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Arkansas State Capitol
Wikipedia.org

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is urging the state Legislature to support his plans including a $50 million dollar tax cut for more than 600,000 low income residents. 

Hutchinson delivered the State of the State address to a joint session of the state House and Senate. He delivered the address on the second day of the 91st General Assembly. 

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson
ArkansasHouse.org

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Latest on Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson addressing the state Legislature on the second day of the 2017 session (all times local):

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A state lawmaker is seeking an end to Tennessee's firearm silencer ban in the name of "hearing protection."

Republican Rep. Tilman Goins of Morristown has filed legislation that would remove silencers from the list of weapons banned for having "no common lawful purpose." Others include machine guns, short-barreled shotguns, brass knuckles and explosive weapons.

The possession, manufacture or sale of a silencer is considered a felony under current state law.

Goins has dubbed his bill the "Tennessee Hearing Protection Act" of 2017.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is making his case to lawmakers for a legislative agenda that includes a $50 million plan to cut taxes for low-income residents.

The Arkansas General Assembly convened for its 91st regular legislative session on Monday at noon. Both the state House and Senate are firmly in the hands of Republicans. Major issues such as tax cuts and implementing the voter-approved medical marijuana program likely will be hashed out nearly entirely within the GOP's supermajority ranks.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State lawmakers convene the 110th Tennessee General Assembly on Tuesday with new leadership in the Senate and a House speaker eying a gubernatorial bid.

Both chambers featuring heavy Republican majorities are scheduled to begin their organizational sessions at noon Central.

Longtime Sen. Randy McNally of Oak Ridge is the Republican nominee to succeed Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville. Rep. Beth Harwell of Nashville is the GOP choice to stay in charge of the House, though her 40-30 nomination vote was closer than she hoped.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Eric Greitens has been many things in his 42 years, including a Navy SEAL officer, Rhodes scholar, White House fellow, charity founder, best-selling author and inspirational speaker.

On Monday, he'll begin his new life as a public servant when he is sworn in as Missouri's 56th governor during a ceremony in front of the Capitol building.

Greitens, a Republican who has portrayed himself as a political outsider, has been promising to spur economic growth and shake up the state capital.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Divisions within the Republican Party over tax cuts and questions about the launch of the Bible Belt's first medical marijuana program are expected to dominate the agenda when Arkansas lawmakers return to the Capitol this week to start their 2017 session.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican state Sen. Mark Green is the first among a bevy of potential candidates to take a formal step toward entering the Tennessee governor's race in 2018.

Green in his Registry of Election Finance filing named Bob Yates as his political treasurer. That step is required for candidates to begin raising or spending money for their campaigns.

House Republicans reversed course Tuesday on a controversial rules change that would have replaced the independent Office of Congressional Ethics with a new office under the oversight of the House Ethics Committee.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers will start the 2017 legislative session with a new ally for Republicans: Gov.-elect Eric Greitens.

Legislators will meet for the first day of session Wednesday at the Capitol in Jefferson City.

Republicans hold commanding majorities in both the House and Senate. But GOP lawmakers for eight years were checked by outgoing Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

Nixon was barred by terms limits from seeking re-election. His Republican predecessor takes office Jan. 9.

All six members of Arkansas's all-Republican congressional delegation were officially sworn in on Tuesday to convene the 115th Congress. In the U.S. House, the state's representatives all voted to support the successful re-election of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as Speaker. Only one of Arkansas's four members backed the now rescinded GOP effort to dismantle the independent Office of Congressional Ethics.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Within the next five months, President-elect Donald Trump could appoint a majority of the board for the Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation's largest government-owned utility.

Three Democratic members of the board, including Chairman Joe Ritch, are leaving the board Tuesday after the Republican-controlled Senate failed last year to confirm President Barack Obama's reappointment of the three directors, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported (http://bit.ly/2iLc2fs).

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson hasn't formally announced his plans to seek a second term, but is already raising money for his re-election bid.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/2hNx6Fc) a fundraiser for the Republican governor's 2018 campaign is set for Thursday night at the Capital Hotel in downtown Little Rock.

Arkansas State Capitol
Wikipedia.org

 

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — What a difference one election can make.

The approval of a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana and Donald Trump's surprise White House win weren't just two of the biggest political stories in Arkansas. They also upended the agenda for the upcoming legislative session and are likely to dominate Arkansas' politics in 2017.

From establishing the first medical pot program in the Bible Belt to the future of a hybrid Medicaid expansion program covering thousands, the state faces plenty of questions in the new year.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party said Thursday he won't seek another term, announcing his departure after three years that have been marked by Republicans making widespread gains in what had once been a Democratic holdout in the South.

Following the national election last month the din of news stories about news stories seems to have reached a crescendo. Academics and even online social media sites like Facebook are examining what, if anything, is an appropriate response to “fake” news stories. They’re light on facts, but no less alarming for it.

University of Central Arkansas political scientist Heather Yates studies the input human emotion has on politics. This year Palgrave MacMillan published her most recent book, The Politics of Emotions, Candidates, and Choices, but she’s been researching voter behavior since the 2004 election, focused on emotions and how they influence voters’ choices and even cognition.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The chief of staff to Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan is retiring.

Milligan said in a statement Monday that Jim Harris is retiring after serving as chief of staff since Milligan took office in 2015.

Harris said in the statement that he needs to focus on his health.

A retirement date was not announced. Harris has previously worked in both the governor's office and for the state Department of Emergency Management.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson took part in meetings Monday in Washington, DC that could be key for the future of his Arkansas Works Medicaid expansion plan.

First he met with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell as he seeks a needed waiver for the program, which is a successor to the state's Private Option. He then met with members of President-elect Donald Trump's transition team.

www.boozman.senate.gov

KASU News Director Johnathan Reaves talks with Senator John Boozman about a listener's concerns over the Affordable Care Act's repeal, the future of Social Security, and Citizens United.  He also talks about President-Elect Donald Trump's picks for cabinet positions.  Click on the Listen button.  

Kimberly O’Guinn has been appointed by the governor to one of three slots on the Arkansas Public Service Commission. The body regulates Arkansas utilities such as natural gas, electricity, water, and pipelines. Commissioners serve six-year terms.

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., gave no hints on a possible role in the upcoming Donald Trump administration in an interview that covered Trump’s potential conflicts of business interests, Iran sanctions, the lame-duck Congress, and repealing the Affordable Care Act.

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Four aldermen positions are up for grabs in runoff elections that will be held after Thanksgiving. 

In Black Oak, Daniel Carmichael faces Tim Jones for Position 1. 

In Brookland, Melinda Burcham and Martin Crain are running for Ward 3, Position 1.   

In Jonesboro, Terry Sharp faces Gene Vance in Ward 2, Position 2. 

In Monette, Tracey Yates Thompson and Kristian Nuckles are running for Ward 1, Position 2. 

White Christian Nationalist organizers, including two groups operating in Arkansas, are lauding the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency.

After the election, Thomas Robb, founder and national director of the Knights Party, a faction of the Ku Klux Klan based in Boone County, issued a press release declaring that the white voting majority has finally spoken.

“I have been saying for a long time there’s been an anger among white middle class working class America,” Robb says, “who’ve been betrayed by the political establishment.”

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Arkansas State University may not have a polling site for the mid-term elections.  Craighead County Clerk Kade Holliday says a lack of a road near the Military Science Building, and lack of parking, made it difficult for voters to cast their ballots.  

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Despite a potential voter fraud investigation by the Arkansas State Police, voters in the Shady Grove township have passed a ballot measure allowing the sale of alcohol.

The Jonesboro Sun reports voters in the township in Greene County passed the measure with almost 60% of the vote Tuesday night.

According to the Associated Press, The Sun reports that a number of voters have switched their registration from Lawrence County to Greene County leading up to the election.

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Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin holds off his five challengers to hold on to his seat for another term.  Winning with 48% of the vote, Perrin was able to defeat Harold Copenhaver, who picked up 24% of the vote to avoid a runoff.  

NPR

Today, as results come in across the country, NPR reporters will be updating this breaking news blog in real time. The NPR Politics team, along with Member station reporters, will be providing live updates in the form of photo, video, commentary and analysis for both national and local contested races.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

What do California, Nevada, Arizona, Massachusetts, Maine, Florida, North Dakota, and Montana have in common with Arkansas this election season?  In those states, voters will decide on issues revolving around marijuana.  Voters in Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota, and Montana will specifically decide on the medicinal uses for the cannabis plant. 

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

This is part 2 of a series of reports entitled "What's the Issue?"  I spoke with Craighead County Clerk Kade Holliday about the issues that are on the November ballot.  We are talking about what each issue on the ballot is and what a "for" or "against" vote means.  Issue number 3 is titled "An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution Concerning Job Creation, Job Expansion, and Economic Development" and Holliday says that this issue is a little complex.

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