Arkansas Politics Blog

U.S. Representative French Hill (R-2nd District). File photo.
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U.S. Representative French Hill (R-2nd District) is the latest member of Arkansas's House delegation to back President Trump's refugee order while calling for peeling back restrictions on green card holders and others. Hill issued a statement on Monday afternoon.

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

State Senator Eddie Joe Williams has filed legislation requiring anyone seeking unemployment benefits that doesn't have a G.E.D. or high school diploma to take adult education courses to recieve benefits. The Republican from Cabot filed the bill on Monday.

The bill has been sent to the Senate Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee. It instructs the state Department of Workforce Services and Department of Career Education to determine rules for the proposal. 

Little Rock School District buses
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The Arkansas Department of Education is recommending two Little Rock School District campuses be removed from the academic distress category. The LRSD schools are among a list of ten released by the department on Monday. The entire district in Blytheville is also recommended to be cleared of the designation. 

The State Board of Education will ultimately decide on the recommendations at a meeting February 9.

File photo: Then U.S. Representative Tom Cotton (R-4th District) at the Clinton School of Public Service (2013).
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas’s Congressional delegation is generally supportive of President Donald Trump’s order on immigration. However, they called for clarifying the position for two groups: green card holders and immigrants with a history service to the U.S. military.

Senator Tom Cotton first reacted to the President’s move on Twitter. He said the characterization of the executive order as a “Muslim ban” amounts to “fake news.”

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

Arkansas voters took to the ballot box in November to put in place a medical marijuana program. They did so in the form of a Constitutional Amendment. But that doesn’t mean the state Legislature can't have something to say about it.

State Senator Jason Rapert, a Republican representing Conway and Bigelow talked to KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman about a bill to stop the program from going into effect unless the federal government legalizes medicinal use first.

This interview was taped on January 27.

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This week, on KUAR’s Week In Review Podcast:

- The governor signs into law a ban on a commonly-used second trimester abortion procedure.

- Arkansas’s primary may be moving back to May and a few wrenches are thrown in the works of the state’s nascent medical marijuana program.

- Voter ID, Higher Education funding changes, and the governor’s tax cuts advance in week three of the legislative session.

- Arkansas officials are taking in week one of a Donald Trump presidency. What they have to say on trade, pipelines and immigration.

State Rep. Andy Mayberry (R-Hensley) watching from the Senate public gallery as his bill is debated.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A bill to restrict a common form of second trimester abortions in Arkansas is now law. Governor Asa Hutchinson signed the measure banning a procedure known as dilation and evacuation (D&E). According to the state Department of Health, it was the only procedure used for 18% of abortions performed in the 12th week of pregnancy or later in 2015. 

State Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch) presenting his bill on the Senate floor.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

An effort to keep Arkansas’s election primary in early March rather than late May faced a bi-partisan defeat in the state Senate. A bill to keep the earlier date, part of a so-called SEC Primary, was shot down on Thursday but its sponsor plans to bring it back up next week.

Senator Garry Stubblefield, a Republican from Branch in northwest Arkansas, argued the earlier date made the state more relevant in the 2016 presidential election.

Pipe laying idle in the yard of Welspun Tubular in east Little Rock (2014 file photo).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas's congressional delegation is lining up to support President Donald Trump's moves to revive the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. President Trump utilized the power of executive orders on Tuesday to expedite reviews of the projects and re-start processes halted or delayed by former President Obama.

Following Trump's moves U.S. Representative French Hill, of the 2nd District in central Arkansas, issued a statement praising the President. Hill referenced a direct connection to a manufacturer in Little Rock, Welspun Tubular.

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