Arkansas Politics

Local & Regional News
12:11 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Northeast Arkansas Voters Pick GOP Candidate For State Senate

John Cooper

Republican John Cooper has won a northeast Arkansas state Senate seat, giving Republicans an extra seat in the Legislature in a race that was viewed as an early bellwether for this year's general election.

Cooper defeated Democratic nominee Steve Rockwell and replaces Democratic state Sen. Paul Bookout.

Bookout resigned last year after he was fined by the Ethics Commission for spending thousands in campaign funds on personal items such as clothing and theater equipment.

Complete but unofficial reports showed Cooper winning 57 percent of the vote.

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Local & Regional News
3:00 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Legislature Will Meet To Discuss 2015 Budget

The finance department projects a 2% increase of about $95 million  in general revenue, available for state agencies to spend in the upcoming fiscal year. The Legislative Council and Joint Budget Committee begin meetings Tuesday to discuss the current 2014 fiscal session and the 2015 budget which goes into affect July 1st.

Representative Duncan Baird, Joint Budget Committee Co-Chairman, says the Department of Human Services will join them Thursday to discuss Medicaid and the private option.

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Local & Regional News
2:43 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Officials Consider Whether To Hold Special Election To Fill Lt. Governor's Position

With Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr stepping down next month over ethics violations, legislative leaders say there's growing support to change the law to keep his office vacant and avoid a special election to fill the post for just a few months.

Gov. Mike Beebe said Monday that he was still researching whether the law requires him to call a special election to fill the vacancy for Darr, a Republican who announced Friday he would step down Feb. 1.

Local & Regional News
2:47 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Asa Hutchinson Raises $445,000 For Arkansas Governor Bid

File photo of Asa Hutchinson speaking in Little Rock in May 2013.
Credit Michael Hibblen/ KUAR News

Former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson's campaign says he raised more than $445,000 in the last three months of 2013 in his bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

Hutchinson's campaign on Friday announced that he ended 2013 with more than $1.3 million in the bank as he seeks the state's top office. Wednesday is the deadline for candidates to file their fundraising reports for the quarter that ended Dec. 31.

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Local & Regional News
2:45 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

New Arkansas Laws Taking Effect In 2014

Several new state laws passed by the Arkansas Legislature in 2013 went into effect Wednesday.

This New Year includes the introduction of some laws which provide tax breaks and phase in income and capital gains tax cuts . Act 1459 will gradually cut rates for all income tax brackets by one-tenth of one percent by 2015. It’s been estimated to reduce annual state revenue by $55 million by FY 2016.

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Local & Regional News
7:51 am
Wed January 1, 2014

State GOP: Darr Should Quit If Charged Criminally

The chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party says Lt. Gov. Mark Darr is working to rebuild trust with the voters after admitting he was at fault in 11 campaign spending citations.

GOP Chairman Doyle Webb issued a statement Tuesday saying the party would call for Darr to leave office if he winds up facing criminal charges.

Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, is calling for Darr to leave office. Darr says through a spokeswoman that he has no intention of quitting.

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Local & Regional News
11:03 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Arkansas Governor Asks Lt. Gov. Darr To Quit Over Ethics Case

Gov. Mike Beebe speaking to reporters Tuesday at the Capitol, calling for Lt. Gov. Mark Darr's resignation for ethics violations.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR

Gov. Mike Beebe is calling on Lt. Gov. Mark Darr to resign from office, after Darr admitted to misusing thousands of campaign and taxpayer dollars.

The state Ethics Commission found that Darr likely violated ethics rules by using the money for personal expenditures, while also collecting campaign contributions that exceed legal limits. In all, Darr has admitted to 11 violations, though he refuses to resign.

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Local & Regional News
7:42 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Spokesman: Beebe Expected To Ask Darr To Resign

A spokesman for Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe says he expects the governor to ask Lt. Gov. Mark Darr to resign now that Darr has signed a settlement letter to pay $11,000 in fines to address complaints against him.

Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said Monday that he expects Beebe to request that Darr step aside given that Beebe was prepared to ask a state senator to step down in a separate ethics case last spring.

Local & Regional News
7:39 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Ethics Commission Proposes Fines To Ex-Lawmaker

A former state representative who pleaded guilty in 2012 to conspiring to commit election fraud in a scheme that included destroying ballots and for exchanging money and food for votes has accepted $2,500 in fines and letters of warning and of caution from the Arkansas Ethics Commission.

The offer to former Democratic Rep. Hudson Hallum of Marion is in a letter dated Dec. 20 that was released Monday by the commission.

Phone calls to numbers listed for Hallum rang unanswered.

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Legislative Ethics
10:25 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Darr Goes Before Ethics Commission For Spending

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr leaving a meeting of the Arkansas Ethics Commission Wednesday, saying little to reporters.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr went before the Arkansas Ethics Commission Wednesday, as a staff report was presented saying that Darr misspent more than $44,000 of campaign and public money.

After allegations were raised earlier this year, Darr self-reported violations against himself, saying he was unaware of mistakes in how the spending was handled.

The meeting was closed to the public.  Afterward, as he left with his attorney, Darr refused to say much, telling reporters "We're going to comment later."

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