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Arkansas' Crawford named to House Intelligence Committee

It's likely over 2,000 bills will be filed during this legislative session and just over 300 have been filed so far. Legislation impacting special elections, a Blue Ribbon taxes task force, executions, and hand guns were filed on Wednesday.

KUAR will be keeping track throughout this legislative session. A round-up from Wednesday includes:

The Department of Human Services has virtually erased a backlog of Medicaid eligibility cases that had reached 140,000 people earlier this year, Director Cindy Gillespie said in a letter sent to Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday (Jan. 11).

As of Dec. 30, there were 692 overdue cases. Some individuals’ applications dated back to 2014.

“Based on a review of the remaining cases, all individuals have coverage and the only work that remains is simply clean-up of case files,” wrote Gillespie, who began working in her position in March.

The Arkansas House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a resolution doing away with a seniority system for committee assignments.

pixabay.com

The 91st General Assembly has convened in session and the next several weeks are expected to be very busy.  Lawmakers are being assigned to committees and hundreds of bills are being filed at a rapid pace.  

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A joint convention of the Tennessee General Assembly has approved new terms for three constitutional officers.

On Wednesday, lawmakers elected Secretary of State Tre Hargett to another four-year term, while Comptroller Justin Wilson and Treasurer David Lillard will serve two-year terms.

All three were first elected in 2009 after Republicans took control of the Legislature from Democrats.

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.

Mark Smith, KASU

In this congressional interview, KASU News Director Johnathan Reaves talks to US Senator John Boozman about this week's Senate confirmation hearings, Obamacare and his priorities in his second term.  Click on the Listen button to hear the entire interview.  

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.

Wikipedia.org

This is an interview between KASU's News Director Johnathan Reaves and U.S. Representative Rick Crawford about several topics, including the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.  Click on the "Listen" button to hear the interview.

Wikipedia

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.

Pixabay

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.

Arkansas State Capitol
Wikipedia.org

  This is Governor Asa Hutchinson's weekly address as he talks about the legislative session that starts Monday:

This week, the State Capitol was buzzing as the final days of preparation before the upcoming legislative session came to an end. Monday, January 9, 2017 will mark the beginning of the 91st General Assembly of the Arkansas State Legislature.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he expects a tougher fight over his $50 million tax cut plan than what he encountered two years ago when he won approval for a much larger reduction for thousands of middle-income taxpayers.
 
In an interview Thursday with The Associated Press ahead of the legislative session, Hutchinson said he wouldn't support rolling back a grocery tax cut enacted in 2013 to help pay for a larger tax cut. The Republican governor has proposed cutting taxes for thousands of low-income residents.
 

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.

Pixabay

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Prosecutors say an Arkansas lawmaker set to leave office next week has pleaded guilty to conspiracy for arranging bribes while he was a member of the state House.
 
The U.S. Attorney's office says 42-year-old Republican Rep. Micah Neal of Springdale pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. A sentencing date was not announced.
 
A phone call to a number listed for Neal was not immediately returned.
 

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.

Governor's Radio Column: Looking Back On 2016

Jan 4, 2017

The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's last radio column of 2016:

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.

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.

 

More than three dozen organizations have accepted invitations to take part in the inaugural parade after President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in Jan. 20, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced. More than 8,000 participants will represent the various groups. A list of the organizations:

— 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment, Fort Hood, Texas

— 1st Infantry Division Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard, Fort Riley, Kansas

— Boone County Elite 4-H Equestrian Drill Team, Burlington, Kentucky

governor.arkansas.gov

UPDATE 1/6/17:  Due to Inclement Weather, the Political Animals Meeting has been canceled today. 

DELLWOOD, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens has named leaders for his public safety team.

Greitens announced Monday that Drew Juden, director of public safety in Sikeston, will be his director of public safety. Greg Favre, command staff officer for the St. Louis Fire Department, will be deputy director.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Ethics and right-to-work bills are among the top priorities for Missouri Republican legislative leaders and GOP Gov.-elect Eric Greitens.   Lawmakers return Wednesday to the Capitol for the roughly five-month 2017 session.   Republicans hold supermajorities in both chambers but have been checked by outgoing Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. He was barred by term limits from seeking re-election.   Greitens might be a closer ally to GOP lawmakers.

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.

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