KASU

economy

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.


Pixabay


  Earlier this week, Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a proclamation declaring Tuesday (March 20) as “Agriculture Day in Arkansas.” He met with state employees from the Arkansas Agriculture Department, which encompasses several boards, commissions and divisions, at their west Little Rock headquarters.

Chicot County Courthouse.  1956 Art Deco-inspired county courthouse.
Brandonrush / Wikipedia

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Recent census figures show that many of Arkansas' smaller counties shrank in population, but larger counties saw growth.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen on Wednesday declared the state Medical Marijuana Commission’s process of scoring and awarding Arkansas’ first highly-prized licenses to five pot cultivators as “null and void” under the constitutional amendment approved by voters in the November 2016 election.

EU approves Bayer takeover of Monsanto after concessions

Mar 21, 2018
Monsanto-vestiging in Enkhuizen, Netherlands
Karen Eliot / Wikipedia

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has approved Bayer's buyout of Monsanto in a massive agriculture business deal, but says they will have to shed over $7.4 billion in firms and other remedies to ensure fair competition in the market.

Pixabay

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.


Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen
KUAR Public Radio

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked the state from awarding its first licenses for companies to grow medical marijuana in response to complaints about the state's process for reviewing applications for the facilities.

Pixabay

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas regulators are receiving a flurry of challenges to the licensing of the state's first medical marijuana growers.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission announced last month the five companies that scored high enough to receive a license to grow medical marijuana. The cultivation licenses are expected to officially be issued at Wednesday's commission meeting.

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.

Pixabay

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has again rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment that would allow four casinos in Arkansas.

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 have approved the state's $5.6 billion budget for the coming year, wrapping up this year's fiscal session in four weeks.

Pixabay

NEW MADRID, Mo. (AP) — A Swiss-based company will open an aluminum smelter in the Missouri Bootheel region, creating up to 400 jobs in one of the state's most impoverished areas.

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.


Agriculture officials in Arkansas are concerned President Trump’s proposed steel tariff could have consequences that would negatively impact the industry. The administration has floated a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum

The Trump administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has at long-last made its decision to add a work requirement for certain low-income people if they way to keep getting health insurance through Arkansas’s version of Medicaid expansion, known as Arkansas Works. The announcement was made Monday at the state’s Capitol building.

CMS Director Seema Verma personally signed and hand-delivered the federal agency’s letter to Governor Asa Hutchinson granting the state’s request.

(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. 


Days after Arkansas's biennial fiscal session began last month the CSPAN bus rolled into Little Rock, and Gov. Asa Hutchinson hopped aboard. The very first question moderator John McArdle put to Hutchinson was about a balanced budget — specifically, does Arkansas have one?

"Oh, absolutely. We don’t have a deficit in this state. It’s mandated by the [state] constitution to have a balanced budget, which means that we forecast the revenues, then we spend according to that forecast, and if during the course of a year, we don’t meet forecast then we reduce spending. ... We call it the 'Revenue Stabilization' law, which is a toggle, if you will, but it makes us control spending, reduce spending as needed, to make sure it mirrors our revenue picture.  There’s a few things the federal government could learn from this."

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission announcing the first 5 applicants to receive a cultivation facility license to grow medical marijuana.
Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas took the first step Tuesday toward launching its medical marijuana program, as state regulators named the five businesses they intend to license to grow the drug.

The state Medical Marijuana Commission announced the top applications for cultivation facilities, which will grow and provide cannabis for dispensaries to sell under a 2016 voter-approved measure. The panel is expected later this year to license up to 32 dispensaries to sell the drug.

A proposal to legalize casinos in Arkansas has been revised to allow expanded gambling at a greyhound track and horse track that already offer video poker and other electronic games.

Driving Arkansas Forward submitted its proposed constitutional amendment to the state attorney general's office, which had rejected an earlier version of the proposal. The AG must certify the measure's wording before the group can begin gathering signatures to try and place it on the November ballot.

When the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration announces its five highest scoring applicants to own and operate a marijuana cultivation facility for the state's germinating medical marijuana industry, it will be a surprise to the Medical Marijuana Commission who scored the 95 applicants.

"These 95 applications were scored individually by each commissioner. They were then brought back to the Alcoholic Beverage Control office [and] turned in individually; so at this point the commissioners are also going to learn along with everyone else those top five scores," Scott Hardin, spokesman for the department, said Monday.

stock photo of freeway roads
Pixabay

SEARCY, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas highway officials have revealed plans to turn U.S. 67 into an extension of Interstate 57.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that officials unveiled six signs on Friday displaying "Future I-57."

Pixabay

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission plans to announce the first five groups that will be allowed to legally grow medical cannabis, but potential growers don't know what to make of the reveal.

Pixabay

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas lawmaker says she'll drop her push to take up the issue of pharmacy reimbursement during the ongoing fiscal session after the governor assured that her proposal will be considered in a special session.

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.

 


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - An Illinois megadonor is contributing $500,000 to the effort to make Missouri a right-to-work state.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Richard Uihlein donated the money Tuesday to a political action committee named "Freedom to Work." It's raising cash to fend off a union-led attempt to kill efforts to change state labor laws.

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.

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.

Pages