KASU

Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Jacob Kauffman is a reporter and anchor for KUAR. He primarily covers the state legislature and politics beat while juggling anchoring Morning Edition Monday through Friday. 

Jacob is a long-time Little Rock resident who started out working with Hendrix College's KHDX and the Arkansas Legislative Digest. His work has appeared on NPR, our other wonderful public radio stations across Arkansas, PBS News Hour, TalkBusiness.net, Arkansas Money & Politics Magazine, ArkansasBlog.com, and the Nashville News. He also runs KUAR's Arkansas Politics Blog.

He regularly appears on Arkansas Educational Television Network's (AETN) weekly roundtable politics program Arkansas Week. Jacob also served on the board of the MacArthur Military History Museum. If you see him you should ask him about the experience of German-Arkansans during World War I.

Phone: 501-683-7393

Democratic gubernatorial challenger Jared Henderson tells KUAR he is in favor of an initiative to raise Arkansas's minimum wage to $11 an hour. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has yet to comment and Libertarian Mark West opposes the ballot measure, as well as the concept of a minimum wage.

The ballot item would incrementally raise the state's minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2022. It’s currently $8.50 an hour. Canvassers need to collect 67,887 valid signatures to qualify the initiative for the November ballot.

Henderson calls the gradual approach “thoughtful” and “responsible.”

Arkansas House Speaker Jeremy Gillam is resigning this month to take a governmental affairs job at the University of Central Arkansas.

The move opens up a leadership vacuum in the state legislature and is riling up democrats, who see it as a sign of a revolving door between lawmaking and lobbyist-like activity.

The Republican from White County had already announced he wasn’t running for re-election. The House will caucus June 15 to elect an interim speaker.

Arkansas is one of just a few states that is choosing to implement work-related requirements, in order for people to keep getting health insurance through Medicaid. The state also stands out for requiring that the verification process be done online.

That could mean trouble for low-income beneficiaries, who happen to live in a state with some of the worst access to the internet in the nation. The rollout of the new requirements begins June 1st.

There are two candidates for governor on the Democratic primary ballot. Both are political newcomers with different backgrounds, levels of political backing, and degrees of adherence to Democratic Party norms. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman has this report. Election Day is Tuesday, May 22nd.

An impasse over the Arkansas Treasurer’s budget is being averted in the state Legislature. After two-days of falling short of the needed three-quarters vote, lawmakers moved on Thursday to strip a contested provision, regarding a proposed tax deduction for contributions to a savings fund for private education. Representative Lane Jean spoke from the well of the House.

One of the founders of the Indivisible movement says Arkansas Democrats did a fair job of candidate recruitment compared to an anemic 2016 slate but the state party didn’t stack up as well it should have. The candidate filing period closed last week for Arkansas elections.

Listen to the full interview in the link posted above.

Co-author of the Indivisible Guide, Billy Fleming told KUAR it’s good that Democrats are running in every Congressional race and in 57 legislative seats (49 in 2016) but it pales compared to other states.

The Trump administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has at long-last made its decision to add a work requirement for certain low-income people if they way to keep getting health insurance through Arkansas’s version of Medicaid expansion, known as Arkansas Works. The announcement was made Monday at the state’s Capitol building.

CMS Director Seema Verma personally signed and hand-delivered the federal agency’s letter to Governor Asa Hutchinson granting the state’s request.

Governor Asa Hutchinson promoted the idea of teachers being armed in schools at a meeting with President Trump on Monday and called for federal terrorist-fighting funds to be redirected locally to schools. The President, who was hosting a few dozen governors during the National Governors Association annual winter meeting, indirectly responded by saying deporting gang members is part of the solution.

Grassroots electoral organizing in the Indivisible and "Resistance" strain continues to gain steam in Arkansas, with the launch this week of a new project Progressive Latinx in Arkansas Politics. Springdale-based organizer Irvin Camacho is spearheading the effort. He says the moment is right for Arkansas’s growing Latino population to become ingrained in the state’s electoral politics.

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