Arkansas Politics

Republican Attorney General-elect Leslie Rutledge at KUAR during the 2014 May Primary run-off.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Outgoing Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced on Tuesday his intent to appeal a federal judge in Little Rock's decision striking down Arkansas's ban on same-sex marriage. McDaniel said he had hoped the state Supreme Court would have ruled, suggesting it may have affected his decision to appeal, before Friday's deadline for a federal appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, Missouri.

KUAR's Jacob Kauffman spoke with the state's next attorney general, Leslie Rutledge, who will take McDaniel's position and the cases on same-sex marriage in mid-January.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson announced on Monday that he wants to raise the pay of the state’s chief economic developer to attract a high-caliber candidate in a nationwide search. Hutchinson also named two appointments to top state agency positions.

Speaking at a press conference at the Capitol, Hutchinson said he’d come to the conclusion compensation needed to be adjusted for the next director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission after consulting with industry leaders.

Governor Mike Beebe Portrait
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

After more than three decades in elected office, outgoing Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe is already considered a fixture at the state Capitol. Now he's made it official. On Friday, Beebe unveiled his portrait which will hang in the Governor’s Conference Room.

"Alright, here we go," Beebe told the crowd before he and artist Ovita Goolsby pulled off a cloth covering the 42 by 50 inch oil painting. It shows the governor leaning back in a chair, left hand under his chin, with a slight smirk. 

Gov. Mike Beebe
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The portrait for outgoing Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe will be unveiled at the state Capitol.

Beebe on Friday planned to host the unveiling of his official portrait, less than a month before he's set to leave office due to term limits. The Democrat was first elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2010.

Beebe announced earlier this year that he had chosen Garland County art instructor Ovita Goolsby to paint his portrait.

(left) Chair Larry Ross and (right) Vice Chair Chuck Banks talking after the first meeting of the Independent Citizens Commission.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A commission charged with reviewing salaries and reimbursements for elected officials met Thursday for the first time and promised a cautious and deliberative approach. 

Some members of the commission – authorized by voters in Issue 3, the ethics and term limits amendment - say its first report is unlikely to contain any salary recommendations for legislators, constitutional officers, or judges.

Governor elect Asa Hutchinson's recent announcement that he will appoint State Representative Allen Kerr to be Arkansas's next Insurance Commissioner could weigh significantly on the fate of Arkansas's Private Option.

With a Legislative session less than a month away, speculation about what will become of the private option hasn't included a specific plan from anyone, but there is wide-felt certainty that the new administration will bring changes.

Fayetteville's City Council in an August meeting on an anti-discrimination ordinance.
Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF

An alderman in Fayetteville is ready to try again to put an anti-discrimination ordinance in place but a state senator in northwest Arkansas hopes to strip Fayetteville, and local governments statewide, from having the authority to pass such ordinances. 

Earlier this month voters in Fayetteville narrowly chose to repeal an anti-discrimination ordinance designed to provide protection and recourse in housing, employment, and public accommodations to historically discriminated against populations - including LGBT people.   

Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday that State Rep. Allen Kerr, R-Little Rock, will serve as Insurance Commissioner in his administration replacing current commissioner Jay Bradford.

Hutchinson also announced that Sheila Sharp will remain as director for the Department of Community Correction. A spokesman for Hutchinson confirmed that Heath Abshure will not remain as director of the state Securities Department.

(left) AFHC Exec. Dir. Carol Johnson testifying to Leg. Audit - State Agencies in November.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Arkansas Fair Housing Commission is facing scrutiny for purchasing an advertisement in 2013 for a Democratic Black Caucus publication. Lawmakers moved forward Monday with plans to involve the state’s attorney general after reviewing an assessment of the commission.

Tom Cotton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Incoming Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton will be serving on the Banking and Armed Services committees when he takes office next year.

Senate Republicans on Monday announced their committee appointments for next year, when the GOP will hold a majority of seats of the chamber. Cotton, an Army veteran who is currently a congressman representing south Arkansas, defeated two-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor last month.

Cotton was also named to the Joint Economic Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Special Committee on Aging.