Arkansas Politics

Johnny Key and Baker Kurrus
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Department of Education has picked Bentonville's superintendent to lead the state-run Little Rock School District.

The Ethics Commission is moving forward on investigating Gov. Asa Hutchinson for a possible violation of Arkansas campaign laws.

Attorney Matt Campbell, publisher of The Blue Hog Report website, filed a complaint March 31 regarding Hutchinson’s appearance at two events from 7:30 until 11 a.m. on Feb. 29 on behalf of Sen. Eddie Joe Williams, R-Cabot, who defeated his primary challenger March 1.

Arkansas’s Junior U.S. Senator Tom Cotton was tapped by his party leadership to deliver the Republican Address this weekend. In it, Cotton touched on themes common to his tenure in the Senate—mostly criticizing the President Barack Obama’s administration for not being sufficiently tough on terrorists like the Islamic State, or ISIL, and the theocratic regime of Iran.

Arkansas House of Representatives.

A contingency budget drafted by Arkansas legislative leaders suggests cuts to various state agencies if funding for the state’s Medicaid expansion plan does not pass during the fiscal session.

The state faces a potential $122 million shortfall if the Medicaid expansion is not reauthorized for fiscal year 2017. Federal dollars available under the expansion go to fund private health insurance policies for the state’s poor. The policy was reapproved in last week’s special legislative session and rebranded “Arkansas Works." It had previously been known as the “Private Option.”

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers are taking up the funding bill for the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion, despite predictions that opponents have enough votes to block the expanded coverage for thousands of poor people.

The Senate was expected Thursday to take up the Medicaid budget bill, which includes funding for the hybrid expansion. The program uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents.

Former U.S. Congressman Ray Thornton.
Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Former U.S. congressman, Arkansas Supreme Court justice and university president Raymond "Ray" Thornton died early Wednesday, his former chief of staff says. He was 87. Thornton was in hospice care for lung cancer in Pulaski County.

The Conway native graduated from Yale University in 1950 and a few years later served in the Navy during the Korean War. Thornton then earned a law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Arkansas State Capitol building.
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers are returning to the Capitol for a session focused on the budget, with a standoff looming over efforts to block funding for the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion.

The House and Senate are scheduled to convene at noon Wednesday for the fiscal session. They're meeting less than a week after lawmakers approved Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson's plan to keep and rework the hybrid expansion, which uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for the poor.

Arkansas State Capitol building.
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Days after wrapping up a session focused on the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion, Arkansas lawmakers are meeting again to tackle the state's budget and a renewed fight over the program that is covering thousands of low-income residents.

The House and Senate are set to convene Wednesday for an abbreviated fiscal session where they'll work on the state's budget for the coming year. Part of the session will include a fight with opponents of the hybrid expansion who have vowed to block its funding.

Floyd Donald / Lawrence Walker

A Little Rock attorney has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against a Jefferson County Election commissioner.

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Lawrence Walker, alleges that Jefferson County Election Commissioner Stuart "Stu" Soffer failed to honor Walker’s Freedom of Information Act requests.

U.S. Senator John Boozman in the Republican Party of Arkansas headquarters.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Republican Sen. John Boozman says a meeting with President Barack Obama's U.S. Supreme Court nominee didn't change his opposition to filling the high court vacancy this year.

The Arkansas senator said he met with federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland Tuesday for about 20 minutes, and remained opposed to moving forward with the nomination before the next president takes office.