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

The ever-increasing Republican majority in Arkansas has a shot a passing some legislation that a toehold of Democrats managed to hold-off, or at least mitigate on occasion in the last session.

A three-term Democratic state Representative - who was unopposed in the past two elections - is switching parties and thus giving Republicans a supermajority in the Arkansas House. State Representative David Hillman of Almyra made the announcement on Tuesday.

Arkansas voters approved medical marijuana earlier this month and the governor says he’s open to seeing if the voter-approved tax structure should be changed in January’s legislative session. Speaking to reporters at the state Capitol on Monday, Governor Asa Hutchinson said he hasn’t yet made up his mind on new taxes or shifting where marijuana revenue should go.

Governor Asa Hutchinson is continuing his push to find so-called efficiencies in state government with a pair of re-organizing proposals for the legislative session beginning in January. At a press conference on Monday, the Republican governor announced he wants to move the Office of Energy from the state Economic Development Commission to the Department of Environmental Quality and to reduce the number of Criminal Detention Facilities Review Committees from 28 to eight.

Hutchinson said moving the Office of Energy out of AEDC is a move for “mission alignment.”

Kimberly O’Guinn has been appointed by the governor to one of three slots on the Arkansas Public Service Commission. The body regulates Arkansas utilities such as natural gas, electricity, water, and pipelines. Commissioners serve six-year terms.

Arkansas’s unemployment rate is up, though not by very much. The state also still rests below the national average in the September report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

After three months of flat unemployment numbers Arkansas’s rate ticked up from 3.9 percent in August to 4 percent in September. 

Arkansas Agriculture officials are expanding a quarantine area to protect against the spread of an invasive beetle but say mass devastation of the state’s ash trees may only be a matter of time. Eight more Arkansas counties, including Pulaski, were added to the state’s quarantine list this week. The number of counties under quarantine is now at 21. Another 12 counties have confirmed sightings of the Emerald Ash Borer.

For the third straight month Arkansas’s unemployment rate is holding steady at 3.9 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ August report. It is a full point below an also flat nationwide unemployment rate.

Governor Asa Hutchinson is staying neutral for now but says he’ll likely reveal his position on a ballot issue to limit damages awarded in medical injury lawsuits before the election. 

Arkansans very well may have two medical marijuana ballot measures to vote on in November, with the battle firmly immersed in both political and scientific debates

A bus fatally crashed in Louisiana this weekend while transporting immigrants in the country illegally to a job center owned by a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives.

Pages