KASU

Arkansas

Arkansas State Capitol
Wikipedia.org

Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters Monday (Feb. 19) he will call lawmakers back to the State Capitol shortly after the ongoing fiscal session to pass legislation to address growing concerns on rising health costs associated with so-called PBMs, or pharmacy benefit managers.

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.

Pixabay

State Sen. Ron Caldwell, R-Wynne, and Rep. Vivian Flowers, D-Pine Bluff, both contend that a path for passage of Arkansas Works exists in this fiscal session, but both say their votes are dependent on how federal waivers will affect the program. The two Delta legislators also said they have stipulations before agreeing to any future tax cuts, such as the $180 million top income tax bracket reduction pushed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Pixabay

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' ban on the use of a weed killer blamed by farmers in several states for crop damage will remain in place after a state judge dismissed a legal challenge by a maker of the herbicide.

Aerial View of Lake Ouachita, AR, looking towards the West.
Wikipeida

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism Travel Writer Kim Williams talks about the following events happening in Arkansas during the weekend of February 23!


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - The government's own attorneys don't believe the reason given by their chief investigator for why he wiped the memory of a laptop used to gather evidence in the corruption case of a former Arkansas lawmaker.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks will issue an order later on whether to dismiss the kickback case of former state Sen. Jon Woods over the destroyed evidence.

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 State Capitol
Wikipedia.org

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - An Arkansas lawmaker says he won't push for a measure easing a requirement for concealed handgun trainers during this year's session after the governor said he supports delaying the mandate's deadline so the issue can be addressed later.

Republican Sen. Trent Garner said Thursday he'll drop his proposal removing the requirement that concealed carry instructors offer both the regular training and the enhanced training under an expanded concealed handgun law approved last year.

Pixabay

CORNING, Ark. (AP) - State health officials say people who visited a Taco Bell restaurant in northeast Arkansas may have been exposed to hepatitis A after an employee tested positive for the virus.

The health department says the affected restaurant is in Corning, about 150 miles (241 kilometers) northeast of Little Rock. The department says anyone who ate food from that Taco Bell between Jan. 24 and Feb. 7 may have been exposed to the virus, which can cause fever, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain and other symptoms.

SEARCY, Ark. (AP) - A public school in north-central Arkansas has removed Bible verses from the walls after an anonymous complaint was made to a nonprofit supporting the separation of church and state.

The Daily Citizen reports that posters displaying scriptures had been hung in the choir room of Searcy High School.

Big River Steel

This is a press release issued today:

Chicago, Illinois-February 15, 2018- Union Partners announced plans today to build a new steel processing facility on the Osceola, Arkansas campus of Big River Steel. The operations will be located directly adjacent to Big River’s Flex Mill™ and will include both slitting and multi-blanking lines in a new build-to-suit facility expandable to 258,000 square feet.  Construction will be on an accelerated schedule with a formal ground breaking in the first quarter of 2018. 

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.

Pixabay

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas has received 15 more reports of flu fatalities in the past week, raising the death toll to 140 in what's already become the state's deadliest flu season in at least 17 years.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the 15 deaths were reported to the Health Department in a seven-day span ending Tuesday. Of those deaths, 10 were 65 years or older.

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