Arkansas Politics

Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) discussing changes to eligibility verification for Medicaid in the Governor's Conference Room at the Capitol in early August.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas’s move to pare down its Medicaid rolls is hitting pause, for two weeks, as the Department of Human Services tries to catch up to a backlog of responses from residents trying to verify incomes.

Governor Asa Hutchinson announced on Tuesday he is ending a hiring freeze at DHS and paying for overtime until the determination effort can be brought up to speed.

Arkansas Nuclear One Entergy power plant

Arkansas’s top elected officials, all Republicans, are roundly denouncing the finalized Clean Power Plan announced Monday by President Barack Obama’s administration as an expensive overreach of authority, while health and environmental advocates are praising the Environmental Protection Agency rule as a needed step to combat climate change and adverse health impacts tied to coal energy production. Meanwhile, the state's governor is calling for a plan of compliance to be developed despite his opposition to the federal rule.

2016 GOP presidential primary candidate Mike Huckabee.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee appears likely to be polling well enough to be on the 2016 GOP presidential primary debate stage next week barring any drastic swings through the weekend.

A short-term highway bill and a bill revamping the Department of Veterans Affairs is on its way to the Senate, as House members overwhelmingly approved both bills Wednesday.

The House voted 385-34, with one present, (H.R. 3236) on the highway bill and 256-170 (H.R. 1994) on the VA bill.

Reps. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, French Hill, R-Little Rock, Steve Womack, R-Rogers, and Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, voted yes on both bills.

According to a summary of the highway bill, the $8 billion measure would fund highway programs through Oct. 29, 2015.

Doyle Webb
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party paid a visit to Jonesboro Tuesday night, to rally his political troops and talk about the 2016 campaign.

Doyle Webb spoke at the Craighead County Republican Committee monthly meeting about a variety of issues involving next year’s election cycle.

The ballot in 2016 features a race for President, a United States Senate seat, four United States House seats, 100 state House and 17 state Senate races as well as countless county races.

Governor's Working Group on Highway Funding
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The head of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department and the state's senior U.S. Senator are disappointed with the apparent inability of Congress to pass a long-term highway funding bill. 

With the Highway Trust Fund set to run out of money at the end of the month, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are likely to approve only a three-month extension, rather than a six year deal that many, including Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas, had been pushing for.

Democratic Party of Arkansas Chair Vincent Insalaco in his office in Little Rock.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The head of the Democratic Party of Arkansas is considering a name change to the annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. Party Chair Vincent Insalaco told KUAR on Tuesday that the two former Presidents, with ties to slavery and Indian removal, don’t always live up to modern standards.

The number of Arkansans deemed eligible for health care coverage through the state’s expansion of Medicaid – known as the private option – continues to tick up, rising to 259,335 in June. That’s up 4,586 people from May according to information released by the state Department of Human Services on Monday.

Web surfers who type in will be redirected to an LGBT chatroom by an Arkansan who says he’ll use the domain name in the next election to discuss Hutchinson’s record on gay rights.

Mike Huckabee (right) talks with Arkansas's GOP Chair Doyle Webb (left) at the tail end of the 2014 election cycle.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Nearly a dozen Arkansas lawmakers are in San Diego this week at an annual national convention of conservative state legislators hosted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. The organization, which has strong funding ties to energy magnates David and Charles Koch produces model legislation on a slate of issues for lawmakers to take back to statehouses.