Mike Ross, who’s running for governor, and John Burkhalter, a candidate for lieutenant governor, plan to support each other in their Democratic primary campaigns.
In a “worst-case scenario,” as many as 4,573 fewer state scholarships will be awarded this year to children of law enforcement officials, students attending historically black colleges, older students, teachers and several other groups because of a lack of state funding, state Higher Education Deputy Director Harold Criswell said.
Senator: Attacks aren’t a surprise
Political action committees have reported spending more than $570,000 to oppose U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor’s re-election, and ads targeting him are already airing on television and radio stations across Arkansas.
State VA dangles 250-jobs carrot in bid to get donation of 20 acres for site
Wanted: More than 20 acres of undeveloped land for a future veterans home. Must be near motels, hospitals, restaurants, shopping and public transportation.
Better-than-expected income-tax and sales-tax collections in May boosted Arkansas’ total general revenue this year to nearly $5.6 billion with a month left in fiscal 2013.
After four years, the state fund that pays out unemployment benefits has a positive balance again, though Arkansas is still paying down the advance it got from the federal government to keep helping unemployed workers.
Plan for photo requirement emerges from recent law
Arkansans have one month to weigh in on rules on voter photo-identification requirements proposed by Secretary of State Mark Martin.
Road firm’s contract claim at issue
After nearly a decade of having its breach-of-contract claim rejected by the state, an Oklahoma construction company has appealed to the courts and seeks to have the way Arkansas settles its debts ruled unconstitutional.
Bloomberg group draws Pryor’s ire
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor responded to criticism Saturday of his opposition to gun-control legislation that would have stiffened background-check requirements.
Rapert says it’s unfortunate that ex-treasurer to see trial
Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe was “just as surprised” as he’d heard U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer was, about how former state Treasurer Martha Shoffner’s federal court hearing transpired Friday, Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said.
Republicans’ ex-chairman first to announce candidacy
Former state Republican Party Chairman Dennis Milligan of Benton announced Wednesday that he will run for state treasurer.
Legislators’ 56.5¢ tops state’s 42¢
Lawmakers will now receive 56.5 cents per mile to attend meetings between legislative sessions.
Cash to hire staff to enroll, explain program to people
The Arkansas Legislative Council decided to proceed with a $16.47 million federal grant Tuesday to help the Arkansas Insurance Department pay for hundreds of people to provide oneon-one assistance to the half-million people eligible to join the new health insurance exchange.
The official residence that University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff chancellors have called home for about four decades is no more.
The Arkansas Legislative Council is expected to modify its policy on lawmaker travel Tuesday as legislators plan which conferences they will attend this year.
Enrollee effort to include campaign
Arkansas will use Medicaid money to hire an additional 100 “in-person assisters” to help enroll people for coverage under the expansion of the insurance program for the poor approved by the Legislature during this year’s session, state officials said Thursday.
Approval from state legislative council needed next to tap $16.47 million
Arkansas lawmakers gave initial approval Wednesday to a $16.47 million federal grant to help enroll people in an insurance pool required by the federal health-care law.
Awaiting a federal grand jury indictment and facing calls for her resignation or ouster, state Treasurer Martha Shoffner stepped down Tuesday, effective at 5 p.m.
As state Treasurer Martha Shoffner prepared to fight federal prosecutors, a U.S. senator, the governor, the attorney general, nearly two-dozen House Democrats and both political parties called on her to step down.
Treasurer faces hearing set for today in federal court
Arkansas State Treasurer Martha Shoffner spent most of Sunday alone in a cell meant for two at the Pulaski County jail.
Although state law leaves decisions about a new veterans home to the state Department of Veterans Affairs director, the senator who helped create a task force to study a new home said veterans groups and lawmakers should also get a say.
Over past year, treasurer under bond-deals scrutiny
Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner was being held in the Pulaski County jail late Saturday after being arrested earlier in the day by the FBI.
Officials unsure what work’s left
So far, 104 Arkansas 911 systems have implemented a software program that can provide emergency responders with detailed information about the people who call seeking help during emergencies.
The Arkansas General Assembly quietly ended its 101-day regular session Friday without attempting to override Gov. Mike Beebe’s vetoes of three election bills sponsored by an outspoken Republican critic of Beebe.
While participating in a panel of lawmakers Wednesday, House Speaker Davy Carter said Republicans need to move past guns and abortion if they want to govern in Arkansas.
Construction crew hired to fix sidewalks, chipped stairs
Secretary of State Mark Martin began a $218,219 project this week to replace chipped stairs, broken curbs and cracked sidewalks surrounding the Capitol building.
Veterans groups, lawmakers, and state and federal veterans agencies have differing ideas about what a new veterans home should look like. But they all agree it needs to feel like home.
Medicaid official says errors minor
The state Legislative Audit Division questioned $1.3 million in health services in an audit of the state Medicaid program Friday because documentation was not filled out properly.
Two attempts to sell the former Little Rock Veterans Home have failed, and the state Department of Veterans Affairs is in talks with two nonprofit organizations about donating the 65-year old property or selling it at a reduced price.
Location, offerings among questions to be addressed
Lawmakers, veterans and state agency leaders began a months-long process Tuesday of choosing where to locate a new veterans home in central Arkansas and deciding for whom it will care.
Absentees, precinct size also covered
Arkansas voters will need to take photo identification with them to the polls under a new law passed by the 2013 Arkansas Legislature.
Task force set to start work
The Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs has reviewed more than half a dozen potential sites for a new state-run veterans’ home in central Arkansas, though the process to replace the crumbling, and now closed, Little Rock home has just begun.
Leaders’ chasm early on narrows as session wanes
In the longest session in 82 years and the first led by Republicans in more than a century, members of the 89th General Assembly went home last week after passing bills to provide health insurance for more than 250,000 poor Arkansans, cut taxes projected to reduce state general revenue by $235.6 million over the next three fiscal years and allow $125 million in state-backed bonds for a $1.1 billion steel mill.
The governor and lawmakers identified more than $1.7 billion in special surplus-funded projects this legislative session that they’d like to see done in fiscal 2014, although a lot of those 565 projects won’t be funded because there is only $172 million in surplus cash to spend.
The 89th General Assembly approved 1,520 of the 2,492 bills filed during the 100-day legislative session, or 61 percent.
For many, its passage was surprise
Gov. Mike Beebe signed legislation Tuesday that will let 250,000 poor Arkansans obtain private health insurance that will be paid for with federal Medicaid dollars — culminating a months-long effort that many never expected to see come to fruition.
The Republican-controlled state House and Senate on Tuesday completed action on bills increasing the state general-revenue budget by $197 million in the fiscal year that starts in July and distributing more than $300 million in surplus funds to various programs and projects.
The secretary of the Benton County Republican Party and her husband, a county GOP committee member, resigned Monday, days after placing an article in the organization’s newsletter calling for Arkansans to make “examples” of “turncoats” and “traitors” in the state Legislature who have “placed Arkansas firmly on the path to Socialism.” The article discusses the feasibility of shooting certain lawmakers and envisioned some as “bullet backstops.” The head of the county committee called the statements “abhorrent.” The Arkansas State Police reviewed the matter but determined Monday that the newsletter article and a series of purportedly threatening e-mails written by Chris Nogy of Lowell to state lawmakers weren’t serious enough to warrant an investigation, nor did a social-media message
To insure poor, state to wrestle with U.S. waivers, rules
Arkansas lawmakers completed work on legislation last week that will let more than 250,000 low-income Arkansans use federal Medicaid funds to purchase private health insurance, becoming the first state in the country to adopt the method to provide health insurance for the poor.
With the 2013 Legislative session winding to a close, the Arkansas House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved and sent to Gov. Mike Beebe more than a dozen tax cuts Friday that will reduce state general revenue by more than $90 million during the next two years.
The Senate voted 27-5 Thursday to approve placing a federally run insurance pool for Arkansans in the hands of the state.
Revised enabling bill OK’d
More than 250,000 Arkansans who make about $15,000 a year or less will be able to purchase private health insurance using federal Medicaid money under a bill that gained final legislative approval Thursday.
A bill barring state grants to entities that perform abortions or make abortion referrals failed to clear an Arkansas House committee Wednesday.
Altered enabling measures need new votes
The Senate voted 28-7 late Wednesday night to approve using hundreds of millions of federal dollars to purchase private health insurance for 250,000 low-income Arkansans, after a day of waiting and amendments.
Ten Republican representatives voted differently Tuesday on whether to give the state Department of Human Services authority to use federal funds to help 250,000 low-income Arkansans purchase private health-insurance policies.
A bill reducing the maximum weekly unemployment benefit by $126 and another measure cutting employers’ payments into the state’s unemployment trust fund failed to clear an Arkansas House committee on Monday.
Supporters and opponents laid out their case for and against providing government-funded private health insurance to 250,000 low-income Arkansans at a public meeting in Benton Monday night.
They head home to discuss plan with their constituents
Arkansas lawmakers are in the final stages of deciding whether to let 250,000 poor Arkansans obtain private health insurance that will be paid for with federal Medicaid dollars — something that is referred to at the state Capitol as the “private option.” But first, some legislators say they need to convince their constituents that the private option is the right thing to do.
Legislators get more time to confer with constituents
The Arkansas House will wait to vote on whether to authorize spending federal funds for private insurance for 250,000 poor Arkansans until Monday so representatives can speak with people in their districts, House Speaker Davy Carter said Friday.
75% threshold has Beebe, sponsors antsy
The Arkansas House voted Thursday to create a program that would allow 250,000 poor Arkansans to purchase health insurance using government funds, but it wasn’t clear whether there is enough support to authorize funding for the program.