Saturday, April 18, 2015

Floodplain Executive Order To Affect 1st District Cities

Floodplain Executive Order To Affect 1st District Cities
by U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford: In 1977, President Carter issued Executive Order 11988, which established the definition of "floodplain" as an area subject to a 1% or greater chance of flooding in any given year. President Carter issued this order in order to protect federal investments and human life from flood risk. This definition of a floodplain informs federal agencies in their use of funds, building standards, and sets benchmarks for many other programs. The currently defined floodplain has been the standard ever since 1977.

However, in January of this year, President Obama's administration issued Executive Order 11988, which would require federal agencies to broaden significantly the current floodplain definition. This change attempts to reflect not the historical flood data on record, but the possible increase of flooding in the future based on the Administration's predictions of climate change patterns.

The Administration has given a choice of three new requirements for builders. Builders can make plans using data based on available climate science; or build two feet above 100-year floods estimates for most projects, but three feet above the current level for critical buildings such as hospitals and evacuation centers; or build to elevations above a 500-year floodplain. Instead of the flexibility choice normally offers, I'm concerned that these vague choices may introduce further confusion, at the expense of the American people.

According to an initial analysis by the National Association of Home Builders, a 500 year floodplain designation would increase the amount of Arkansas land in the floodplain by 20%, the second largest increase across all 50 states. Large swaths of Arkansas cities could be subject to these new rules. With Osceola, West Memphis, Marion, and Helena-West Helena bordering the Mississippi, and Batesville, Newport, Augusta, Des Arc, and Clarendon on the White River, I'm very worried about how the newly proposed standard would affect cities and towns in the First District of Arkansas.

My main concern centers around how these new rules would be adopted and implemented. As we have seen before with the proposed Waters of the U.S. Rule and The National Blue Ways System, new federal rules without clear definitions can vastly expand federal overreach. I am also concerned about the possibility of confusion between agency plans. Using the "best science" available method, different agencies, and even projects within the same agencies, could have varied interpretations with increasingly complicated and confusing results.

The scope of the new rule is also a point of concern. The Administration clearly states that this order is intended to affect only federally funded projects, but the effects could stretch even further. One interpretation could include projects financed and approved by the federal government, including: FHA and HUD housing programs, the National Flood insurance program, Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act (the floodplain is identified as critical habit for many listed species).

For now, the Administration's proposed rule change is open to public comment until May 6th. However, given the vagueness of the rule and the large percentage of the First District potentially affected, I do not believe that the May 6th deadline is enough time to allow all potential stakeholders to give their opinions. For that reason, I signed on to Congressman Rod Blum's letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requesting an extension of the deadline for public comment. I have also signed my name to Congressman John Ratcliffe's letter to President Obama. Ratcliffe's letter questions the legality of the Executive Order, highlights the possible economic ramifications, and requests additional information concerning how the rules will be interpreted and implemented.

Please know that I will remain focused and diligent on this issue, which is of critical importance to many towns in our District.

Tags: Executive Order, Floodplain, FEMA, affect, cities, Representative, 1st District, Arkansas, cities,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Arkansas Delegation Votes to Support Arkansas’s Family Farms, Business and Personl Estates

The ARRA News Service reported that yesterday the House passed H.R. 1105 (240 - 179) — "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes, and for other purposes." All members of the Arkansas delegation, Reps. Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack, and Bruce Westerman voted in favor of the bill.

Congressman French Hill released the following the statement: “Repealing the outdated and burdensome ‘Death Tax’ than tax chips away at the complexity of the current tax code and protects small family farms and businesses across Arkansas and America from its stressful and potentially devastating effects. Instead of being forced to purchase enormous insurance policies or sell off assets to pay the tab, families can invest in and grow their businesses, benefitting the economy as a whole. Today’s vote reaffirms House’s commitment to a pro-growth tax code that benefits the American people and not the federal government.”

Tags: Arkansas, delegation, votes, for, eleimating the Federal Death Tax To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Fatalistic Excuse For Voting For Arkansas’ Obamacare Laws

by David Ferguson, Conduit for Action: Even when the Arkansas’ version of Obamacare Medicaid Expansion (Private Option) was passed in 2013 some Republican legislators such as Representative Charlie Collins tried to blame their support of the Private Option on the idea that resistance is futile because Obamacare is here it stay and we can’t fight it.

Even with the new Republican Congress, I hear Arkansas state legislators still saying “Obamacare is here to stay and we can’t fight it.”

Their excuse wouldn't fly in many states!
  • Twenty-two states still refuse to adopt Obamacare Medicaid Expansion.
  • Only 14 state have a state run Obamacare Exchange. Some others state have alre
  • ady repealed their exchange, some states are considering repealing their exchange, and the state of Washington is looking to their citizens for even more money to run their exchange.
Is resistance to Obamacare really futile? Do legislators who claim this viewpoint represent your views?

Tags: fatilistic excuses, voting for, Arkansas, Obamacare laws, David Ferguson, Conduit for Action To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Little Rock Recruitment Center Shooting Victims Will Receive Purple Heart

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton, along with Second District Representative French Hill, today announced that the Army has determined that two servicemembers attacked outside of a Little Rock Army recruiting center in 2009 will be awarded the Purple Heart.

Private William Long of Conway was killed and Private Quinton Ezeagwula of Jacksonville was wounded when a terrorist opened fire on the recruiting center on June 1, 2009.

“I am pleased that Private Long and Private Ezeagwula will receive the Purple Heart they rightfully deserve. They were targeted for the service, devotion and dedication to our country in a war where the frontlines against terrorism extend within our nation. Awarding Privates Long and Ezeagwula the Purple Heart for their service and sacrifice is simply the right thing to do,” Boozman said.

“The Army’s decision to award the Purple Heart to the victims of the Little Rock Recruiting Center attack is long overdue,” said Cotton. “I am pleased these two young men will finally get the recognition they deserve. The war on terror is a global war—our enemies know no boundaries. Private William Long and Private Quinton Ezeagwula and their fellow soldiers who put their lives on the line to protect us from these enemies are all heroes—no matter the front on which they fight.”

“The Army’s announcement today to award the Purple Heart to Privates Long and Ezeagwula concludes a nearly six year pursuit of justice and recognition for the families and victims of the 2009 terrorist attack at the Little Rock military recruiting station. This announcement is long overdue and finally gives these brave men the heroic level of recognition they deserve. I am truly appreciative of the efforts of our entire Congressional delegation who worked hard to make this happen; especially my predecessor in Congress and our current Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin whose tireless efforts ensured the sacrifice of these young men was fully recognized and honored ,” Hill said.

The Army’s determination was the result of a provision—written by Boozman—in the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) [Public Law 113-291] which authorizes the award of Purple Heart to servicemembers killed or wounded in an attack that specifically targets a servicemember because of their status as a member of the nation’s Armed Forces or is carried out by a foreign terrorist organization.

That provision, Section 571 of the FY 2015 NDAA, clarifies that an attack carried out by an individual will be considered an attack by a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) if the individual or entity was in communication with a FTO before the attack, and if the attack was inspired or motivated by a FTO.

Actions and statements by Abdulhakim Muhammad, the man who pled guilty to charges of capital murder and attempted capital murder for the shooting at a Little Rock military recruiting station, met these criteria.

In a December 2014 letter, Boozman, Cotton and former Second District Representative Tim Griffin urged Secretary of the Army John McHugh to award the Purple Heart to Private Ezeagwula and the family of Private Long. Making the case that the criteria had been met, Boozman, Cotton and Griffin wrote: “Throughout his (2011) trial, Muhammad repeatedly admitted that he was a soldier in the cause of war—or jihad—against the United States and that he targeted Privates William Andrew Long and Quinton Ezeagwula because they wore the uniform of the U.S. Army. Additionally, in 2007, Muhammad traveled to Yemen where, as he admitted, he consorted with known members of Al Qaeda including discussing attacks on American military personnel.”

Tags: Little Rock, Arkansas, Recruitment Center, Shooting Victims, Purple Heart To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sen. Boozman: Tax Day

by US Sen. John Boozman: Today, millions of Americans will make that last minute trip to the Post Office to mail tax returns and get the IRS off their checklist for another year.

But there’s an astonishing fact that most Americans don’t realize. According to the Tax Foundation, "Tax Freedom Day" in 2015 won’t arrive until April 24. That's the day when our nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay its federal, state and local tax bill for the year. You read it right - 114 days in 2015 before we have made enough money just to break even.

It's no wonder so many Americans feel overtaxed.

Our current income tax system is fundamentally flawed, outdated and in need of a complete overhaul. Today’s tax code is unfair, discourages against savings and investment, and is impossibly complex. I am committed to modernizing our tax code, eliminating the complexities and bringing relief to Arkansas’s families and business owners through commonsense tax reform.

But we also have to cut spending so we can finally balance the federal budget. It won't be easy, and it will take quite awhile to get it done, but we can balance the budget, get our spending under control and cut taxes for all Americans.

As a nation, we have to make sure that we keep the promises we have made - to our veterans, to our seniors, and to those less fortunate than we are. We can keep those promises and make long range plans now to balance the budget.

Do you agree with me that the Federal Government must balance its budget, just as you and I do? I’d like to hear from you. Leave a comment here .

Thanks for your continuing support.

Tags: Arkansas, U.S. Senator, John Boozman, Tax Day To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Lt. Gov. Griffin on Tax Day: ‘We Must Enact Bold Tax Reform’

Little Rock – Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin today issued the following statement on Tax Day 2015:“Tax Day reminds us that the tax burden on Arkansas families and businesses is too great, especially compared to other states. To help us grow jobs and compete, we must enact bold tax reform. We need tax reform that simplifies the code, closes loopholes and lowers rates across the board. Let's build on the recent progress we have made by dreaming big and acting boldly."
Tags: Lt. Gov., Tim Griffin, Tax Day, enact Bold Tax Reform, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Griffin Announces Details of Common Core Review Hearings and Listening Tour

Adds four more listening tour dates to hear from even more Arkansans

LITTLE ROCK – Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin today announced details of the nine listening tour stops and five Little Rock hearings for the Governor’s Council on Common Core Review and released the following statement:

“We are proud to announce that we have added four additional stops to the statewide listening tour. Over eight short weeks, we will travel to nine cities and spend approximately sixty hours listening on and learning about this important issue. The council members are excited and looking forward to hearing a variety of perspectives regarding Common Core, testing and data privacy,” Griffin said.

The council has scheduled approximately forty hours of hearings and twenty hours of listening tour events. Panelists for the Little Rock hearings will be announced prior to the hearings. 

Little Rock Hearings:
Thursday, April 23
8:00AM – 4:30PM
Arkansas State Capitol
Old Supreme Court
500 Woodlane St, Little Rock, AR 72201

Wednesday, April 29
8:00AM – 5:00PM
Bureau of Legislative Research, Room 151
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201

Wednesday, May 6
8:00AM – 5:00PM
Arkansas State Capitol
Old Supreme Court
500 Woodlane St, Little Rock, AR 72201

Wednesday, May 13
8:00AM – 5:00PM
Arkansas State Capitol
Old Supreme Court
500 Woodlane St, Little Rock, AR 72201

Wednesday, May 20
8:00AM – 5:00PM
Arkansas State Capitol
Old Supreme Court
500 Woodlane St, Little Rock, AR 72201

Listening Tour Dates:
Thursday, April 23 – Little Rock
5:00PM – 7:00PM
Pulaski Technical College Little Rock-South
Transportation Technology Center, The Community Room
13000 Interstate 30, Little Rock, AR 72210

Thursday, April 30 – El Dorado
5:00PM – 7:00PM
El Dorado Conference Center
SouthArk Community College
300 S West Ave, El Dorado, AR 71730

Tuesday, May 5 – Texarkana
5:00PM – 7:00PM
Four States Fairgrounds Fine Arts Building
E 50th St, Texarkana, AR 71854

Thursday, May 14 – Bentonville
5:00PM – 7:00PM
Bentonville Public Library
Walmart Community Room
405 S Main Street, Bentonville, AR 72712

Tuesday, May 19 – Jonesboro
5:00PM – 7:00PM
Arkansas State University
Cooper Alumni Center
2600 Alumni Blvd, Jonesboro, AR 72401

Tuesday, May 26 – Hot Springs
5:00PM – 7:00PM
National Park Community College
Fred Dierks Building, Eisele Auditorium
101 College Dr, Hot Springs, AR 71913

Tuesday, June 9 – Batesville
5:00PM – 7:00PM
Lyon College
Edwards Commons, Maxfield Room
2300 Highland Rd, Batesville, AR 72503

Tuesday, June 16 – Pine Bluff
5:00PM – 7:00PM
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
L.A. Davis, Sr. Student Union
1200 University Dr, Pine Bluff, AR 71601

Thursday, June 18 – Fort Smith
5:00PM – 7:00PM
The Blue Lion at UAFS Downtown
101 North 2nd St, Fort Smith, AR 72904

Tags: Arkansas, Lt Gov, Common Core Review Hearing, Listening Tour To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Appointments

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the following appointments:

Sheriff Boyd Hicks, Magazine, to the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training. Appointment expires January 14, 2022. Replaces Randall Morris.

Lieutenant Stacie Rhoads, Bigelow, to the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training. Appointment expires January 14, 2016. Replaces Jami Cook.

Shelia Magness, Star City, to the Arkansas Fire Protection Services Board. Appointment expires March 31, 2018. Replaces David Kirkpatrick.

Dr. Douglas Parker, Gravette, to the Veterinary Medical Examining Board. Appointment expires March 1, 2020. Reappointment.

Sarah Martin, Fayetteville, to Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2018. Replaces Rebecca Rains.

Vanessa Crossfield, North Little Rock, to the Advisory Committee on Petroleum Storage Tanks. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Reappointment.

Beverly Lambert, North Little Rock, to the Arkansas Local Police and Fire Retirement System. Appointment expires January 1, 2019. Reappointment.

Robert Downum, Springdale, to the Arkansas Home Inspector Registration Board. Appointment expires January 26, 2017.

Jane Phillips, Hot Springs, to the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Replaces Dianne Hammond.

Chief Allen “AJ” Gary, Conway, to the Criminal Justice Institute Advisory Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2019. Reappointment.

Officer John Murphy, Tumbling Shoals, to the Criminal Justice Institute Advisory Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2019. Reappointment.

Sheriff William “Andy” Shock, Conway, to the Criminal Justice Institute Advisory Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2019. Replaces Sheriff Charles Lucas.

Steven Shults, Pocahontas, to the Criminal Justice Institute Advisory Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2019. Replaces Steven Thomason.

William Wright, Little Rock, to the Contractors Licensing Board. Appointment expires December 31, 2019. Reappointment.

Sara Lenehan, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Fire and Police Pension Review Board. Appointment expires January 1, 2016. Replaces Jackie McPherson.

Steven Miller, Pine Bluff, to the Arkansas Fire and Police Pension Review Board. Appointment expires January 1, 2016. Replaces Chris Claybaker.

William Willis, Hot Springs, to the Arkansas Geological Survey. Appointment expires January 14, 2022. Reappointment.

David Chris Gardner, Paragould, to the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission.  Appointment expires March 29, 2019.  Replaces William Thompson.

Dr. Wesley Stites, Fayetteville, to the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission.  Appointment expires March 29, 2019.  Replaces John Simpson.

John Nabholz, Conway, to the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority.  Appointment expires January 14, 2019.  Replaces Heartsill Ragon.

Daniel Williams, Little Rock, to the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority.  Appointment expires January 14, 2019.  Replaces John Miller.

Ed Winant, Rogers, to the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority.  Appointment expires January 14, 2019.  Replaces Robert Sproles.

Dr. Scott McKay, Magnolia, to the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority.  Appointment expires January 14, 2019.  Replaces Cesar Compadre.

David Rosegrant, Pine Bluff, to the Board of Developmental Disabilities Services.  Appointment expires January 15, 2022.  Reappointment.

Lenora Erickson, Hot Springs, to the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling.  Appointment expires December 1, 2017.  Replaces Philip Hestand.

Cheryl Edwards, Fort Smith, to the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling.  Appointment expires December 1, 2017.  Replaces Mark Coffman.

Dr. Art Gillaspy, Conway, to the Arkansas Psychology Board.  Appointment expires December 31, 2019.  Replaces Lisa McNeir.

Dr. Betty Everett, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Psychology Board.  Appointment expires December 31, 2019.  Replaces Gary Souheaver.

Randy Fore, Mountain Home, to the Arkansas Board of Hearing Instrument Dispensers.  Appointment expires July 31, 2017.  Replaces Linda Lowry.

Harold “Hal” Gunter, Jacksonville, to the Arkansas State Board of Chiropractic Examiners.  Appointment expires June 9, 2018.  Replaces Weldon Roberts.

Ann Xu, Hot Springs, to the Board of Visitors for the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts.  Appointment expires January 14, 2021.  Replaces Karen Garcia.

Steve Faris, Hot Springs, to the Board of Visitors for the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts.  Appointment expires January 14, 2021.  Replaces Luther Lowe.

Tasha Sinclair, El Dorado, to the South Arkansas Community College Board of Trustees.  Appointment expires December 31, 2020.  Replaces Marc Parnell.

Robert Fagan, Little Rock, to the Arkansas State Independent Living Council.  Appointment expires February 1, 2018.  Reappointment.

Sarah Faitak, Fayetteville, to the Breast Cancer Control Advisory Board.  Appointment expires January 1, 2019.  Reappointment.

Dr. Jerri Fant, Little Rock, to the Breast Cancer Control Advisory Board.  Appointment expires January 1, 2019.  Reappointment.

Duane Neal, Bentonville, to the Arkansas Motor Vehicle Commission.  Appointment expires January 14, 2022.  Replaces Bobby Ferguson.

William Varner, Fulton, to the Arkansas Waterways Commission.  Appointment expires January 14, 2022.  Reappointment.

Bill Poynter, Texarkana, to the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission.  Appointment expires January 14, 2022.  Replaces Corbet Lamkin.

Rickey “Buck” Joyner, Morrilton, to the Professional Bail Bondsman Licensing Board.  Appointment expires September 30, 2016.  Replaces Jeremy Rowland.

Joseph Self, Fort Smith, to the State Crime Laboratory Board.  Appointment expires January 14, 2022.  Replaces J. Carter Fairley.

Chuck Graham, Cabot, to the State Crime Laboratory Board.  Appointment expires January 14, 2020.  Replaces Carlton Jones

Jimmy Didier, Fort Smith, to the Arkansas Racing Commission.  Appointment expires January 14, 2020.  Replaces Thomas Akin.

Michael “Denny” East, Marion, to the Arkansas Racing Commission.  Appointment expires January 14, 2020.

Michael Post, Altus, to the Arkansas Racing Commission.  Appointment expires January 14, 2019.

Hani Hashem, Monticello, Special Associate Justice to the Arkansas Supreme Court. CV-14-594. Replaces Justice Paul Danielson.

Vincent Guest, Wynne, Special Associate Justice to the Arkansas Supreme Court. CV-14-594. Replaces Justice Robin Wynne.

Noyl Houston, Jonesboro. Special Associate Justice to the Arkansas Supreme Court. CV-13-721. Replaces Justice Rhonda Wood.

Joseph Self, Fort Smith. Special Associate Justice to the Arkansas Supreme Court. CV-14-1059. Replaces Justice Robin Wynne.   

Henry Kinslow, El Dorado. Special Associate Justice to the Arkansas Supreme Court. CV-14-1060. Replaces Justice Courtney Goodson.

Paul Byrd, Little Rock. Special Associate Justice to the Arkansas Supreme Court. CV-14-618. Replaces Rhonda Wood.

Chalk Mitchell, West Helena. Special Associate Justice to the Arkansas Supreme Court. CV-14-1072. Replaces Paul Danielson.

Rex Terry, Fort Smith. Special Chief Justice to the Arkansas Supreme Court. CV-14-978. Replaces Chief Justice Jim Hannah.

Brett Watson, Searcy, Special Associate Justice to the Arkansas Supreme Court. CV-15-227. Replaces Chief Justice Jim Hannah, who has disqualified himself from the case.

Judge Betty Dickey,
Heber Springs, Special Associate Justice to the Arkansas Supreme Court. CV-15-227. Replaces Justice Rhonda Wood, who has disqualified herself from the case.

Judge Shawn Womack,
Mountain Home, Special Associate Justice to the Arkansas Supreme Court. CV-15-227. Replaces Justice Paul Danielson, who has disqualified himself from the case.

Tags: Governor, Asa Hutchinson, appointments To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Special Session on Obamacare Medicaid Expansion. Why?

by David Ferguson, Conduit for Action: Governor Asa Hutchinson said he is considering a special session to determine the future of Arkansas’ Obamacare Medicaid Expansion, currently called the “Private Option.” Ending Obamacare Medicaid Expansion does not appear to be on the governor’s agenda.

“A special session will likely be needed to take up the future of Arkansas’ compromise Medicaid expansion, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Thursday, warning that he doesn’t want the new program to mimic what’s already in place.”[i] (emphasis added)Why a special session instead of dealing with the issue in the Fiscal Session early next year? The governor said:“I think the public expects a special session that will be devoted to this issue because it’s a very large challenge for us and we’ve got to build the consensus for it,” Hutchinson said in his office.[ii]Do you care whether the issue is decided in a special session or in the Fiscal Session? Do you know anyone who has said, “I hope the legislature handles this in a special session”?

Actually, I do not doubt there are people who have urged the governor to call a special session, but they are Obamacare supporters. Politically, the reason for a special session is to increase the chances that Arkansas will pass another form of Obamacare Medicaid Expansion and keep Arkansas an Obamacare state.

If you wanted to stop a new version of Obamacare Medicaid Expansion, the best place for the fight would be the Fiscal Session. Why? Because in the Fiscal Session you must get approval from 2/3rds of the membership of each house in order to even file a non-appropriation bill. If you fail to get permission from 2/3rds of each house, it only gets worse, because your only remaining option is to amend your language into an appropriation bill, but appropriation bills must be approved by a 3/4ths vote of each house.

If you want to keep Arkansas as an Obamacare Medicaid Expansion state then you would want the governor to call a special session where you only need to get a majority vote from each house to pass your law.

The discussion of a special session makes it clear that more Obamacare is planned.

From the governor’s comments it appears the current structure called “Private Option” will be gone.
“I don’t think anybody who expects that this was the end to the private option wants it to be tweaked in minor ways and relabeled,” Hutchinson said. “That’s not going to fly with the Arkansas voters, and that’s not my expectation. I think this is going to be a total refiguring of it in an Arkansas way with compassion, fiscal prudence and then also one that’s innovative.”[iii]The problem is while the Governor is trying to focus the discussion on the narrow topic of the “Private Option”, opponents have never sought to merely change the structure of Obamacare Medicaid Expansion in Arkansas. The fight has been about ending Obamacare Medicaid Expansion, no matter what the structure.NOTE: For those who may not be familiar with Obamacare Medicaid Expansion, the program provides health care coverage based on income. This is different from the rest of Medicaid which seeks to help the most vulnerable. The target population of Obamacare Medicaid Expansion is primarily able bodied working age adults with no dependents, and nearly half of the target population do not work at all.Soon Arkansas will have to pay part of the costs of Obamacare Medicaid Expansion, which means Arkansas will have to devote hundreds of millions of dollars each year to continue Medicaid Expansion. This puts Medicaid Expansion in direct competition for dollars with other state programs and with the state’s need for tax relief to attract business, and with taxpayers who need for a real reduction in their tax burden.

When the legislature meets it will not just be deciding whether to continue coverage for the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion population, it will also be setting up winners and losers in the competition for state dollars.

I recommend Arkansas follow the example of the Tennessee legislature were their popular Republican governor called a special session to pass Medicaid Expansion, and the legislature stopped the bill. Those legislators held the promises they made to the voters — no Obamacare Medicaid Expansion for Tennessee.
-----------
[i] Hutchinson: Special session likely on Medicaid plan, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 04/09/15
[ii] Ibid.
[iii] Ibid.

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Republican Party Chairman Responds to Clinton Announcement

Following Hillary Clinton's announcement today regarding her intentions to run for the office of President, Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Doyle Webb issued the following statement:
"I just refreshed my Twitter feed and saw that Hillary Clinton is running for President. I find that interesting because in my view she has been running for President for more than a decade. That being said, she has been running from scandal for much longer. Arkansas voters are all too familiar with the Clinton political style--thinking laws and regulations about transparency and accountability don't apply to them. I can't wait to see how Clinton will attempt to side-step her conflicts of interest and hypocrisies on issues important to everyday Arkansans. Hillary Clinton may be able to delete her emails, but she can't delete her record"

Tags: Arkansas, Republican Party, Doyle Webb, Hillary Clinton To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Obama Admin Gives $128 Million From Agency to Feed the World’s Hungry to Pro-Abortion Groups

A government report shows two international abortion advocacy groups received $128 million from USAID, a federal agency that distributes foreign aid.
Read More at Life News

Tags: Obama Admin Gives, $128 Million, From Agency to Feed the World’s Hungry, to Pro-Abortion Groups To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Arkansas Democratic Party to Host Proponent of Late-Term Abortions

Little Rock, Ark — Republicans in Arkansas want to know if the Democrat Party of Arkansas stands with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, their National Chairwoman, in regard to her recent statement claiming unimpeded support of the abortion of a seven-pound baby.

Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb issued the following statement regarding the visit:“I want to know where the Democrat Party of Arkansas’s allegiance lies. Is it with the people of Arkansas? Or is it with the Debbie Wasserman Schultz? You can’t have it both ways.”

“The people of Arkansas have spoken. Between polling data and how people voted in 2014, public opinion would suggest Arkansans don’t agree with Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s stance. I just want to know if the Democratic Party of Arkansas agrees with her—especially now considering she is a guest of honor at their upcoming celebratory dinner.”
Polling data shows that the majority of Arkansans are Pro-Life, including 60% in support of legislation banning abortions after the detection of a heartbeat.

DNC Comment:

Tags: Arkansas Democrat Party, host, proponent, Late Term Abortions, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC Chairwoman, Republican Party of Arkansas, Doyle Webb, comment To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Griffin Continues to Support Efforts to Assist Arkansans Living with Disabilities

LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin today issued the following statement after Governor Asa Hutchinson signed House Bill 1239 (HB 1239) into law:

"We must work to increase understanding of and support for Arkansans living with disabilities. I supported the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 in Congress and support this legislation which ensures that our state has tax-free savings accounts available to assist those living with disabilities. I applaud Rep. Julie Mayberry (R-Hensley) for her leadership on this legislation.”

The ABLE Act of 2014 allows the use of tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities to cover qualified expenses related to the individual’s disability, such as health, education, housing, transportation, training, assistive technology, personal support and other related services and expenses. Individuals with ABLE accounts would also maintain eligibility for means-tested benefits programs. HB 1239 makes these savings accounts available in Arkansas.


Tags: It Governor, Tim Griffin, Arkansas, efforts to assist, Arkansans, with disabilities To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Boozman Event Aims to Resolve Arkansas Hospitals and VA Reimbursement Issues

WASHINGTON–Arkansas hospitals and other healthcare providers are facing hurdles to getting reimbursed from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) after providing medical care for veterans.

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, heard concerns from more than 60 health facilities around Arkansas about billing and payment issues with VA. Some claims have been pending for years.

Boozman’s office will host an event on Wednesday, April 8 bringing together Arkansas healthcare providers and VA officials from Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN 16) in Flowood, Mississippi, and the Veterans Health Administration Chief Business Office, Purchased Care in Denver, Colorado, to address issues that can influence the time it takes for reimbursement to Arkansas healthcare facilities including processing and coding.

“I’m concerned that the reimbursement times will have a negative impact on veterans healthcare. Working together to resolve billing and payment matters will ensure our veterans receive the healthcare they earned and our health facilities get the payments they are owed,” Boozman said.

Tags: Senator John Boozman, VA Reimbursement Issues To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Little Rock VA Hospital "Never Used" Solar Panels Being Torn Down

Following the airing of this story by By Elicia Dover on KATV U.S. Representative French Hill (R-Dist. 2) issued the following statement:
“Tonight, I saw Elicia Dover's story, and like a lot of viewers, I am angry and frustrated. Any project that is a rushed and unplanned waste of hardworking taxpayers' dollars is unacceptable. The $8 million solar panel project, which appears to have been changed on a whim, may seem like a drop in the bucket when compared to the staggering $18 trillion federal debt, but every expense must be fully justified and our financial resources directed to assisting those we are trying to help -- in this case Arkansas's veterans. If this story proves accurate, then simply put this is a government failure, and I will work with Congressional leadership and the VA to figure out how such a blatant waste of taxpayer money was ever allowed to occur.

Sen. John Boozman also commented on the report, telling Channel 7 News:
“The failure of the Little Rock VA' s solar panels shows an obvious disregard for the money hardworking Arkansans send to Washington. Renewable energy projects like this have the potential to save taxpayer dollars, but it's clear that hasn't happened at this location. As a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee I will work to see what we can do to improve VA's Renewable Energy Program to correct this problem.”
ORIGINAL STORY from referenced KATV Report:

A section of solar panels at the Little Rock Veteran's Affairs Hospital is being torn down after being built only two years ago and never turned on.

The panels are being taken down for the construction of a parking garage. Channel 7 News obtained video of some of the panels being torn down last week. The panels will eventually be relocated to the top of that parking garage.

The Central Arkansas VA would not release the estimated cost to construct the panels and then later deconstruct them, calling it “procurement sensitive information”, because the parking garage contract is ongoing.

The VA did not provide information on what stage the solar panel project was in when the parking garage was approved or if they could have halted the construction of that section of solar panels if there were plans to tear them down.

“The VA approved the Parking Garage project (and the subsequent location) after the Solar Project had already broken ground,” a spokesperson for the VA said in a statement.

According to the VA, reinstallation of the solar panels on top of the Parking Garage is included in the Parking Garage contract.

The solar panels were built in 2013 after an $8 million dollar grant from the federal government. The panels were expected to produce 1.8 megawatts of power, but the project hit a snag.

Even though the panels are ready to be operational, it was discovered the panels needed some additional engineering work to ensure there are no impacts on Entergy's system.

A spokesperson for the VA told Channel 7 News that the contractor, formerly known as Sunwize, now known as EcoCleanSolar, is in the process of revising the engineering drawings to ensure compliance with the National Fire Protection Codes as well as Entergy's requirements.

A spokesperson for the Central Arkansas VA says they are awaiting submission of these engineering changes and they expect the project to be completed by fall of this year. The parking garage is expected to be completed by summer of 2016.

Solar panels were also installed at the North Little Rock VA and are operational.

Channel 7 News has requested a full interview with Little Rock VA officials.

Tags: Veterans Administration, Little Rock, unused solar panels, being torn down, Rep. French Hill, concern, government waste, veterans needs, benefits To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.