Arkansas Politics

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.

Former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel says a complaint filed by liberal blogger and attorney Matt Campbell to the state ethics commission could have epic political ramifications.

prison jail department of correction
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

A new study on how and when states put criminals in prison shows Arkansas falling in the middle for severity of punishment, with a ranking of 20th nationwide.

Yet PEW Charitable Trusts Director Adam Gelb said that’s based on 2013 data, before the Arkansas Board of Correction changed parole rules that sent thousands of newly released inmates back into prisons.

Arkansas Department of Education Building in Little Rock near the state Capitol building.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A 3,000 student expansion of the eStem and Lisa Academy charter schools will come before the State Board of Education Thursday night.

Little Rock School District Civic Advisory co-chair Greg Adams told KUAR he hopes board members will consider how this growth could hurt the LRSD.

"To me, it's their responsibility to really look at the whole picture," he said.

Talk Business and Politics

As state lawmakers prepare for an April 6th special session to consider the fate of the governor’s health care reform program, Arkansas Works, two state lawmakers say there are multiple issues to address to secure the votes needed for passage.

Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Little Rock, and Rep. Clarke Tucker, D-Little Rock, appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics to explain how Republicans and Democrats may be persuaded to support the Medicaid expansion plan.