Arkansas Politics

Local & Regional News
11:30 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Bond Broker Takes Stand In Trial of Martha Shoffner

A broker who handled a large share of Arkansas' bond business says he gave the state's former treasurer $6,000 at her Capitol office because she needed help through a rough patch in her life.

Steele Stephens told jurors at Martha Shoffner's bribery and extortion trial Friday that Shoffner's mother had recently died and she had recently lost an apartment and state car.

Stephens said he felt sorry for the former treasurer, and thought giving her money could be good for business.

Shoffner is accused of taking $36,000 from Stephens and directing state business his way.

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Local & Regional News
1:05 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Testimony Begins In Trial Of Former Treasurer Martha Shoffner

File photo of Shoffner and attorney Chuck Banks leaving a court hearing in June 2013.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The first witnesses in the bribery and extortion trial of former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner detailed Thursday how the office would make decisions about the state’s investments and how one broker came to get a disproportionate share of that business.

Shoffner is accused of taking $36,000 from bond broker Steele Stephens, in exchange for steering state business his way.

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Arkansas Legislature
6:00 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Politics And The Private Option: An Analysis With Jay Barth

The private option, Arkansas's alternative answer to the full-out Medicaid expansion prescribed by the federal Affordable Care Act continues to hold up progress on the state budget in this fiscal legislative session.

With the political climate surrounding this most-divisive issue, could a few lawmakers be holding out till after the political filing period to cast their vote for the alternative plan? Political scientist Jay Barth joins us to discuss some of the political aspects of this vote.

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Local & Regional News
2:46 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Senator Mark Pryor Files To Run For Re-Election

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas has filed to run for re-election, setting the stage for one of the most expensive and closely watched Senate races in the country this year.

The Democratic two-term lawmaker filed paperwork at the Capitol on Friday morning to seek a third term.

Pryor was first elected to the Senate in 2002 and won re-election without a Republican challenger in 2008.

Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton filed paperwork earlier this week to challenge Pryor and is the only expected GOP candidate for the seat.

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Arkansas General Assembly
8:06 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Discussions Bring Potential Changes To Private Option, Vote Expected Next Week

House Speaker Davy Carter (R, Cabot)
Credit Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

State Legislators say they’re getting closer to finding a way to pass funding for Arkansas’s private option. House Leadership have been meeting with opponents and Department of Human Services officials about the possibility of limiting the time period during which people can enroll in the program.

House Speaker Davy Carter said an idea is being floated to create a fixed period of open enrollment in private option health insurance plans. In meetings with opponents and DHS officials, the issue of setting a specific time frame for people to enroll was raised.

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Arkansas General Assembly
3:04 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Bill To Keep Lt. Governor's Seat Vacant Clears Arkansas House

The Arkansas House of Representatives' chamber.
Credit wikipedia.org

The vacant seat of Arkansas Lieutenant Governor will likely remain that way until next year. On Thursday the state House of Representatives passed SB139, allowing the Governor to not call a special election to fill a vacant Lieutenant Governor’s post if that vacancy occurs less than 10 months from a General Election. The state Senate passed the bill last week and the bill now awaits Governor Mike Beebe’s signature to become law.

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Politics & Healthcare
6:39 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

In Fiscal Legislative Session, Discussions On Private Option Go On

Arkansas Capitol
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR

The Arkansas House of Representatives again delayed a fifth vote on funding Arkansas’s private option alternative to Medicaid expansion Wednesday. It came just as the state Department of Human Services new released figures showing that 127, 051 people have been deemed eligible to receive assistance under the healthcare program, with 105,561 already covered.

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Local & Regional News
2:25 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Mike Ross Makes Bid For Arkansas Governor Official

Former U.S. Rep. Mike Ross has made his bid for Arkansas governor official by filing paperwork to run for the state's top office.

Ross filed on Wednesday to run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, vowing to follow the tradition of Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe.

Beebe was first elected governor as 2006 and is barred by term limits from seeking re-election.

Ross is the only announced Democratic candidate for governor. Former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson and Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman are seeking the Republican nomination.

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Arkansas General Assembly
6:36 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

5th House Vote On Private Option Delayed

Arkansas House of Representatives Chamber
Credit wikipedia.org

The Arkansas House of Representatives is showing more signs of a continued stalemate over reauthorizing funds for the private option. On Tuesday measures to fund the Department of Human Services Division of Medical Services were not brought up for a vote, as House leadership indicated that the chamber was still two votes shy of reaching the 75 percent supermajority to reapprove the healthcare program for poor Arkansans.

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Arkansas General Assembly
6:06 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Another Critical Vote Ahead For Arkansas's Private Option

The floor of the Arkansas House of Representatives before votes were held last week.
Credit Chris Hickey / KUAR

The Arkansas House of Representatives meets today. Lawmakers have lots of appropriation bills – which continue funding for various programs and agencies – awaiting their approval. They are all held up by the state's “private option,” its Medicaid expansion compromise.

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