Arkansas Politics Blog

Lucien Greaves is the spokesperson for the Massachusetts based Satanic Temple.
YouTube

The Satanic Temple is firing back at a bill in the Arkansas Legislature that would limit the public's ability to propose monuments for the state Capitol grounds. The Massachusetts based organization sent the state Secretary of State's office a letter on Thursday asserting that a as-yet-unscheduled public hearing on a monument to Baphomet go forward even if the bill becomes law.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

State legislators are beginning to consider proposals for constitutional amendments that could eventually go to a vote of the people. Wednesday was the deadline for members of the Arkansas House of Representatives and Senate to file such proposals. In the Senate Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Thursday, lawmakers discussed two of the nearly thirty proposals filed in both chambers.

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.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice 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.

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