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Talk Business & Politics Staff

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Trucking and transportation is a dynamic industry in Arkansas.  Accounting for about 1 in 10 jobs, the industry is a huge component of the state’s economy.  Shannon Newton, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association, has been in the middle of everything from regulatory changes to worker shortages to technological disruption.  Roby Brock of Talk Business sits with Newton to discuss what’s “shifting” the industry’s gears.


John Brummett, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist
Talk Business and Politics

Medical marijuana--will it ever launch in Arkansas?  Last week, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen went further than many thought after his temporary restraining order turned into a ‘null and void’ declaration on the state’s process for awarding 5 cultivation facilities.  Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says she’ll appeal, but the ruling has brought chaos to what was already a bit of a chaotic process for medical marijuana.  John Brummet, columnist with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, discusses this news with Roby Brock of Talk Business.


Brandon Tabor, KASU News

A March 21 ruling by Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen that essentially halted the implementation of medical marijuana use in Arkansas has been appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. It is not certain when the court will take up the case.

Adam Mitchell, president of Citizens Bank, with Roby Brock of Talk Business and Politics
Talk Business and Politics

Former Simmons Bank Executive Adam Mitchell has been named as the new president of Citizens Bank.  The Batesville-based bank has a larger-than-you-might-think-footprint around the state.  But, where does Mitchell see opportunity?  And what’s at work for community banks seeking to manage themselves in this age of financial technological revolution?  Roby Brock of Talk Business sits down with Mitchell to discuss.


Controversy has raged within the Arkansas farming community for years about the use of the herbicide, dicamba, and its impacts. The Arkansas State Plant Board allowed one formulation, Engenia dicamba, to be used during the 2017 growing season.

(Left to Right):  Rex Nelson, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Wes Brown, Talk Business & Politics; and Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics
Talk Business and Politics

Everyone needed spring break this week to recover from last week’s end of the fiscal session and three-day special session of the Arkansas Legislature.  Two gentlemen who did not take the week off are Talk Business’ Wes Brown and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Rex Nelson.  Talk Business’ Roby Brock sits down with Brown and Nelson to talk about the sessions, medical marijuana, and Governor Hutchinson’s big “smaller” idea.


Jerry Adams, CEO of the Arkansas Research Alliance, speaking with Roby Brock of Talk Business and Politics
Talk Business and Politics

The Arkansas Research Alliance is a non-profit that ties together the states 5 research institutions:  Arkansas State University, University of Arkansas School for Medical Sciences, University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, University of Arkansas-Little Rock, and University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.  Roby Brock with Talk Business and Politics speaks with Jerry Adams, CEO of the Alliance.  Adams has spearheaded the organization for 10 years.  They discuss the impact the alliance has on the state’s economy, their mission, and their future plans.


Wes Brown with Talk Business and Politics
Talk Business and Politics

Northeast Arkansas and the Delta were the big winners at last week revealing of the 5 cultivation centers that will launch to grow medical cannabis in Arkansas.  4 of the 5 cultivation facilities will be located in the Delta.  So, what happens next?  Could there be lawsuits from those dismissed?  How quickly will the centers be built and start hiring?  And, when will you be able to buy medical marijuana if you qualify in Arkansas?  Roby Brock and Wes Brown with Talk Business and Politics discuss.


(left to right) Arkansas state Senate President Jonathan Dismang (R-Searcy) & Arkansas state House Speaker Jeremy Gillam (R-Judsonia)
Talk Business and Politics

The legislative session in Little Rock is winding down.  State lawmakers optimistically think they may complete their work by week's end.  But, don't hold your breath.  The big issue holding everything up is Arkansas Works.  Are there enough votes to pass the funding bill for the state's controversial Medicaid expansion program?  Roby Brock with Talk Business and Politics sits down with state House Speaker Jeremy Gillam (R-Judsonia) and state Senate President Jonathan Dismang (R-Searcy) to find out. 


Sen. Ron Caldwell (R-Wynne) and Rep. Vivian Flowers (D-Pine Bluff) talking with Roby Brock of Talk Business and Politics
Talk Business and Politics

The fiscal session is underway in Little Rock, and the big issue for consideration is a tax cut proposal for the top earners in the state.  Governor Hutchinson proposed this during his State of the State address last week.  He wants it to go into effect sometime next year.  State Sen. Ron Caldwell (R-Wynne) and state Rep. Vivian Flowers (D-Pine Bluff) sat down with Roby Brock of Talk Business for a conversation on this proposal.

 


John Brummett, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist
Talk Business and Politics

The fiscal session has begun.  That means all eyes are on the state capitol to see if the Arkansas Works program can survive another close vote for passage, despite the loss of several "yes" votes in the Senate due to deaths and resignations.  Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist John Brummett sits down with Roby Brock of Talk Business to discuss the topic and pay tribute to longtime Parliamentarian of the House Representatives, Tim Massanelli.  Massanelli passed away last week. 


The city of Walnut Ridge is the only city in Arkansas where the Beatles ever set foot during their touring days as a band, and seven years ago Mayor Charles Snapp and a group of civic leaders wanted to commemorate the event with a festival. This year, it struck gold.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson with Roby Brock of Talk Business and Politics
Talk Business and Politics

Rising pharmacy reimbursement rates are a part of the cost structure between pharmacist, health insurance plans, and a group known as PBMs—Pharmacy Benefits Managers.  Roby Brock with Talk Business sits down with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to talk about potential legislative remedies for this seemingly dire situation as a private solution may be in the works.


Talk Business and Politics

Dr. Anthony Bland, a previously announced candidate for the Democratic nomination for Arkansas Secretary of State, said he will now run for Lt. Governor.

Bland said he was encouraged by the Democratic Party of Arkansas, his family and friends to make the switch. He also indicated that the other Democrat announced for Secretary of State, Susan Inman, was a better candidate than him.

Rex Nelson, Columnist and Senior Editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas State University

  Rex Nelson, columnist and senior editor with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, spends his days driving around the state of Arkansas talking with residents.  Roby Brock with Talk Business sits down with Nelson to talk about a variety of issues, such as the Slovak Oyster Supper, Bentonville’s 8th Street Market, the Arlington Hotel, the State of the Union, and more.


Talk Business' Roby Brock (left) with Economist Mervin Jebaraj (right)
Talk Business and Politics

We’ve been hearing a lot about the state of the State, the state of the Union, and the state of the economy.  For a review of 2017’s economic performance and projections for 2018’s, Roby Brock with Talk Business and Politics sits down with Mervin Jebaraj, economist, and Director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas’s Walton College of Business.


John Brummett, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist
Talk Business and Politics

Just around the corner is candidate filing season and we have a fiscal legislative session on the horizon.  Talk Business and Politics’ Roby Brock sits down with Columnist John Brummett with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for analysis and his latest article for TB&P’s “State of the State” magazine.


TBP Roby Brock (far right) speaking with Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Rex Nelson (far left) and State Representative Charles Blake (D-Little Rock) (center).
Talk Business and Politics

It’s the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, and race in America could not be a more timely topic on this day of remembrance.    Especially after President Trump’s controversial remarks about immigrants from African countries.  State Representative Charles Blake (D-Little Rock)--co-sponsor of legislation to separate the King Holiday from the holiday of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Rex Nelson discusses the topic with Talk Business’ Roby Brock.


Brandon Tabor, KASU News

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a directive that reversed an Obama-era policy regarding Marijuana laws.  Sessions called for justice department officials to enforce federal law regarding marijuana usage; a law which is in conflict with many states, including Arkansas, which has legalized cannabis.  Roby Brock with Talk Business and Politics sits down with attorney Erica Gee for analysis on how Session’s move will impact Arkansas’ fledgling medical marijuana industry.   


Andrew DeMillo, Associated Press; Wes Brown, Talk Business & Politics; Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics
Talk Business and Politics

2017 had no shortage of political news.  That includes several stories you may not remember due to the sheer volume of politics we saw last year.  Roby Brock with Talk Business recaps the political headlines from last year.  He’s joined with fellow TBP reporter Wes Brown and Associated Press Capitol Correspondent Andrew DeMillo.


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