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Politics

Arkansas voters oppose a Republican effort to repeal Obamacare immediately and wait two years to find a replacement plan.

Arkansas voters are relatively split on President Donald Trump’s campaign ties to the Russian government, but a majority are not ready to impeach him over the matter or call for his resignation at this time. That's according to a new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey that shows voters are keenly aware of the issue.

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton is in favor of a Republican plan for a straightforward repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. Both of Arkansas's Republican senators, Cotton and John Boozman, have long favored ending the Affordable Care Act, but neither has spoken publicly about the now-flopped repeal and replace plan.

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Arkansas’s congressional delegation is returning to Washington D.C. following a July 4th recess and the state’s U.S. Senators are as tight lipped as ever about the GOP’s stalled bill to end much of the Affordable Care Act.

Does Senator Tom Cotton support the healthcare plan he helped draft with 12 other white male Republican Senators? Does Senator John Boozman support the plan backed by the majority of his party? These are basic questions Arkansans don’t have answers to.

Arkansas Secretary of State's Office

In June of 2017, U. S. Representative Rick Crawford (R-Jonesboro) told Roby Brock during an interview on Talk Business and Politics that he plans to run again in 2018.  Like 2016, Crawford may have a challenger.  Unlike 2016, Crawford's challenger may be a Democrat rather than a Libertarian.  A Democrat who calls himself a "semi-retired cattle rancher."

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is recommending Arkansas not provide all voter information requested by the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. President Trump set up the commission to investigate claims of voter fraud in November's presidential election.

In a statement Wednesday on Twitter, Hutchinson said he has spoken with Secretary of State Mark Martin and concluded the request is "too board and includes sensitive information" about Arkansas voters.

As Republicans in the U.S. Senate near completion of an initial bill that could vastly alter or replace Obamacare, a  group of demonstrators gathered outside the Victory Building in Little Rock. They delivered the offices of Republican Senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman each about a thousand post cards from residents in the state. The cards, collected by activists with Arkansas Community Organizations and the group Health Care for America Now, ask the Senators to preserve Medicaid expansion and other benefits made available through federal health law. 

On Capitol Hill Wednesday morning, two Arkansas congressmen joined their colleagues in questioning intelligence officials on foreign attempts to compromise American voting systems in the 2016 election.

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An intramural battle among Republicans for a coveted state senate seat has sparked in northern Arkansas. State Rep. James Sturch, R-Batesville, will muster a primary challenge to incumbent State Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, R-Pocahontas, for the District 19 seat.

Sturch, a Southside native and certified social studies teacher, began his career in public service 15 years ago when he worked on former Gov. Mike Huckabee’s re-election campaign.

U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin in early June pronounced the American veterans health care system to be in “critical condition.” 
 
One northwest Arkansas VA hospital, however, appears to be thriving, and that prompted U.S. Rep. Steve Womack (R-3rd District) to invite Shulkin to take a look.

After an early morning tour of the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville Monday, Shulkin, at a press conference on the grounds, characterized the forested campus facility as extraordinary.

 
 “It is a five-star facility. That means it is the very top of performance across the country in VA’s.”
 

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are returning to the Capitol for a special legislative session on abortion.

For the fourth consecutive election cycle, the Libertarian Party of Arkansas plans to deliver petitions to the Arka

Suit seeks to halt Missouri's voter ID law

Jun 9, 2017
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Two civil rights organizations are suing to stop Missouri's new voter ID law, with their attorneys calling it a gimmick designed to block people from voting.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Advancement Project. It seeks to stop implementation of the law before a special election on July 11 for the St. Louis aldermanic seat left vacant when Democrat Lyda Krewson was elected mayor.

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Former FBI Director James Comey is testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence this week, speaking publicly for the first time since he was fired by President Trump nearly a month ago. The Senate Committee is looking into the circumstances around Comey's dismissal and how they relate to the FBI investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. Election. The White House has given conflicting messages about the reasons for Comey's firing. Sources close to Comey say the President told Comey to shut down the Russia investigation. That's a charge that the White House denies.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Marsha Blackburn has confirmed she will seek another term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/2rIGLi8) that Blackburn's bid for a ninth term puts an end to speculation in some circles that she might instead try to run for statewide office next year.

Talk Business and Politics

Despite objections from world leaders, big business, Democrats, and people within his party and family, President Donald Trump announced Thursday (June 1) he’s removing the U.S. from the historic Paris Climate Accord.

It means the U.S. will join Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries not participating, and Nicaragua didn’t join because officials didn’t think the agreement went far enough to protect the environment.

“I was elected to serve the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Trump said unapologetically during a press conference on the White House grounds.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's recent special legislative session cost taxpayers more than $66,000.

Gov. Eric Greitens called lawmakers into special session to authorize discounted electricity rates for a steel-works facility and aluminum smelter that are considering opening near the southeastern Missouri town of New Madrid.

Lawmakers passed the legislation in one week, and tried to hold down costs by coming to the Capitol in Jefferson City only on the days when votes were scheduled.

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft says the state won't have free identifications required by a new state law ready in time for a special election in July.

But Ashcroft says provisions in the law, which took effect Thursday, will allow every eligible voter to cast a ballot.

A state constitutional amendment approved by Missouri voters last November requires photo IDs for voting, with some exceptions. Voters without proper identification can cast provisional ballots.

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., says in theory he’s okay with Jared Kushner’s possible communications with Russian officials and with President Trump’s signals to the Middle East and Europe, but he questions the sources that are leaking information to the media.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican state Sen. Mark Green says he has made up his mind about whether to rejoin the governor's race in Tennessee, but he doesn't want to make his decision public until later this week.

The Ashland City physician suspended his gubernatorial campaign while seeking confirmation as President Donald Trump's pick for Army secretary. He withdrew from consideration for that position amid bipartisan criticism about his past comments on LGBT issues and Muslims

The U.S. Senate plans to spend the summer writing health care legislation to repeal, replace, or tweak the Affordable Care Act. The House has passed a bill that congressional analysts say would reduce the deficit and cut 23 million people from their insurance. Arkansas Public Media’s Sarah Whites-Koditschek spoke with Senator John Boozman about his goals for health care.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Businessman Randy Boyd will happily talk at length about his role in creating Tennessee's free community college tuition program and his plans to attract more companies to the state and cut regulations to keep others from leaving.

But he's less eager to discuss the crowd of candidates likely to join him in the Republican field seeking to succeed term-limited Gov. Bill Haslam next year.

So far they include multiple state legislators, a businessman and a congresswoman, and there could be more.

U.S. Senator John Boozman is applauding President Trump’s immigration enforcement budget proposals, but is cautioning that other parts of the Homeland Security budget are “unworkable.” The Republican senator convened his first meeting as chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security on Thursday.

Boozman praised increases in spending for border patrol agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to speak with Tennessee law enforcement officials about efforts to fight violent crime, nearly two weeks after he said prosecutors should bring the toughest charges possible against most suspects.

Sessions' speech is set for Thursday morning in Memphis, a city beset by gang activity, drug crime and gun violence.

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