89th General Assembly

Legislative Roundup: House Committee Votes Down Increase to Minimum Wage

by Mark Carter 3/11/2013 12:00 am

Abortion and voter ID bills remained on the legislative front burner as well while lawmakers positioned themselves for the coming debate over Medicaid expansion.

Abortion Votes Risky for GOP, Democrats (AP Analysis)

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press 3/10/2013 04:32 pm

The Republican-led Legislature's override of Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of the ban on most abortions 12 weeks into a pregnancy sets up a legal fight that's almost certain, in the long run, to wind up before the nation's highest court. But Arkansas voters could deliver a verdict for their government leaders as early as next year.

Arkansas GOP Eyes Planned Parenthood Money Next

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press 3/7/2013 05:01 pm

Not content with enacting the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, Arkansas Republicans plan to press the legislative advantage their party hasn't enjoyed since Reconstruction by making it even harder for women to get abortions in the state.

In Shadow of Arkansas Law, Anti-Abortion Groups Divided Over Legal Tactics

by David Crary, The Associated Press 3/7/2013 04:14 pm

By adopting the nation's toughest abortion law in the face of certain legal challenge, Arkansas legislators have exposed sharp tactical divisions within the national anti-abortion movement.

Hundreds Attend Arkansas Medicaid Rally

by Chuck Bartels, The Associated Press 3/7/2013 02:59 pm

Gov. Mike Beebe expressed optimism Thursday that a deal can be reached to expand Medicaid in Arkansas, telling a crowd of hundreds at the state Capitol that he and Republican lawmakers were on a "positive track" in talks to provide health care coverage to more low-income residents.

Arkansas House Overrides Veto of 12-Week Abortion Ban

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press 3/6/2013 02:13 pm

Arkansas lawmakers overrode a veto Wednesday and gave the state the most restrictive abortion law in the country - a near-ban on the procedure from the 12th week of pregnancy onward that is certain to end up in court.

Arkansas House Rejects Proposed Spending Cap

by Michael Stratford, The Associated Press 3/6/2013 07:29 am

Arkansas House Republicans failed to secure enough votes Tuesday to cap the growth of government spending, a centerpiece of their legislative agenda this year.

Arkansas Senate Overrides Mike Beebe's Veto of 12-Week Abortion Ban

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press 3/5/2013 02:13 pm

The Arkansas Senate voted Tuesday to override Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of legislation that would give the state the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.

Legislative Roundup: Minimum Wage Bill Would Raise Hourly Rate by $2

by Mark Carter 3/4/2013 12:00 am

Recent headlines notwithstanding, guns and abortion aren't the only topics being debated at the 89th General Assembly. This week, business owners will be watching a bill that would raise the state minimum wage from $6.25 an hour to $8.25.

Best of Frenemies: Inside Mike Beebe and the GOP's Love-Hate Relationship (AP Analysis)

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press 3/3/2013 02:08 pm

The partnership Gov. Mike Beebe has boasted having with the Arkansas Legislature is turning more into a love-hate relationship under Republican control. They're not sworn enemies, but not exactly best friends either. They're more like frenemies.

Arkansas Legislators Seek Details on Medicaid Deal

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press 3/3/2013 02:05 pm

Republican legislators who had resisted expanding Medicaid in Arkansas say they're encouraged by a new plan that would allow funds from the federal-state program to purchase private insurance for the newly eligible, but say they need more details on how such a system would work.

Mike Beebe: Darr Signing Gun Bill Was 'Inappropriate'

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press 2/26/2013 01:13 pm

Gov. Mike Beebe criticizes Lt. Gov. Mark Darr for making secret the list of Arkansas residents allowed to carry concealed weapons, saying the Republican "embarrassed himself" by signing the legislation while the governor was out of state.

Arkansas House Rejects Changes to Prosecutor Elections

by Michael Stratford, The Associated Press 2/26/2013 07:15 am

A bipartisan group of Arkansas House lawmakers on Monday blocked a proposal to remove party politics from the election of state prosecutors.

Arkansas Lawmakers Approve Lottery Scholarship Changes

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press 2/25/2013 05:54 pm

An overhaul of the Arkansas Lottery-funded college scholarship program was given final approval by lawmakers Monday, creating a system in which award amounts increase each year for students at four-year schools.

Our World In 2013 (Gwen Moritz Editor's Note)

by Gwen Moritz 2/25/2013 12:00 am

There is nothing about the Legislature's decision to amend the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act to conceal who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon that expands or otherwise protects the individual right to bear arms. No one new gets to legally own, carry or discharge firearms. The requirements for licensure aren't changed at all by this decision to slice off a little piece of the public's right to know.

Legislative Roundup: Guns Become Automatic Issue With General Assembly

by Mark Carter 2/25/2013 12:00 am

The 89th General Assembly has yet to finish writing its chapter in the big book of Arkansas state legislatures. But if Chapter 89 were printed this week, then surely “guns” would be in the title. Legislation devoted to guns dominated the action again last week.

Social Issues Take Center Stage in Arkansas Legislature (AP Analysis)

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press 2/24/2013 05:26 pm

Despite campaign pledges to cut taxes and focus on the economy, the new Republican majority in Arkansas' Legislature has turned into a bigger boon for social conservatives than fiscal ones.

Legislative Consultant to Vet Big River Steel Project

by Chuck Bartels, The Associated Press 2/24/2013 05:12 pm

The clock is running as legislators seek information about a $1.1 billion steel plant proposed for Osceola. As of Monday, the House and the Senate have 18 working days to look into whether it would be right for the state to $125 million to help finance the project.

AEDC Submits Big River Steel Package to Carter, Lamoureux

by Mark Carter 2/21/2013 12:54 pm

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission delivered to House and Senate leaders the letter of commitment signed by Big River Steel and the state.

Arkansas House Approves Bill Making Gun List Secret

by Michael Stratford, The Associated Press 2/19/2013 02:48 pm

Over the objection of freedom of information advocates, Arkansas lawmakers on Tuesday approved legislation that would make secret the list of nearly 130,000 residents who have permits to carry concealed weapons.