Arkansas Politics Blog

Republican Rep. Rick Crawford
crawford.house.gov

It is Donald Trump’s first week in office as President and a Republican-controlled Congress is ready to move on a whole host of items they’ve been eyeing for years. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman talked with U.S. Representative Rick Crawford, representing much of east and northeast Arkansas, about how the new administration could shape Cuba policy, farm laborers, and trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Little Rock School District Superintendent Mike Poore (file photo).
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

The tumult in the Little Rock School District, which is under state control, continues in the new year with plans to close or re-purpose four schools. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman spoke with Superintendent Mike Poore about the future of the district and the legitimacy of state control.

Topics also include: a special election to continue a tax, the Teacher Fair Dismissal Act, the impact to charter schools in the district, and the return of local control.

Organizers and state police estimates on the number of demonstrators at the state Capitol for the Women's March on Saturday ranged from 3,000 to 7,000. Take a look at some pictures of the march in the gallery above. The rally in Little Rock was one of a string of events held worldwide protesting the presidency of Donald Trump.

This time on KUAR's Week-In-Review Podcast:

  • The 45th President of the United States is sworn into office. We’ll talk with central Arkansas's Congressman about what he wants to see President Trump's first days.
  • It’s week two of the 91st Arkansas General Assembly. We'll have an update on several bills involving tax cuts, food stamp restrictions, ethics bills, the lottery, and abortion restrictions.
  • And finally the Little Rock School District announces plans to close several schools, getting outrage from many parents.

What you may not know about Jacob Kauffman is how he prepares for the video component of KUAR Public Radio's new weekly news roundup e-mail. And how we make him do it in one take so he can return to his many other duties. And how other news staff are looking at him while he does it.

arkansashouse.org

A bill to establish an official state dinosaur advanced out of a House committee Wednesday Democratic State Rep. Greg Leding of Fayetteville is the measure’s sponsor. The resolution, HCR1003, would make Arkansaurus Fridayi the official dinosaur of Arkansas.

Click here for more information on the bill and the dinosaur.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

A $50 million income tax cut plan for low-earning Arkansans, initially proposed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, advanced out of a state Senate panel on Wednesday. The Senate Committee on Revenue and Taxation, consisting of five Republicans and three Democrats, passed the measure with no dissenting voices or votes. The bill would cut taxes for people making below $20,999 annually.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren of Gravette, who’s also the Governor’s nephew, is the lead sponsor. He said the plan would affect about 657,000 people.  

State Rep. Mary Bentley (R-Perryville) presenting her bill to limit the use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Jacob Kauffman

The first step toward restricting the use of food stamps in Arkansas has been taken by the state legislature. The House Public Health Committee voted 12-6 on Tuesday to back a bill intended to ban the purchase of junk food under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Republican State Representative Mary Bentley of Perryville said lowering the state’s high obesity rate is her driving reason for sponsoring a measure to ban items like soda and chips.

Several of the state’s top politicians – all of whom are white - celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at the predominately African-American St. Mark Baptist Church in Little Rock. Governor Asa Hutchinson recounted first seeing King on television in his youth and indirectly rebuffed President-elect Trump’s disparagement of a different, still living Civil Rights icon.

Governor Hutchinson, a Republican from the small town of Gravette in northwest Arkansas, recounted how as a junior high school student he first came to learn of King.

The Confederate soldiers monument at the state Capitol.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

'Heritage not hate' is an oft heard refrain from Arkansans working to protect the state's dual observance of Robert E. Lee and Martin Luther King, Jr. But throughout 2015 and 2016 long-established heritage groups, like the Sons of Confederate Veterans, overlapped and interacted with modern-day Southern, white nationalist groups like the League of the South on numerous occasions.

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