Arkansas Politics Blog

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.

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.  

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