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Talk Business & Politics Staff

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Talk Business and Politics

Arkansas’ two U.S. Senators joined the majority of Republican Senators who pushed back against President Donald Trump’s comments following his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But like many of their peers they did not mention Trump by name.

Brandon Tabor / KASU News

In 2016, Arkansas voters passed a constitutional amendment allowing for medical marijuana sales.  In the 21 months since its passage, legislators have adopted rules, a commission has processed applications, and the courts have dulled out legal opinions.  The bottom line is, there still isn’t any medical marijuana for sale in Arkansas, and the prospects look dim to any change in that diagnosis.   Talk Business’ Wes Brown and Roby Brock discuss the most recent Medical Marijuana Commission meeting.


Dr. Joe Thompson, CEO of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement and former Arkansas Surgeon General
Talk Business and Politics

Former Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Joe Thompson is still plenty active on a variety of healthcare topics.  He remains the CEO of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.  A recent Kentucky legal ruling has complicated that state’s work requirement for Medicaid expansion—a system that was similar to the federally approved Arkansas Works work requirement.  Talk Business’ Roby Brock sits with Thompson to discuss how the Kentucky ruling could impact Arkansas.


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

Constitutional changes, including term limits and tort reform, are likely to be on the November ballot for Arkansas voters.  Could corruption in the state legislature be a factor in either of those two issues this Fall?  Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Columnist John Brummett and Talk Business’ Roby Brock ponder that possibility.


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

In case you haven’t heard, there’s an opening that’s about to occur in the U.S. Supreme Court.  It’s rare when a vacancy exists, but Justice Anthony Kennedy said he plans to retire.  That leaves President Donald Trump with the task of selecting a new justice.  Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist John Brummett and Talk Business’ Roby Brock discuss the politics of the situation.


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

Economist Mervin Jebaraj discusses tariffs, trade, deficit growth and personal income data.


Angela Lowther, Executive Dir. of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, sitting with Paul Gatling, Editor of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal
Talk Business and Politics

Health insurance—it’s constantly a worry for business owners, and the dynamics are continually changing.  TB&P Northwest Arkansas Business Journal Editor Paul Gatling recently sat down with Angela Lowther, Executive Director of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, to find out what’s happening… in the Marketplace.


(L to R) Ray Hanley, Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care CEO; Marquita Little, Health Policy Advisor for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families; and Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics.
Talk Business and Politics

Ray Hanley with Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care and Marquita Little with Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families discuss with Roby Brock of Talk Business a new Arkansas Works study that examines how the work requirement for Medicaid will impact Arkansans.


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

UA Walton College economist Mervin Jebaraj discusses with Talk Business’ Roby Brock what’s at work in the Arkansas economy, including GDP and population shifts.


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

The primary elections in Arkansas are over.  Now, Talk Business and Politics’ Roby Brock and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist John Brummett break down the results.


(left to right) Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Rex Nelson, Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst, and Talk Bussiness & Politics' Roby Brock
Talk Business and Politics

Talk Business and Politics’ Roby Brock sits down with Stacy Hurst, Department of Arkansas Heritage Director, and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Rex Nelson.  They talk about how public-private partnerships are being created to help maintain the state’s heritage and tourist attractions.


Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Director Bishop Woosley talking with Roby Brock
Talk Business and Politics

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, a once troubled and embattled state program that was struggling with legislative oversite and declining revenues, has made a remarkable turnaround in the last couple of years.  About the only headlines you read these days are good ones about the program.  Lottery Director Bishop Woosley sits with host Roby Brock to discuss what’s been the “winning ticket” for the program’s success.


Pixabay

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.


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