Arkansas Politics

U.S. Rep.-elect French Hill (R-2nd Dist.)
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Kauffman: I’m joined by central Arkansas’s Congressman-elect French Hill. Thanks for coming down.

Hill: My pleasure, good to be with you.

Committee Assignment

Kauffman: It’s not quite final yet, but you’ll be taking your seat next month and you’ve already received a committee assignment – and it’s an important one. You’ll be dealing with housing, banks…names like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

State Rep. Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville)
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Voters in Fayetteville next week will decide the fate of an anti-discrimination ordinance designed in large part to protect the city’s LGBT population. Fayetteville’s city council approved the measure – the first of its kind in Arkansas - in August and a petition process for its repeal began immediately after. Signature gathering was successful and the ordinance is up for a repeal vote December 9.

Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson is keeping Candace Franks as commissioner of the Arkansas State Bank Department.

The incoming Republican governor announced Thursday that he was keeping Franks, who has been the commissioner since 2007 when Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe appointed her. Franks has been with the department for 35 years.

Franks said in a statement released by Hutchinson's office that she had agreed to stay in the position.  Hutchinson praised Franks' work at the department as "exemplary."

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

In January, the 90th General Assembly will convene with large Republican majorities in the Arkansas House and Senate as well as a full slate of GOP constitutional officeholders, including Gov.-elect Asa Hutchinson.

Rep. Jeremy Gillam (R-Judsonia) is the Speaker-elect and will preside over the House of Representatives. The House Speaker is the most powerful leadership position in the chamber and has the authority to appoint chairmen and vice-chairmen to various House committees.

State Senate President Pro Tempore Jonathan Dismang (R-Beebe)
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Elected state officials are one step closer to a change in salary after the Governor, House Speaker, Senate President Pro Tem, and Chief Justice appointed seven commissioners to a salary study commission Wednesday. Arkansas voters approved the body in November as part of the lobbying and term limits amendment, Issue 3.

President Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang (R-Beebe) says he is purposefully unaware how his appointees feel about existing salaries for legislators, constitutional officers, and judges.

Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson is asking Arkansas' largest farming advocacy group to support his proposal to cut income taxes for the middle class by $100 million.

The incoming Republican governor asked members of the Arkansas Farm Bureau to support the proposal as the group met Wednesday at its annual convention in Hot Springs.

Hutchinson was elected last month after running primarily on the tax-cut vow. He told the farming group he supports existing tax exemptions for agriculture but said the state needs to look at broader changes to its tax code.

Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson named has Bill Bryant, formerly of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, as the new director of the Arkansas State Police. Bryant is a resident of Little Rock.

Stan Witt, the current director of the state police, announced yesterday that he would not be retained in the post.

Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson has told the head of Arkansas State Police that the agency will have a new director after Hutchinson takes office next year.

Col. Stan Witt told employees Tuesday that Hutchinson had told him that he won't be staying on as director of State Police when the new governor is sworn into office in January.

A spokesman for Hutchinson confirmed that Hutchinson didn't plan to keep Witt as ASP director. Hutchinson has not announced who he'll name as Witt's replacement.

Regnat Populus Chairman Paul Spencer
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Arkansas Attorney General’s office is considering the wording of campaign finance reform proposal that one grassroots group would like to get on the 2016 general election ballot. The ballot question was submitted Monday.

KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman sat down with the Chairman of Regnat Populus, Paul Spencer, at a bakery in Little Rock and asked him what the proposal seeks to change about elections.

Republican Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson speaking in the Capitol Rotunda.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson cautioned Arkansans to not seek premature conclusions about his decision Tuesday to seek a new Surgeon General for his administration. The sitting Arkansas Surgeon General Joe Thompson is an advocate for the state’s version of Medicaid expansion – the private option – and has served in the position since 2007.

Speaking to reporters at the Capitol Governor-elect Hutchinson said the decision is about getting a new set of eyes to evaluate the private option.