government, the measure would make Arkansas the first state to ban the purchase of junk food with food stamps. 

In what was an unusually close vote for the chamber, 55-39, state Representative Mary Bentley of Perryville pushed through her bill.

Rep. Mark Lowery (R-Maumelle) and Arkansas Department of Higher Education Director Maria Markham at a committee hearing. File photo 2017.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A bill to restructure how Arkansas’s higher education funding is determined is advancing to the state Senate. The switch from enrollment-based funding to productivity-based funding comes at the direction of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s office. State Representative Mark Lowery, a Republican from Maumelle, carried the bill on the House floor Monday.

The Arkansas House overwhelmingly passed a measure to enhance penalties for those who target law enforcement or first responders in a crime. State Representative Dwight Tosh, a retired state police officer from Jonesboro, indirectly referenced Blue Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter, and targeted shootings throughout the nation last year.

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