Arkansas Politics Blog

Central Arkansas Congressman French Hill is holding his first town hall meeting since President Donald Trump took office at a west Little Rock hotel during the workday next Monday. U.S. Senator Tom Cotton will join him.

The state's junior Senator has participated in several town hall style public meetings, some with other Arkansas congressman, replete with hundreds of upset constituents. The event Monday will be Sen. Cotton's first town hall in central Arkansas.

Arkansas-born, best selling author John Grisham penned an editorial in USA Today calling for a stop to Arkansas’s plan to kill eight death row inmates from April 17th to 27th. One inmate has a stay on his sentence. 

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

Arkansas’s all-Republican congressional delegation is showing support for President Trump’s air strikes in Syria. 

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, in a statement released late Thursday night, said he commends the president for “taking swift, decisive action” against an “outlaw regime.”

The state's senior U.S. Senator John Boozman said "Limited, swift and decisive action was required to deter further brutality."

Boozman also cautioned against further military action from the executive branch.

Outside the Arkansas House chamber in the state Capitol building.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A beleaguered bid in the Arkansas Legislature to collect sales taxes from online purchases from companies without a physical presence in the state narrowly failed in the House on Monday. Representative Dan Douglas, a Republican from Bentonville, said it didn’t make sense to collect a tax on his blue jeans at a local store but not when he bought them online.

“They’re the same brand of blue jeans, the same style, the same size, used on the same fat body for the same purpose and they didn’t collect sales tax,” said Douglas. “Now is that fair?”

This edition of KUAR's Week In Review podcast tackles the winding down of the legislative session. Lawmakers retread the concealed carry debate and carve out an exception for athletic events, UAMS, and the state hospital despite NRA opposition. The online sales tax finally gets past a committee hurdle and the bathroom bill gets pushed aside for another time as does highway funding.

The Arkansas House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday allowing state universities to prohibit concealed carry license holders from bringing handguns into “collegiate athletic events.” SB724 would also allow the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas State Hospital to prohibit firearms. The bill passed the House on a 71-20 vote.  A previous version already passed the Senate.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

On a second try, the Arkansas House of Representatives successfully passed the appropriation for the state Department of Human Services Division of Medical Services. The Division oversees the state’s expanded Medicaid program, which includes the health coverage of more than 300,000 low-income adults.

The Arkansas House of Representatives has again failed to pass a proposal calling for a U.S. Constitutional Amendment that defines a marriage as between one man and one woman. The proposal, sponsored by Republican Sen. Jason Rapert of Bigelow, received 50 votes in the House, one vote shy of passage. SJR7 had passed out of the 35-member Senate on a 18-9 vote.

A report released on Thursday by one of the nation’s top law schools concludes the state of Arkansas has ignored the mental states and legal representation of eight death row inmates scheduled to die next month. It’s the latest wrinkle in the state’s drive to kill eight inmates in 10 days.

State Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch) after his primary move-up bill failed to advance out of committee.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Arkansas Senate has given final legislative approval to a bill that exempts certain personal information about law enforcement officers from the state’s Freedom of Information Act. The bill, sponsored by Rep, Robin Lundstrum (R-Springdale) allows law enforcement officers in the state to submit a request to their county assessor, recorder or clerk asking for their personal property records or tax records to be confidential for a two-year period.

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