May 20, 2016 •

Arkansas State Supreme Court Rejects Ethics Initiative Lawsuit

The state Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit requiring Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to approve language or offer an alternative to Attorney David Couch’s ethics initiative for the November ballot. Couch is unlikely to submit a new proposal since state law […]

Arkansas Supreme CourtThe state Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit requiring Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to approve language or offer an alternative to Attorney David Couch’s ethics initiative for the November ballot.

Couch is unlikely to submit a new proposal since state law would require statewide notice to be published by June 8, with language preapproved by Rutledge.

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May 19, 2016 •

Arkansas Attorney Seeks Preliminary Injunction Against Attorney General Over Ballot Initiative

On May 13, attorney David Couch petitioned the Arkansas Supreme Court to issue a preliminary injunction requiring Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to approve the language of his ethics initiative or offer an alternative as any further delay could cause “irreparable” […]

Flag of ArkansasOn May 13, attorney David Couch petitioned the Arkansas Supreme Court to issue a preliminary injunction requiring Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to approve the language of his ethics initiative or offer an alternative as any further delay could cause “irreparable” harm to Couch’s attempt to get the constitutional amendment on the ballot.

Couch cannot began collecting the 84,859 signatures due by July 8, until Rutledge approves the language.

If approved by voters, the proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit certain gifts from lobbyists to elected officials and lower campaign contribution limits.

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May 6, 2016 •

Arkansas Schedules Special Session to Follow 2016 Fiscal Session

The Legislature finished the fiscal session on May 5, 2016, with the formal sine die adjournment scheduled for Monday, May 9, 2016. Legislators will return on May 19 for a special legislative session to address Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s highway funding […]

Flag of ArkansasThe Legislature finished the fiscal session on May 5, 2016, with the formal sine die adjournment scheduled for Monday, May 9, 2016.

Legislators will return on May 19 for a special legislative session to address Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s highway funding plan.

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April 7, 2016 •

Arkansas General Assembly Enters Extraordinary Session

The 90th Arkansas General Assembly entered its second extraordinary session on Wednesday, April 6, to consider Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s Medicaid proposal. Hutchinson believes the proposal can expand the state’s Medicaid program while also encouraging recipients to stay employed and to […]

Arkansas State Capitol BuildingThe 90th Arkansas General Assembly entered its second extraordinary session on Wednesday, April 6, to consider Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s Medicaid proposal. Hutchinson believes the proposal can expand the state’s Medicaid program while also encouraging recipients to stay employed and to take responsibility for their health care.

The legislature’s fiscal session is slated to convene on Wednesday, April 13.

Photo of Arkansas State Capitol Building by Stuart Seeger on Wikimedia Commons.

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March 31, 2016 •

Arkansas Director of Elections Resigns

Citing burnout from over 18 years of elections work, Director of Arkansas Elections Rob Hammons has turned in his resignation to the secretary of state’s office. Assistant Director Leslie Bellamy has taken over as the interim director. The Elections Division […]

Flag of ArkansasCiting burnout from over 18 years of elections work, Director of Arkansas Elections Rob Hammons has turned in his resignation to the secretary of state’s office. Assistant Director Leslie Bellamy has taken over as the interim director.

The Elections Division is responsible for maintaining elections records, assisting county officials with conducting elections, and ensuring compliance with federal election laws.

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February 24, 2016 •

Special Session Called in Arkansas

A special legislative session has been called to start on April 6, a week before the 2016 regular session kicks off. The special session will address passing a new form of Medicaid expansion in the state. Lawmakers will vote on […]

Flag of ArkansasA special legislative session has been called to start on April 6, a week before the 2016 regular session kicks off. The special session will address passing a new form of Medicaid expansion in the state.

Lawmakers will vote on the issue during the April 6 special session, and will vote to fund the program in a fiscal session starting April 13.

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December 18, 2015 •

Arkansas Senator Admits to Campaign Finance Oversights

After questions arose regarding certain contributions, state Senator David Sanders admitted to a mistake of contributing $5,000 of his 2014 campaign’s surplus funds to his political action committee.  After admitting the mistake and consulting with the Arkansas Ethics Commission, Sanders […]

Flag of ArkansasAfter questions arose regarding certain contributions, state Senator David Sanders admitted to a mistake of contributing $5,000 of his 2014 campaign’s surplus funds to his political action committee.  After admitting the mistake and consulting with the Arkansas Ethics Commission, Sanders returned the contributions to 12 campaign contributors.

Sanders also admitted to failing to file required reports for his political action committee, which have since been filed to remedy the problem. Sanders chalked up his mistakes as “simply an oversight,” and there are no penalties expected to be handed down by the Arkansas Ethics Commission.

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May 29, 2015 •

Arkansas State Legislature Adjourns Special Session

The First Extraordinary Session of the 90th General Assembly adjourned on Thursday, May 28. Lawmakers spent much of the three day session discussing, and ultimately approving, a bill to move the state’s 2016 primary and nonpartisan judicial elections from May […]

Flag of ArkansasThe First Extraordinary Session of the 90th General Assembly adjourned on Thursday, May 28.

Lawmakers spent much of the three day session discussing, and ultimately approving, a bill to move the state’s 2016 primary and nonpartisan judicial elections from May 20 to March 1.

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April 23, 2015 •

Arkansas Adjourns with Special Session Possible

The Legislature formally adjourned sine die on April 22, 2015, but with the possibility of a special session later this year. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has indicated he will likely call legislators back to address the state’s Medicaid expansion. A legislative […]

Arkansas State CapitolThe Legislature formally adjourned sine die on April 22, 2015, but with the possibility of a special session later this year.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has indicated he will likely call legislators back to address the state’s Medicaid expansion.

A legislative task force is expected to issue a recommendation for an alternative program to the state’s private option Medicaid expansion.

Photo of the Arkansas State Capitol by jglazer75 on Wikimedia Commons.

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April 20, 2015 •

Arkansas Ethics Commission to Administer New Lobbying and Campaign Laws

The state Ethics Commission is discussing how to administer new lobbying and campaign laws signed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Senate Bill 967 (now Act 1280) limits lobbyists to one “planned activity” per week and provides a 30-day grace period for […]

Flag of ArkansasThe state Ethics Commission is discussing how to administer new lobbying and campaign laws signed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Senate Bill 967 (now Act 1280) limits lobbyists to one “planned activity” per week and provides a 30-day grace period for officials to return improper gifts. Political contribution limits from individuals and PACs to a candidate have been raised from $2,000 to $2,700 per election.

Act 1280 also authorizes the commission to oversee new ethics laws contained in a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2014. The amendment prohibited lobbyist gifts and corporate contributions, but did not provide the commission authority to administer the constitutional changes.

Earlier this year lawmakers passed House Bill 1002 (now Act 47), but that law only authorized the commission to issue advisory opinions concerning the amendment.

Act 1280 further provides the commission with statutory authority to administer the changes by issuing rules and investigating complaints. Act 1280 became effective upon Hutchinson’s signature.

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February 19, 2015 •

Arkansas Ethics Commission Now Has Jurisdiction Over New Ethics Laws

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed a bill authorizing the Ethics Commission to oversee new ethics laws contained in a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2014. The amendment prohibited lobbyist gifts and corporate contributions, but did not provide the Ethics […]

Gov. Asa HutchinsonGov. Asa Hutchinson has signed a bill authorizing the Ethics Commission to oversee new ethics laws contained in a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2014. The amendment prohibited lobbyist gifts and corporate contributions, but did not provide the Ethics Commission authority to administer the constitutional changes.

Act 47 (House Bill 1002) is effective immediately and allows the Ethics Commission to begin issuing advisory opinions and guidelines concerning the amendment.

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February 13, 2015 •

Arkansas Legislature Sends Ethics Bill to Governor

Lawmakers have passed a bill authorizing the Ethics Commission to oversee new ethics laws contained in a constitutional amendment passed by voters on November 4, 2014. The amendment prohibited lobbyist gifts and corporate contributions, but did not provide the Ethics […]

Arkansas State Capitol BuildingLawmakers have passed a bill authorizing the Ethics Commission to oversee new ethics laws contained in a constitutional amendment passed by voters on November 4, 2014. The amendment prohibited lobbyist gifts and corporate contributions, but did not provide the Ethics Commission authority to administer the constitutional changes.

House Bill 1002 allows the Ethics Commission to interpret the changes by issuing advisory opinions and guidelines. The bill will be effective immediately if signed by Governor Asa Hutchinson.

Photo of the Arkansas State Capitol by Stuart Seeger on Wikimedia Commons.

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December 1, 2014 •

Arkansas Special Election Set for SD 16

Gov. Mike Beebe has scheduled a special election on April 14, 2015, to fill the state Senate seat vacated by Michael Lamoureux. The primary will be January 13 and a primary runoff, if necessary, on February 10. Lamoureux vacated the […]

Flag of ArkansasGov. Mike Beebe has scheduled a special election on April 14, 2015, to fill the state Senate seat vacated by Michael Lamoureux. The primary will be January 13 and a primary runoff, if necessary, on February 10. Lamoureux vacated the seat in Senate District 16 to take a position as Gov.-elect Asa Hutchinson’s chief of staff.

The 2015 legislative session will be conducted by a 34-seat Senate unless the session runs for more than three months.

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November 18, 2014 •

Arkansas Lawmakers Prefile Ethics Bill to Clarify Recent Changes

Lawmakers have prefiled a bill to clarify new ethics laws contained in a constitutional amendment passed by voters on November 4, 2014. The amendment prohibits lobbyist gifts and corporate contributions, but the Ethics Commission needs further legislative authority to enforce […]

Arkansas State CapitolLawmakers have prefiled a bill to clarify new ethics laws contained in a constitutional amendment passed by voters on November 4, 2014.

The amendment prohibits lobbyist gifts and corporate contributions, but the Ethics Commission needs further legislative authority to enforce the constitutional changes.

Democratic Rep. Warwick Sabin and Republican Sen. Jon Woods filed House Bill 1002 as a shell bill, without any specific proposals, to publicize the issue ahead of the session start date on January 12, 2015.

Photo of the Arkansas State Capitol by jglazer75 on Wikimedia Commons.

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