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Steve Brawner / Talk Business & Politics

Steve Brawner is a freelance journalist and contributor to Talk Business & Politics.

He is also a syndicated columnist in 10 Arkansas newspapers.

You can email him at brawnersteve@mac.com or follow him on Twitter: @SteveBrawner.

The Department of Human Services has virtually erased a backlog of Medicaid eligibility cases that had reached 140,000 people earlier this year, Director Cindy Gillespie said in a letter sent to Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday (Jan. 11).

As of Dec. 30, there were 692 overdue cases. Some individuals’ applications dated back to 2014.

“Based on a review of the remaining cases, all individuals have coverage and the only work that remains is simply clean-up of case files,” wrote Gillespie, who began working in her position in March.

House Republicans reversed course Tuesday on a controversial rules change that would have replaced the independent Office of Congressional Ethics with a new office under the oversight of the House Ethics Committee.

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Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he will commit $10 million in additional funding for higher education in fiscal year 2019 – the first across-the-board funding increase for the state’s colleges and universities since 1996 and the first increase of any kind in six years.

The three candidates for U.S. Senate defended their parties’ presidential candidates and attacked the others in their first and only debate this election season.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

A $40,000 check from Verizon will enable the state to create regional and state computer coding competitions, with the winning team of three students each taking home a $2,000 scholarship award.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday (Sept. 7) the creation of the Governor’s All-Region and All-State Coding Competition during a speech at Hall High School. Hutchinson is touring 12-14 schools to promote his initiative requiring all of the state’s public high schools to teach a computer coding course.

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Hillary Clinton likely will win the presidential race, but only by 3-5% of the popular vote, while Democrats will probably take back the Senate and Republicans will maintain control of the House of Representatives.

Those were some of the observations by Charlie Cook, author of the influential Cook Political Report, during an Arkansas Economic Developers luncheon Monday (Aug. 29)sponsored by Talk Business & Politics.

The Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation is joining with the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce in opposing two medical marijuana initiatives that are likely to be on the ballot this November.