Arkansas Politics

House Speaker-designate Jeremy Gillam (R-Judsonia).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives will talk to members of the Central Arkansas Political Animals Club later this month. Rep. Jeremy Gillam, R-Judsonia, will be the March 17 speaker at the Central Arkansas chapter of the Political Animals Club in Little Rock.

The meeting will be at the Little Rock Club on the 30th floor of the Regions Bank building on West Capitol Avenue.

asa hutchinson tim griffin common core
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin is supporting a lawmaker's push for his office to no longer be a separate elected position and instead have the state's No. 2 constitutional officer appear on the ballot as the governor's running mate.

Griffin said Tuesday he supports a proposed constitutional amendment to have two people run jointly rather than appear separately on the ballot.

The proposal by Republican Rep. Julie Mayberry would take effect in the 2022 election if placed on the ballot next year and approved by voters.

Leslie Rutledge attorney general
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says she will testify before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee.

Rutledge announced Tuesday that she has accepted an invitation to testify Thursday before the Oversight Subcommittee on the Interior and will discuss U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations and the impact of those regulations on the states.

Rutledge said in a statement that "the EPA continues to pile on burdensome regulations" that she says harms Arkansas' existing industry and makes it difficult to attract new industry.

Average Fluoridation Levels By County
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Fluoride in drinking water would no longer be required under a bill passed by the Arkansas House Thursday. Representative Jack Ladyman (R-Jonesboro) sponsored the legislation allowing local water authorities, serving over 5,000 people, to opt-out of a 2011 fluoride requirement. Ladyman questioned the validity of science that concludes fluoride is beneficial to dental health.

“All the science, the data, the studies related to the subject should be reviewed, studied, and vetted. I also believe that this vetting process should be made by the people at the local level,” said Ladyman.

A recent decision by a federal district judge in Texas to issue an injunction, blocking President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration has drawn praise from Arkansas’s chief legal officer and criticism from one of the state’s leading immigrants’ rights groups.

asa hutchinson tim griffin common core
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A task force is being created to study Common Core education standards in Arkansas. Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday he will form a 16-member council led by Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin to ensure the state’s public schools aren’t weakened by conforming to federal expectations.

Hutchinson, a Republican who promised such a review while running for governor, said they will have key goals to evaluate the guidelines. 

With state lawmakers and Gov. Asa Hutchinson having deflected the rancorous debate regarding the Private Option we’ve seen in recent years, the issue still has a long way to go in terms of public opinion.

Hutchinson and legislative leaders have successfully secured future funding the Private Option and created a task force of 16 lawmakers to provide recommendations for a future program that may enact larger health care reforms.

Last month, Talk Business & Politics announced a new collaboration with our long-running survey partner, Hendrix College, and Little Rock-based Impact Management Group. During the next year, the three groups will work on a variety of traditional and experimental polling in an effort to gauge developing techniques in the field.

Our first survey in this collaboration involves landline polling with Internet polling for a look at the job approval ratings of several Arkansas politicians and the state Legislature.

An Arkansas House panel has endorsed a proposal that would clarify how control of county election commissions is determined in the event neither party holds a majority of statewide offices.

The Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus is backing a lawmaker's repeat attempt to stop the state from recognizing Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. on the same day.

A House panel rejected the plan last week.

Republican Rep. Nate Bell of Mena met with the 15-member caucus on Monday. He said afterward he will run his bill again, but doesn't know when he will do so.

Arkansas is one of three states that celebrates Lee and King on the same day. Bell's bill would remove Lee from the state holiday on the third Monday of January.