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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on March 6, 2017, presenting his proposed changes to the state's Medicaid-expansion program, which included the addition of a work requirement.
MICHAEL HIBBLEN / KUAR NEWS

Unless there has been a rush of people this week who successfully logged on to a state website before a 9 p.m. deadline Thursday, thousands of Arkansas Works enrollees will be out of compliance with a newly enacted work requirement.

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Incoming Senate President Jim Hendren, R-Sulphur Springs, says he wants members to vote later this year to open up the Senate chamber and its committee meetings for live-streaming.

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.


The Arkansas Supreme Court today overturned a lower court's ruling, and thus, an appointed commission and a state agency may resume rollout of the state's medical marijuana program, stalled since March.

But the court's majority opinion hewed closely to a procedural consideration, and its chief justice appears to be cautioning the Medical Marijuana Commission to re-evaluate its procedures.

The whole scene may end up back in court before long, says one lawyer close to the process.

Brandon Tabor / KASU News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the way for the state to launch its medical marijuana program, reversing and dismissing a judge's ruling that prevented officials from issuing the first license for businesses to grow the drug.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

There are more opportunities for the use of alternate transportation on the campus of Arkansas State University. A ribbon cutting was held Wednesday at the site of the Pack Path’s multi use path at a bridge over Turtle Creek on the west side of campus. Chancellor Dr Kelly Damphousse said the project was made possible through a combination of federal, state and local funds.

"With the opening of  this trail, the total number of miles of Pack Paths we have on campus is about ten miles long," says Damphousse.  "These can be used for walking, riding, and running on our campus."

ADH: Possible Hepatitis A Exposure in Craighead County

Jun 12, 2018
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Little Rock, Ark. – The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is warning of a possible Hepatitis A (Hep A) exposure after an employee of the Steak ‘n’ Shake in Jonesboro, Ark., located at 2307 E. Parker Rd., tested positive for the virus. Hep A is a contagious liver disease.

(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.


Arkansans seeking a medical abortion with the aid of mifepristone or misoprostol will have to find them in another state.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week not to hear an appeal from Planned Parenthood paves the way for Act 577 of 2015, and conservatives in the state are applauding the court’s decision.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction. Arkansas is a pro-life state, and we will continue to be so,” says state Rep. Andy Mayberry (R-Hensley), president of the Arkansas Right to Life board.

Arkansas is one of just a few states that is choosing to implement work-related requirements, in order for people to keep getting health insurance through Medicaid. The state also stands out for requiring that the verification process be done online.

That could mean trouble for low-income beneficiaries, who happen to live in a state with some of the worst access to the internet in the nation. The rollout of the new requirements begins June 1st.

Justices allow Arkansas to enforce abortion restrictions

May 29, 2018
Supreme Court building, Washington, DC, USA. Front facade.
Wikipedia

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is allowing Arkansas to put in effect restrictions on how abortion pills are administered. Critics of a challenged state law say it could effectively end medication abortions in the state.

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KENNETT, Mo. (AP) — The sudden closure of a hospital has left some expectant mothers in the Missouri Bootheel region scrambling for care in an area that already has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the U.S.


An anonymous scientific survey conducted on the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville campus to measure the incidence of nonconsensual sexual contact revealed that 31 percent of women sampled reported being victims. Such contact includes campus rapes and sexual assaults as well as unwanted sexual touching.

The survey was conducted at the urging of an Arkansas legislator raising awareness about widespread sexual violence on college campuses, and that Arkansas is among more than a dozen states that do not teach comprehensive sex education in public schools — including what constitutes sexual consent.

Further illuminating the widely-reported UA survey, a female student who claims she was sexually assaulted carried around a bed sheet for weeks, raising alarm.

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Little Rock, Ark. – The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is warning of a possible Hepatitis A (Hep A) exposure after an employee of the Doublebee’s gas station in Walnut Ridge, Ark., located at 1003 Hwy 63, tested positive for the virus. Hep A is a contagious liver disease.

A recent study published by Child Trends found that 56 percent of children in Arkansas have had at least one adverse childhood experience, or ACE, compared to the national average of 45 percent. That's the highest of any state in the nation. An ACE is defined as a "potentially traumatic event, ranging from abuse and neglect to living with an adult with a mental illness. They can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being in childhood or later in life."

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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A North Texas company has recalled nearly 4 tons (3.63 metric tons) of raw beef wrongly produced and packaged without federal inspection.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the recall involves PFP Enterprises, operating as Texas Meat Packers of Fort Worth.

State and local leaders are considering how best to treat Arkansas’s opioid crisis if their coalition lawsuit succeeds against opioid drug makers and distributors.

A group of Arkansas cities and counties made national headlines when it came together last week to launch a lawsuit against 65 opioid drug makers, distributors, and others.

Colin Jorgensen is an attorney for the Arkansas Association of Counties who worked on the lawsuit. He says the case seeks a payout large enough to fix the state’s growing opioid epidemic.

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.

Cities and counties across Arkansas are joining in a state lawsuit against drug manufacturers, distributors, and other parties involved in the opioid epidemic.

The lawsuit filed last week in Crittenden County Circuit Court comes after the Arkansas Municipal League filed a federal lawsuit against 13 major drug manufacturers and distributors last December. The state lawsuit targets 65 defendants ranging from retailers to pharmacies and individual doctors.

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  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee attorney general says lawsuits by local prosecutors over the opioid epidemic are complicating his efforts to reach a multistate settlement with drug companies. In response, the prosecutors, who represent about half of Tennessee's counties, say local communities lose out when lawsuits like theirs are rolled into one settlement.

Southgate Hot Dog Chili Sauce
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee company has issued a recall of Southgate Hot Dog Chili Sauce distributed in 13 states due to mislabeling.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A federally funded study focusing on two Arkansas cities will serve as an outline for statewide efforts to reduce pedestrian deaths.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas judge said Friday he'll rule by the middle of next week on whether to allow the state to issue its first licenses for companies to grow medical marijuana after hearing complaints from an unsuccessful applicant challenging the permitting process.

Arkansas State Capitol
Wikipedia.org

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers wrapped up a three-day special session Thursday by completing work on legislation pertaining to pharmacy reimbursement rates, highway funding and college savings plans, just as Gov. Asa Hutchinson was saying he hopes such special sessions don't become routine.

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.


At the 90-year-old Coker-Hampton Drug Company in downtown Stuttgart, the pharmacist and owner of the last 25 years, James Bethea, is deeply concerned about the reimbursement rates from Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) he believes are putting small pharmacies at risk of losing their businesses.

Bethea has chosen to continue to fill prescriptions even though a recent law in Arkansas allows pharmacists to refuse a sale if it meant that they would lose money due to reimbursement rates being lower than the price of the product.

“Those are our customers, and we’re going to take care of them,” he said.

Tennessee State Capitol
Wikipedia

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's Republican-led House has passed legislation seeking federal approval to ban TennCare payments to abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, for non-abortion services.

The five companies selected to cultivate medical marijuana in Arkansas should soon be able to set up shop and begin growing. Scott Hardin, a spokesman for the state Department of Finance and Administration, said Friday that since the top companies were named last week by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, all have met their  required financial obligations.

"Over the past week we’ve been receiving the licensing fees from the companies, we’ve been receiving the performance bonds, and as of this morning, all five companies have paid," Hardin said.

Arkansas State Capitol
Wikipedia.org

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers voted Wednesday to keep the state's Medicaid expansion another year after federal officials said the state can require people on the program to work or volunteer to keep their coverage.

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