Arkansas Politics

Sen. Tom Cotton faced an angry reception at a town hall forum in the Northwest Arkansas Ozarks. The crowd of 2,200 people filled the Springdale High School auditorium to capacity Wednesday to pepper the conservative Arkansas Republican with questions about everything from immigration and health care reform to President Donald Trump's ties to Russia.

University of Central Arkansas.
www.uca.edu

An Arkansas Senate committee has advanced legislation that would allow people 25 and older to carry a concealed handgun on a college campus if they undergo certain training.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday endorsed and sent to the full Senate the revised bill that requires colleges and universities to allow concealed handguns on campus.

Donald Trump speaking at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

President Donald Trump’s popularity in Arkansas has not diminished since the November election despite national polling that suggests voter attitude shifts. Meanwhile, Arkansas voters still solidly approve of the job Gov. Asa Hutchinson is doing a little more than halfway through his first term.

The Arkansas Senate on Thursday voted 21-10 to approve a resolution, SJR8, which places limitations on attorneys’ fees and a $250,000 cap on awards in injury lawsuits. The proposed constitutional amendment also transfers courtroom rulemaking authority from the state Supreme Court to the Legislature.

The measure could end up as one of three the Legislature sends to voters for consideration on the 2018 general election ballot. If passed, it would take effect in 2019.

Rep. Charlie Collins
Jacob Kuaffman / KUAR News

A bill requiring public colleges and universities to allow their faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns on campus easily advanced out of the Arkansas Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

Sponsored by Fayetteville Republican Rep. Charlie Collins, the bill, HB1249, now heads to the full Senate. It was approved by the House of Representatives earlier this month.

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A state Senate committee has advanced legislation that would leave the decision on whether to allow licensed medical marijuana dispensaries to grow their own pot up to a state commission.

The Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee on Thursday endorsed the proposal to let the Medical Marijuana Commission decide whether dispensaries that sell the drug can also grow it. An amendment voters approved last year legalizing medical marijuana allows licensed dispensaries and cultivation facilities to grow marijuana.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

State legislators are beginning to consider proposals for constitutional amendments that could eventually go to a vote of the people. Wednesday was the deadline for members of the Arkansas House of Representatives and Senate to file such proposals. In the Senate Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Thursday, lawmakers discussed two of the nearly thirty proposals filed in both chambers.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

A bill to require Arkansas political candidates file their campaign finance reports through an online system advanced out of a committee in the Arkansas House of Representatives Wednesday.

Tom Cotton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., on Tuesday (Feb. 7) introduced a bill meant to reduce legal immigration levels by 50%, which he said would increase wages earned by American workers.

According to Cotton’s office, the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act would reduce overall legal immigrants to 637,960 in its first year and to 539,958 by its tenth year, compared to 1,051,031 immigrants in 2015.

Jake Files
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Senate has approved a bill that would require Amazon and other major online retailers to collect state sales taxes. The measure passed Monday by a vote of 23-9 and now moves to the House.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Jake Files of Fort Smith, told his colleagues that Arkansas is one of only six states that don't collect sales taxes and is missing out on potential revenue.

"In 2014 it was estimated in one study that Amazon sales alone would have brought $32 million into the state, and then I've heard anywhere up to $100 million," Files said.

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