Arkansas Politics

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson made it official Tuesday, announcing that he is seeking a second term in office.

"I wanted to make clear what everybody suspected, I hope, and that is that I’m running for reelection. I’m honored to serve the people of our state. We’ve accomplished a lot," Hutchinson said in an interview with KUAR. "I’ve concentrated on economic development, job creation, had some success there, and want to continue to be able to serve."

Senator John Boozman
Talk Business & Politics

Arkansas’s senior senator applauded former FBI Director James Comey’s service, but understands he was a lightning rod for the criticism that led to his dismissal. That said, Sen. John Boozman, R-Arkansas, wants a more complete explanation.

Sen. Boozman appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics. Saying he’s a “transparency guy,” Boozman said he wants a full explanation of Comey’s firing “the sooner the better.”

Members of Arkansas's congressional delegation, all Republicans, are responding to the unexpected firing of FBI Director James Comey by President Donald Trump. By mid-afternoon Wednesday, three of the six had released written statements while a spokesman for another offered a brief response. But the chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas called the situation a "constitutional crisis" and said the delegation should demand an independent investigation.

Senator Jeremy Hutchinson
arkleg.state.ar.us

State Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson will decide in a couple of weeks if he will run for re-election in what would be a contested race with Rep. Kim Hammer, R-Benton, and said he is seriously considering running for Arkansas attorney general in 2022.

In an interview Wednesday, Hutchinson said he conducted a poll ahead of his race with Hammer, and the results were encouraging. He is talking to family, friends and his law partners as he decides whether or not to run.

Bruce Westerman
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman sat down for a conversation with Talk Business & Politics Daily. He discussed the late Fourth District Congressman Jay Dickey, who passed away last week. Westerman also previewed the upcoming week of business in the nation’s capital, noting that healthcare changes are the critical driver for tax reform and infrastructure investments.

How does going to church affect your view of politics? How does the message from the pulpit influence your level of community involvement? These were central issues in a research project involving dozens of students from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the Clinton School of Public Service.

The Arkansas House of Representatives chamber.
arkansashouse.org

For the first time in the history of polling from Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College, the Arkansas Legislature received a failing grade from state voters.

The latest survey of 550 Arkansas voters conducted on April 4, 2017, shows that more voters disapproved of the GOP-controlled legislature’s performance by a 12 percentage point margin. Voters were asked:

Q: Do you approve or disapprove of the job the Arkansas Legislature did during its recently completed session?

32% Approve 
44% Disapprove 
24% Don’t Know

Donald Trump speaking at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

In the last two months, President Donald Trump has seen erosion in his job approval numbers from Arkansas voters, while Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s performance seems to have risen over the course of the Arkansas legislative session.

New polling from Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College shows a seven-point decline for Trump and a three-point rise for Hutchinson. In the survey, taken Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 550 Arkansas voters expressed their views.

Protesters in the Street
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has vetoed a bill that would have criminalized mass picketing, saying it would restrict free speech.

Hutchinson vetoed the bill on Thursday. It had been passed by both chambers of the Arkansas Legislature.

The measure, sponsored by Republican Sen. Trent Garner, defines mass picketing as people assembling for demonstrations at or near a business, school or private facility.

Arkansas finance officials say a change in corporate tax filing due dates resulted in the state's revenue in March falling just more than $50 million below expectations.

The state Department of Finance and Administration report released Tuesday says net available revenue last month totaled $345 million - $50.2 million below forecast and nearly $69 million below March 2016.

Finance officials say Corporate Returns and Extension payments that were previously due in March were shifted to April under federal and state laws.

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