Arkansas Politics

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the state is taking over operation of seven youth lockup facilities after lawmakers rejected a disputed $160 million contract with an Indiana company.

Vincent Insalaco
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party says he won't seek another term, weeks after the general election in which Republicans expanded their majorities in the state Legislature.

Vince Insalaco said in a statement Thursday he believes it's time to move on to a new chapter in his life and wouldn't seek a third term chairing the state party. Insalaco has served as party chairman since 2013. Insalaco's term ends in 2019, but the state committee is expected to consider a proposal this weekend to allow the party to vote on a replacement in March.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday outlined details of his $50.5 million tax cut plan for the upcoming 90th General Assembly that he says will focus on reducing the tax burden for the bulk of the state’s lowest wage earners making less than $21,000 a year.

Arkansas Capitol building.
Ron Breeding / KUAR News

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has held its first meeting. The five commissioners were sworn in Monday and breast cancer surgeon Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman of Little Rock was elected chairman.

The commission is to set up rules and regulations governing cultivation and distribution of marijuana after voters last month approved marijuana use by people suffering from certain medical conditions. The commission can license between four and eight growing centers and authorize between 20 and 40 dispensaries. No county can have more than four distribution sites.

Rep. Joe Jett
Talk Business & Politics

Rep. Joe Jett of Success, who has been chairman of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, announced Friday he is switching from the Democratic to the Republican Party, meaning the only legislative committee where Democrats had a majority will become a 50-50 split.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says students hoping to learn a high-demand trade at a community or technical college can be offered full tuition and fee coverage from the state under a new proposal.

Hutchinson announced his intent to create the Arkansas Future, or ArFuture, grant at a press conference on various education-related proposals Thursday.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the Obama Administration has approved changes for Arkansas's Medicaid expansion program, though the waiver has stricter requirements than he wanted in providing assistance to employers who offer insurance for lower-income employees.

In a press conference Wednesday, Hutchinson said federal Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell called him Tuesday night, the day after they met in Washington, saying she would issue a letter Wednesday saying the waiver for the Arkansas Works program, previously known as the Private Option, would be granted.

Senate President Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and House Speaker Jeremy Gillam
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and legislative leaders have appointed the five members of a board that will develop Arkansas' medical marijuana policy.

Hutchinson on Wednesday named Little Rock breast cancer surgeon Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman to the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission. House Speaker Jeremy Gillam appointed Benton pharmacist Stephen Carroll and lawyer Travis Story of Fayetteville. Senate President Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang named former Senate chief of staff James Miller of Bryant and pain specialist Dr. J. Carlos Roman of Little Rock.

Outside the Arkansas House chamber in the state Capitol building.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Bills were filed Monday (Dec. 5) by an Arkansas legislator-elect that would outlaw “dismemberment abortions” and would dedicate funds from the 2000 tobacco settlement to assist the developmentally disabled population.

Both bills were filed by Rep.-elect Andy Mayberry, R-East End.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson took part in meetings Monday in Washington, DC that could be key for the future of his Arkansas Works Medicaid expansion plan.

First he met with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell as he seeks a needed waiver for the program, which is a successor to the state's Private Option. He then met with members of President-elect Donald Trump's transition team.

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