Sunday, July 24, 2016

Big News! Cotton Family Growing

by U.S. Senator Tom Cotton:  If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen the big news Anna and I announced last week: Gabriel is getting a baby brother for Christmas this year! That’s right, Anna is expecting our second child—a little boy—at the end of December! Gabriel has been such a blessing to our family and Anna and I know a second child will only make our hearts more full. Please keep us in your prayers over these next several months!

Protecting Arkansans from Obamacare’s Failures 
Last week I introduced the Obamacare Tax Relief and Consumer Choice Act of 2016, legislation that would suspend the individual mandate when health insurance premiums rise and provide relief to people who can’t afford Obamacare deductibles. It’s clear Obamacare has failed. Premiums are skyrocketing by more than 50 percent in some states, deductibles average more than $5,000 for the cheapest plans, and networks are shrinking.  Even worse, many of those same families will face a massive tax penalty because they can’t afford care. I am committed to fully repealing Obamacare. But in the meantime, this bill will protect hard-working Arkansans and all Americans from premium hikes, the mandate, and will provide alternatives through expanded access to Health Savings Accounts.

We Cannot Downplay Iran's Malign Intentions
Tom with the Beasley family from
Fort Smith, Arkansas
I’ve also been busy conducting oversight of President Obama’s dangerous nuclear deal with Iran.  Last week I joined Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) in introducing the Countering Iranian Threats Act of 2016, a bipartisan bill that implements and expands sanctions for Iran’s ballistic missile development, support for terrorism, illicit arms transfers, human rights violations, and other destabilizing actions.  It also extends the Iran Sanctions Act for 10 years.
The Obama administration continues to downplay Iran's malign intentions, destabilizing behavior, and attempts to undermine the nuclear deal it agreed to just last year. But my colleagues and I see very clearly the threat posed by Iran. This bill will greatly enhance pressure on the ayatollahs' sponsorship of terrorism, illicit arms purchases, and human rights violations. Over the last several months I’ve worked hand in hand with Senator Corker to ensure this bill will also close the loopholes President Obama abused to implement the Iran deal without Senate approval, guaranteeing that a future president will never again be able to go over the heads of the American people to reach a bad deal with an avowed adversary.


Olympic Authorities Should Hold Russia Accountable for its Egregious State-Sponsored Doping 
Tom with Heather Buster &
Tara Zwermann 
This week the World Anti-Doping Agency confirmed previous accusations of state-sponsored doping by Russian Olympic athletes. Olympic authorities should deal swiftly and justly with Russia to preserve the integrity of the Rio Games. Only a fool would believe that Russia's massive doping scheme would occur without the direct involvement of Vladimir Putin, his intelligence services, and the head of his sports ministry. It is pathetic that Putin felt the need to cheat at the Sochi Olympics, and it is pathetic to watch him play dumb today and shift blame by suspending lower-level officials. The truth is that Putin feels he needs to steal gold medals to divert the Russian people's attention away from Russia's failing economy and his corrupt and repressive rule. In this entire sordid affair, the Russian president's basic weakness and lack of honor is on full display.
   
Stopping Student Loan Fraud and Abuse 
Tom with Les Eaves from
Newport, Arkansas
Last week, I asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the Grad PLUS student loan program, as well as the various income-based repayment plans offered by the Federal Government. Student loan programs are an important resource that help provide Arkansas’s and America’s students with access to education. But we must ensure these programs are not being taken advantage of or putting unnecessary strain on our federal budget. Specifically, I requested the GAO to determine the budget impacts of the program, rates of participation, different ways schools may be abusing the program for financial benefit, whether advertised program terms are an accurate assessment of monthly payments, and different ways the program may have affected borrower behavior.  I look forward to working with the GAO to gain further insight into ways to improve the student loan program. Click here to read more.

Arkansan of the Week
I recently recognized Kim Carter from Hot Springs as the “Arkansan of the Week” for ensuring Arkansas children have the love and support they deserve. Kim's dedication to Arkansas's children is inspiring, and her compassionate spirit is a living example of the close knit and caring communities that we have across our great state. If you know someone who has made an impact on their local community or Arkansas as a whole. Nominate them by sending an email to nominations@cotton.senate.gov with the following: name of nominee, detailed description of why they should be recognized as “Arkansan of the Week”, contact information, and photos if available.

Around Arkansas 
It’s been a busy summer in Arkansas filled with important events and countless community activities.  I’m always honored when my staff and I have the opportunity to join Arkansans for some of these events. Whether it’s touring the Trike Theatre in Bentonville (and seeing a short performance from their  camp attendees!)  attending the  Dardanelle Chamber Luncheon, or the Corps of Engineers Memphis district Change of Command Ceremony in Little Rock, we’ve certainly been busy! If there’s an opportunity in your community for my or one of my staff members to attend an important event or meeting please contact my office and we will do our best to be there!

Don't Forget!  

Tags: U.S Senator, Tom Cotton, news, Cotton Family Growing, constituent services    To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Boozman Introduces Legislation to Protect Veterans Housing Programs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) to introduce legislation that authorizes federal homeless veteran programs.

The Keeping Our Commitment to Ending Veteran Homelessness Act would ensure seven Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Labor programs would continue to operate in the next fiscal year. Without action, authorization for critical programs that provide outreach and services to homeless veterans and their families would expire on September 30, 2016.

“This legislation is essential to fulfilling our commitment to the men and women who served our nation in uniform. We can be proud of organizations in Arkansas and across the country that provide our veterans with the the tools and resources they need to rebuild their lives. This legislation builds on this foundation and continues the influential partnerships that our veterans rely on to get back on their feet. Preventing disruptions to these services must be a priority,” Boozman said.

“Supporting our veterans is a solemn obligation that does not end on an arbitrary day in September. This is especially true for our homeless veterans who depend on the services these programs provide,” Hirono said. “Organizations in Hawaii and throughout the country are working hard every day to help every veteran in this country have a permanent and stable roof over their heads. We cannot allow funding for these critical programs to lapse, and I thank Senator Boozman for joining me in this fight to keep our commitments to veterans and their families.”

The Keeping Our Commitment to Ending Veteran Homelessness Act would reauthorize the following programs:

Healthcare for Homeless Veterans (HCHV): Through HCHV, VA medical center staff conduct outreach to homeless veterans, provide care and treatment for medical, psychiatric, and substance use disorders, and refer veterans for supportive services.

Grants and Per Diem (GPD) for Homeless Veterans with Special Needs: GPD for homeless veterans with special needs targets GPD funds to specific groups of veterans, including women, elderly veterans, terminally or mentally ill veterans and veterans with children.

Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF): SSVF funds grants for supportive services to assist very low-income veterans and their families who are either residing in permanent housing or transitioning from homelessness. Eligible services include assistance with rent, utility or moving costs, outreach, case management, and help with obtaining VA and other mainstream benefits.

Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans: A committee created by law made up of veteran service organizations and service providers to provide advice to the VA secretary on benefits and services the Department gives to homeless veterans.

Acquired Property Sales for Homeless Veterans: The VA is authorized to sell, lease, lease with the option to buy, or donate properties to nonprofit organizations and state government agencies that will use the property as homeless shelters for veterans and their families.

Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP): HVRP grantees provide services to veterans including outreach, assistance in interview preparation, job search, job training, and follow-up assistance after placement. A separate HVRP targets women veterans and veterans with children.

Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program: Grantee organizations through the Incarcerated Veterans Transition program provide job training and placement services to veterans who are leaving prison.

Boozman will discuss this legislation at the Project CHALENG (Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education and Networking Groups) meeting in Little Rock next week where several organizations that provide assistance to homeless veterans will discuss outreach efforts.

Tags: Senator, John Boozman, Introduces Legislation, Protect, Veterans Housing Programs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Boozman, Murphy Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Recognize “Century Farms”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced legislation, called the Century Farms Act, to recognize farms that have been in continuous operation for 100 or more years.

To date, over 30 states–including Arkansas and Connecticut–have established Century or Centennial Farms designations and awards. However, no federal recognition for 100-year-old farms currently exists. The Century Farms Act will direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish a program honoring and recognizing the invaluable contributions of century-old farms.

“In Arkansas, the family farm is a vital part of our state’s rich agricultural heritage. This is true across the country. In fact, according to the Department of Agriculture, 97 percent of farms in the United States are family-owned operations. Many of those farms have been passed down for generations. The dedication and commitment these families continue to show to farming is vital to the history of rural America itself, which is why we should honor and recognize the contributions of America’s century farms,” Boozman said.

“It's harder to farm today than ever before. Prices are down, costs are up, and good help is hard to find. That's why it's so exceptional that some farms, in Connecticut and across the country, have sustained over one hundred years. One hundred-year-old farms like March Farm in Bethlehem have a long and storied history of providing healthy, locally-grown food for our families,” said Murphy. “They’re creating good jobs and ensuring Connecticut's rural economy continues to grow and thrive. We owe these farms a great deal, and I’m proud to have introduced this bipartisan bill to give them the recognition they deserve.

Family farms represent 97 percent of all farms in the United States. Of those family farms, 90 percent are considered small farms.

Tags: Bipartisan Legislation, Recognize, Century Farms, Century Farms Act, Senator, John Boozman To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Gov. Hutchinson Named Chair of the NGA Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee

LITTLE ROCK – Gov. Asa Hutchinson was named chair of the National Governors Association (NGA) Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee this week by the Nominating Committee of the NGA. Governor Hutchinson served as the first Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush.

The Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee handles issues dealing with homeland security; the National Guard and homeland defense; criminal justice and public safety; and veterans affairs. Members of the committee ensure that the governors’ views are represented in the shaping of federal policy.

Gov. Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“I look forward to serving on the NGA leadership team as Chair of the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee. Seeing to the security of our homeland and the public safety of our citizens is of the utmost importance, especially in light of the recent tragedies and divisions challenging our world. I trust that my experience as the first Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will be a valuable contribution as I serve as Chair of this committee. I am eager to continue working with a team committed to influencing federal legislation, particularly laws that affect the security of our states and our nation.”

For more information on NGA, visit  www.nga.org.

Tags: Governor, Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas, names chair, NGA Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Hill: Time to End Dodd-Frank’s Stranglehold on Economy

In response to the 2008 financial crisis under the guise of ending future bank bailouts, enhancing consumer protection and boosting the overall economy, President Obama signed the wholly partisan Dodd-Frank into law. At its sixth anniversary, there is emerging consensus this law has failed. The big banks are even bigger, "too big to fail" has become enshrined and we continue to lose community banks… Led by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, Republicans are re-evaluating our financial regulatory system and have proposed an alternative to the status quo: the Financial CHOICE Act.

Rep. French Hill (AR-02)
Rep French Hill (Article in the American Banker): Alexander Hamilton, one of the founders of our great national experiment (and now namesake of Broadway's biggest hit), once stated that a key benefit of a solid financial system is that "banks become the nurseries of national wealth." However, the Dodd-Frank Act, with its 2,000-plus pages and over 400 regulatory mandates (in addition to the extensive web of existing regulations) has largely impeded banks' abilities to function as such.

In response to the 2008 financial crisis under the guise of ending future bank bailouts, enhancing consumer protection and boosting the overall economy, President Obama signed the wholly partisan Dodd-Frank into law. At its sixth anniversary, there is emerging consensus this law has failed. The big banks are even bigger, "too big to fail" has become enshrined and we continue to lose community banks.

We have experienced six years of subpar economic growth, and constrained credit and access to capital for consumers and small businesses. We have seen some of the lowest business formation rates since the Carter administration.

Our financial system needs regulatory oversight, but we need smart regulation that is proportionate to risk and allows for innovation and growth. The Washington-knows-best, one-size-fits-all mentality is systematically ending the ability of our locally focused, relationship-driven community banks to succeed. In my home state of Arkansas, exemplary community financial institutions are struggling to find ways to continue to best serve their customers under the reality that is Dodd-Frank.

For our nation to thrive, commerce must also grow and thrive, and for commerce to grow and thrive, our capital markets and commercial banking system must be treated as true "nurseries of national wealth" instead of the government-directed utilities they are becoming.

Led by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, Republicans are re-evaluating our financial regulatory system and have proposed an alternative to the status quo: the Financial CHOICE Act.

One of the main pillars of this proposal is redesigning regulatory oversight to foster job creation and economic growth. At the heart of this goal is an alternative regulatory regime, a so-called regulatory "off-ramp" for well-managed, well-capitalized financial institutions. A fundamental tenet of solid banking is to have solid capital, but over the years, regulators have eroded this principle, instead relying on standards that are too prescriptive, too detailed and too complex to evaluate risk.

Under the CHOICE Act, institutions that are highly rated and maintain a 10% non-risked-based capital buffer against losses—a level much higher than capital ratios currently required—can avoid many of the costly and onerous regulations that have stifled innovation and economic development. This would allow bankers to be bankers, by innovating to provide new products, serving their customers and helping the economy grow. Robust capital is the best strategy to promote a resilient banking system, reduce the likelihood and impact of future crises, and protect against the moral hazard of a too broad and overextended safety net.

Another pillar of the CHOICE Act corrects the failure of Dodd-Frank to end the moral hazard of "too big to fail" and the potential for future taxpayer-funded bank bailouts. Dodd-Frank has institutionalized "too big to fail" by enabling government to decide through a nontransparent process what constitutes "systemically important," and by establishing a convoluted resolution process. The CHOICE Act replaces this system with a new, straightforward subchapter of the bankruptcy code to accommodate the failure of a large, complex financial institution. The CHOICE Act will allow these institutions to fail without disrupting the economy or leaving the taxpayers on the hook.

Finally, the CHOICE Act brings increased accountability both in Washington and in bank boardrooms. Agencies with a single partisan director like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will answer to bipartisan commissions and will become subject to congressional oversight through the appropriations process. Agencies will also have to perform rigorous cost-benefit analysis of rulemakings, and congressional approval will be needed for any rule that has a significant economic impact. The CHOICE Act also holds bad actors more accountable by increasing penalties for financial fraud and self-dealing.

The comprehensive Financial CHOICE Act will lead to faster economic growth and innovation, reduced moral hazard, better consumer choice and protection and greater regulatory accountability. Simplicity also will lead to more efficient and effective regulatory supervision.

The CHOICE Act represents a better solution to bolster our capital markets and restore our banks as nurseries of national wealth so this great nation will continue to prosper.

Tags: Arkansas, representative French Hill, AR-02, article, Time to End, Dodd-Frank’s Stranglehold on Economy, American Banker To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Providing Discretionary Funds Instead of Performing Meaningful Budgeting

Rainy Day Deception Part 3

Never, never, never rely on the title of Arkansas legislation!

For example, fiscal conservatives learned the hard way after relying on the title of Senator Jim Hendren’s SB343 of 2015 which said it was prohibiting the establishment of an Arkansas-based Obamacare Exchange, but Hendren’s legislation still allows the creation of such an exchange and, in addition, the agency created to establish a state based Obamacare exchange still exists and is still spending money.[i]

by Conduit for Action: The establishment of the “Rainy Day Fund” is another example of a bill with a deceptive title. In the case of the Rainy Day Fund, the deception may have been more of an overstatement. The Rainy Day Fund was proposed as HB1066 of 2007 (Act 1055 of 2007) and the title of the bill read:

AN ACT TO PROTECT THE OPERATIONS OF ESSENTIAL STATE GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS BY ESTABLISHING TRANSFER PROCEDURES TO AND FROM THE ARKANSAS RAINY DAY FUND.

Although the title of HB1066 reflects the concern of legislators at the time, the sponsor, Bruce Malloch, failed to include any limitations on how the fund could be used. This means the Rainy Day Fund can be spent not only to protect “essential services” but also to fund any whim a governor might put on his wish list. To spend the money, the Governor only has state the “need” and the amount to be transferred and request approval from the Arkansas Legislative Council, which has served as a rubber stamp for Rainy Day Fund requests.

In a recent interview on the Paul Harrell Program , David Ferguson, described the environment that produced the Rainy Day Fund. In 2007 the legislature still only met once every two years. A number of legislators had become frustrated over the difficulty of projecting state needs over a two-year period and found it impossible to anticipate the state of the economy two years in advance. Two very different plans came out of the 2007 legislative session.
  • One plan dealt with uncertainty by increasing the power of the Governor by giving him the discretionary fund, the Rainy Day Fund.
  • The other plan sought to provide better state budgeting by asking the people to approve annual legislative sessions and annual budgets.
After the people adopted the amendment for annual budgeting, you might expect the legislature to end or reduce the Governor’s discretionary fund that was created to deal with the two-year cycle. However, that did not happen.

Ferguson also noted the legislature has never taken full advantage of the adoption of annual budgets.  The Democratic majority in 2009 decided to continue making a two-year budget recommendation, and instead of taking a detailed look at the budget for the fiscal session they decided to begin with the recommendation already made for the fiscal year and to just have a short hearing schedule to merely make tweaks in those budget recommendations.

Here’s the situation as we understand it:
  • Once Democrats gave Governor Mike Beebe discretion over tens of millions of dollars, they had not stomach or desire to take back budgeting control.
  • Republicans don’t appear anxious to limit Governor Asa Hutchinson’s control over the discretionary funds.
  • Many politicians are pleased to be able to mislead the people into thinking the Rainy Day Fund is not really general revenues and is instead just some old stack of money that has been gathering dust and is rarely used.
  • Although 46 states have gone to annual sessions, Senator Jim Hendren, nephew of Governor Hutchinson, wants to return to two year budgets without the legislature ever taking full advantage of the opportunity to do detailed budgeting.
  • Legislators got a huge salary increase in 2015 in part because some argued they are now full time legislators, but some do not want to spend more time on budgeting or on having annual sessions because it might turn them into full time legislators.
  • Many state agency budgets are determined by how much of an across the board increase can be given, without an evaluation ever occurring on whether the agency’s programs should continue to grow or be cut back or eliminated.
The Rainy Day Fund was recently renamed the “Long Term Reserve Fund” without any real change being made on how the funds may be used. It is still a rainy day deception. And, it represents the lack of sensible state budgeting.

Republicans are supposed to be more fiscally conservative than their Democrat counterparts, but we are not aware of any move to refine or improve the budget process.  It is a situation we think should be remedied.

For more information, see Rainy Day deception – Part 1 and Save it for a rainy day: Rainy Day Deception Part II.
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[i] AN ACT TO PROHIBIT THE ESTABLISHMENT THROUGH STATE LAW OF A STATE-BASED HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE IN THIS STATE UNDER THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AND THE HEALTH CARE AND EDUCATION RECONCILIATION ACT OF 2010; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

Tags: Conduit for Action, Arkansas, Providing Discretionary Funds, Instead of Performing Meaningful Budgeting To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Governor Hutchinson Announces Appointments

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

Senator Joyce Elliott, Little Rock, to the Southern Regional Education Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2020. Reappointment.

Dr. Rodney Williams, Fayetteville, to the State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Surveyors. Appointment expires July 1, 2020. Reappointment.

Dr. David Beasley, Jonesboro, to the State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Surveyors. Appointment expires July 1, 2020. Reappointment.

Christopher White, Fayetteville, to the Arkansas Alcohol and Drug Abuse Coordinating Council. Appointment expires July 1, 2019. Replaces Tonna Butzlaff.

Reginald Binns, Monticello, to the Arkansas Towing and Recovery Board. Appointment expires June 22, 2019. Replaces Elgie Sims, Sr.

Carrie Meeks, Bentonville, to the Arkansas Towing and Recovery Board. Appointment expires June 22, 2019. Replaces Mary Thoma.

Avon Phillips, Jr., North Little Rock, to the Arkansas Towing and Recovery Board. Appointment expires June 22, 2019. Reappointment.

Dusty Hoskyn, England, to the Arkansas Wheat Promotion Board. Appointment expires on June 30, 2018. Replaces Charles Williams.

John Hamilton, Searcy, to the Arkansas Wheat Promotion Board. Appointment expires on June 30, 2018. Replaces Terry Dabbs.

Timothy Smith, Clarendon, to the Arkansas Wheat Promotion Board. Appointment expires on June 30, 2018. Reappointment.

Jack Evans, Carlisle, to the Arkansas Wheat Promotion Board. Appointment expires on June 30, 2018. Replaces George Toll.

Stephen Higginbothom, Jr., Marianna, to the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. Appointment expires on June 30, 2018. Reappointment.

Rusty Smith, Des Arc, to the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. Appointment expires on June 30, 2018.  Replaces James Carroll.

Douglas Hartz, Stuttgart, to the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. Appointment expires on June 30, 2018. Reappointment.

Shannon Davis, Bono, to the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. Appointment expires on June 30, 2018. Reappointment.    

Kenny Falwell, Newport, to the Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Promotion Board. Appointment expires on July 1, 2018. Replaces Michael Richardson.

Keith Woolverton, Pollard, to the Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Promotion Board. Appointment expires on July 1, 2018. Reappointment.

Jason Felton, Marianna, to the Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Promotion Board. Appointment expires on July 1, 2018. Replaces William Weaver, Jr.

Steve Kueter, Paragould, to the Arkansas Catfish Promotion Board. Appointment expires on June 30, 2018. Reappointment.

Joey Lowery, Searcy, to the Arkansas Catfish Promotion Board. Appointment expires on June 30, 2018. Reappointment.

Brad Graham, Portland, to the Arkansas Catfish Promotion Board. Appointment expires on June 30, 2018. Replaces J. Branton.

Jeffery Baxter, Watson, to the Arkansas Catfish Promotion Board. Appointment expires on June 30, 2018. Reappointment.

David Maple, Bauxite, to the Arkansas State Rehabilitation Council. Appointment expires February 1, 2018. Replaces Glenda Williams.

Tom Masseau, Maumelle, to the Arkansas State Rehabilitation Council. Appointment expires February 1, 2018. Replaces Mandee Harper.

Martha Strother, Little Rock, to the Arkansas State Rehabilitation Council. Appointment expires February 1, 2018. Reappointment.

Mark Scott, Rogers, to the Northwest Arkansas Community College Board of Trustees. Appointment expires December 31, 2016. Replaces Richard Clifton.

Lawrence Ash, Fayetteville, to the Elevator Safety Board. Appointment expires July 1, 2020. Replaces Robert Gram.

Craig Reinhardt, Little Rock, to the Arkansas State Rehabilitation Council. Appointment expires February 1, 2019. Replaces Deborah Wooten.

Josephine Perry, Marshall, to the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors. Appointment expires June 1, 2019. Replaces Patricia Roberts.

Hayden Henningsen, Fayetteville, to the Arkansas State Board of Acupuncture and Related Techniques. Appointment expires July 31, 2017. Replaces Stephanie Bland.

Robert Burns, Beebe, to the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors. Appointment expires June 1, 2019. Reappointment.

Carlos Chicas, Rogers, to the Northwest Technical Institute Board of Directors. Appointment expires June 30, 2021. Replaces Donald Williams.

Wade Radke, North Little Rock, to the Pulaski Technical College Board of Trustees. Appointment expires June 30, 2023. Replaces Ronald Dedman.

David Coker, Walnut Ridge, to the Black River Technical College Board of Trustees. Appointment expires June 30, 2023. Replaces Sue Gibson.

Hugh McDonald, Little Rock, to the Career Education and Workforce Development Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

Jerry Cash, Harrison, to the Career Education and Workforce Development Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

Jenifer Price, Springdale, to the Career Education and Workforce Development Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

Keith Vire, Fayetteville, to the Career Education and Workforce Development Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

David Talley, Magnolia, to the Arkansas Public Defender Commission. Appointment expires July 1, 2021. Reappointment.

Ann Early, Fayetteville, to the State Review Committee for Historic Preservation. Appointment expires June 30, 2020. Reappointment.

Robert Kempkes, Hot Springs, to the State Review Committee for Historic Preservation. Appointment expires June 30, 2020. Reappointment.

Monte Coleman, Pine Bluff, to the War Memorial Stadium Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2023. Replaces Calvin Johnson.

Fred Holzhauer, Evening Shade, to the Ozarka Technical College Board of Trustees. Appointment expires June 30, 2023. Replaces Bob Evins.

David Boling, Jonesboro, as District Judge of Craighead County District Court. Appointment expires December 31, 2016. Replaces The Honorable Curt Huckaby.

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

Governor Hutchinson Issues Statement on Terror Attacks in Nice

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today released the following statement in response to the attack on Nice, France that left 84 dead and over 200 injured:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of the victims and all those affected by the yesterday’s horrific attack in Nice. This cowardly act of terror, targeting crowds of innocent French people as the country gathered to celebrate their independence day, was a direct attack on the values and freedoms that both the French and Arkansans hold dear.

“I speak for all of Arkansas when I say that we stand in solidarity with France against hatred, violence, and terrorism. Our hearts go out to French people as they seek to heal from yesterday’s horrendous attack.”

Flags have been ordered to be flown at half-staff in remembrance of the victims of yesterday’s attack. Flags will remain at half-staff until sunset, July 19, 2016.

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

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Hill Statement on One Year Anniversary of Nuclear Agreement with Iran

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman French Hill (AR-02) released the following statement on the one year anniversary of the president’s nuclear agreement with Iran:

“This administration has given Congress and the American people no shortage of reasons to pan their foreign policy decisions, but, in my view, the Iranian Nuclear Agreement remains the biggest foreign policy blunder of the last eight years. One year after the administration agreed to pay a king’s ransom in exchange for virtually nothing but the word of one of the world’s most dishonest actors, Iran remains an adversary of the West. Whether it’s trading and holding hostages, failing to make good on thirty-five years of claims by victims of the Mullahs murderous rampage, testing long-range ballistic missiles in violation of international law, or their designation in 2015 as the world’s number one state sponsor and financier of terrorism, Iran has made it clear they are not our allies. In short, the Iranian government continues to be an untrustworthy regime, and they dangerous to our strategic missions across the globe.”

Related Videos
Hill: The idea that our government would obligate our tax payers or even possess an option to buy Iranian heavy water in the future is ridiculous.

Hill: Terror Finance Is An important But Less Discussed Part of the War on Terror

Tags: Rep. French Hill, District 2, Arkansas, One year anniversary, Iran, Nuclear Agreement, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Rep. Hill Votes to Increase Funding to Improve Drinking Water Quality in Arkansas

WASHINGTON – Today, after the House passed H.R. 5538, Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, which grant awards for actionable funds under the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund (DWSRF) to help cities and communities with lead in their drinking water address this issue.

A recent report from the National Resources Defense Council, listed eight Arkansas counties for having lead in their drinking water. Following passage of the bill, Congressman French Hill (AR-02) released the following statement:

“Often in the United States, we take our access to clean water for granted, but the reality remains that many Americans don’t have drinking water that meets the acceptable standard for the leading industrialized nation in the world. In Arkansas and across the country, we have seen the dangers of increased lead levels in our drinking water, and I am relieved that my colleagues in the House support efforts that will assist our communities in need as they tackle this challenge.”

H.R. 5538 also contained a provision that would increase EPA Science and Technology by $3 million intended to “help provide fresh drinking water to communities that have been impacted by lead in their drinking water” and would reduce EPA Environmental Programs and Management by $3 million, and another that would eliminate the limitation that 20 percent of funds made available to each state under the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund may be used to provide subsidy for communities in which a state disaster declaration is in effect due to potential exposure to lead in drinking water.

Tags: Rep. French Hill, District 2, Arkansas, increase funding, improve drinking water quality, Arkansas To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Senate Passes Comprehensive Air Travel Bill That Includes Boozman-Authored Provision

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate today passed a comprehensive, bipartisan bill that enhances aviation safety and airport security. The bill includes a provision authored by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that requires the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to reform general aviation medical standards.

The bill, which passed the House of Representatives earlier this week, extends the FAA’s operational authority through September 30, 2017. It enhances air safety and infrastructure security by:
  • Streamlining and improving the air traffic controller hiring process;
  • Requiring comprehensive security assessments for all overseas airports serving the U.S.;
  • Authorizing training, screening equipment donation and cargo program certification for overseas airports to bolster the security standards for flights headed to the U.S.;
  • Requiring a comprehensive strategic framework to identify and address cybersecurity threats to the aviation system;
  • Strengthening mental health screening for pilots; and
  • Expanding the Transportation Security Administration’s Pre-Check program so passengers can move through security lines more quickly.
“As we witnessed with the recent attack at the Istanbul airport, the aviation sector remains a target for terrorists,” Boozman said. “The safety and security provisions in this bill will help protect air travelers from the time they enter an airport on through to their final destination.”

Boozman authored a provision in the bill that allows pilots to fly many types of small, light aircraft without a third class medical certificate. The existing light-sport aircraft program has demonstrated that these changes can occur without compromising safety.

“These reforms are necessary because the FAA has stalled on its pledge to eliminate bureaucratic barriers that ground capable aviators. Over the last decade, 60,000 pilots left the industry, many due to the costly and time consuming process of obtaining paperwork that FAA has acknowledged needs to be changed. Inclusion of my provision in this bill ensures that we can provide safety and eliminate these burdens which have proven unnecessary,” Boozman, a co-chair of the Senate General Aviation Caucus, said.

Under Boozman’s language, pilots will undergo an initial medical evaluation, but it will be easier to maintain their flight status. Pilots will continue to undergo a flight review by a certified flight instructor every two years. During these flight reviews, instructors will still evaluate each pilot’s physical and cognitive condition, as well as his or her ability to safely operate an aircraft. Small aircraft pilots would be required to maintain a valid driver’s license. Limited medical examinations by a personal physician will be required once every four years, but the requirements will be much less burdensome.

Boozman’s efforts have garnered the support of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).

While Boozman’s language has previously passed the Senate, inclusion of it in this bill marks the first occasion where it also has been passed by the House. The bill is now headed to the President’s desk where it is likely to be signed into law.

Tags: Senate, Passes, Comprehensive Air Travel Bill, Includes, Sen. John Boozman, Authored Provision To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Boozman Leads Efforts to Strengthen Broadband in Arkansas

Presses FCC to Close Rural Broadband Gap, Launches Senate Broadband Caucus

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is pushing for increased access to broadband in rural and underserved areas. Boozman helped launch the Senate Broadband Caucus today, one day after pressing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to close the rural broadband gap.

The economic benefits of broadband infrastructure are clear. For every $5 billion invested in broadband infrastructure, 250,000 jobs are created and with every percentage point increase in new broadband distribution, employment expands by 300,000 jobs. Yet, high speed internet is a luxury for most Arkansans. According to the FCC, 84 percent of rural Arkansas lacks access to broadband, which is more than 30 percentage points higher than the national average.

“Connectivity is the vital infrastructure for the modern age. Broadband is an important economic tool and we must provide all Arkansans with this 21st century building block. Linking Arkansans to the internet is a critical to economic driver and especially important to education, healthcare and agriculture. Investing in broadband expansion will strengthen our economy,” Boozman, a leader of the Senate Broadband Caucus, said.

Boozman joins Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) as leaders of the Senate Broadband Caucus. The caucus will focus on strengthening broadband infrastructure and deployment across the country. In addition to addressing broadband challenges facing Americans, the caucus will promote bipartisan discussions about ways to increase connectivity and close the digital divide, especially in rural America. To accomplish these goals, the caucus will engage with a broad range of industries and other stakeholders.

On Monday, Boozman joined efforts urging the FCC to update the Universal Service Fund’s (USF) Mobility Fund, which is aimed at providing broadband service to rural and underserved areas.

In the letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, senators called for the agency to prioritize new mobile broadband deployment in rural areas as well as preserve and upgrade mobile broadband where it is currently available.

“More than ever before, U.S. farmers and ranchers are demanding reliable, high-speed mobile broadband services. Mobility is essential for new precision agriculture technologies to deliver productivity gains and environmental sustainability. These technologies are transforming U.S. agriculture as American farmers and ranchers seek to feed, fuel, and clothe an ever-increasing global population using limited land, water, and other resources,” the senators wrote.

Click here to read the full text of the letter.

Tags: Senator John Boozman, Leads Effort, FCC, strengthen Broadband, Arkansas, Internet To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Hill: Terror Finance Is An important But Less Discussed Part of the War on Terror

Today, prior to the passage of H.R. 5594, the National Strategy for Combating Terrorist, Underground, and Other Illicit Financing Act, Rep. Hill spoke on the House Floor in support of the bill. H.R. 5944 requires the president to develop and publish a whole-of-government strategy to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.



I thank the Chairman for yielding and I thank Mr. Lynch for his important legislation. H.R. 5594, which I stand in support of and as a cosponsor today. I want to thank Chairman Fitzpatrick and Chairman Hensarling for the opportunity to serve on the critical taskforce on terror finance. It is an important but less discussed part of the war on terror.

This War on Terror requires a more nuanced approach to achieve victory than previous U.S. conflicts. It requires the full coordination and collaboration of allied financial, cyber, diplomatic, and military capabilities.

And, one of the most underreported aspects of winning this war has been infiltrating and cutting off sources of funding for terrorist groups.

Like its occasional intermittent engagement, accompanied by long periods of a lack of resolve, and a lack of clear rules of engagement that will produce victory, occasionally this administration has not been consistent in pressing for victory in the war on terror finance. But since San Bernardino and Paris we see the administration aggressively targeting ISIS’s funding sources.

Instead of intermittent, we need a coordinated strategy to combat terror finance between all of our government agencies and with our allies to make sure it is the most effective in countering this menace.

The Financial Crimes and Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, is our Nation’s front line at the treasury for the government-to-government and enhanced government-to-private sector coordination that this national strategy puts in full force.

I was pleased to cosponsor Mr. Lynch’s amendment that was passed in last week’s Financial Services Appropriations legislation that includes an increase for FinCEN’s budget.

I am proud to join my colleague Mr. Fitzpatrick and our committee on this important bill to require the administration to develop a national strategy to combat terrorist, underground, and other forms of illicit finance.

I urge my colleagues to support this important bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.


Tags: U.S. Rep. French Hill, Dist 2, Arkansas, Stopping Terror, Finance important, H.R. 5594 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Griffin Will Seek Re-Election for Lieutenant Governor in 2018

Griffin Wants to Continue 
Bold Conservative Leadership in Second Term
Priorities Continue to Be “Growing Jobs” by
“Reforming Government” and “Improving Education”
and “Caring for Fellow Veterans”

LITTLE ROCK
– Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin issued the following statement announcing that he will seek re-election for office of lieutenant governor:

“I am honored to serve as lieutenant governor, and am humbly asking for the support of my fellow Arkansans for a second term. I am proud of the bold conservative leadership we have shown in the lieutenant governor’s office where we are doing more with less: we cut the budget by more than 15% and reduced the staff by 50% compared to my predecessor. My priorities have been and will continue to be growing jobs especially through reforming government and improving education and caring for fellow veterans. There is much work to be done, and I am asking for your support to allow me to keep working for you.

“I will continue to work to grow good-paying jobs for hardworking Arkansans by advocating for bold comprehensive reform of our entire state government including our tax code and regulatory structure. We have a moral obligation not to waste taxpayer dollars and reform will provide Arkansans with better customer service for less taxpayer dollars. When state government becomes a better steward of taxpayer dollars through reform, money is freed up to lower the tax burden on Arkansans and help Arkansas compete; and fund critical priorities like law enforcement, schools and highways and infrastructure. I will continue to work to improve education by giving Arkansans a choice about where their children attend school and increasing emphasis on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields. Also, I will continue fighting to change our laws so that more veterans want to make Arkansas their home. Specifically, we must provide tax relief for retired veterans to make us competitive with other states in our region, so we can keep the ones who live here and attract more.”

The campaign website is www.TimGriffinforArkansas.com.

About Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin


Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin was elected on November 4, 2014.

From 2011-2015, Griffin served as the 24th representative of Arkansas’s Second Congressional District. In the 112th Congress, he served as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the House Committee on Ethics and the House Committee on the Judiciary. He also served as an Assistant Whip for the Majority. For the 113th Congress, he was a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means while also serving as a Deputy Whip for the Majority. In Congress, he advocated for lower taxes and reducing the national debt. Griffin opposed Obamacare and had 100% NRA and Right to Life ratings.

Griffin has served in the U.S. Army Reserve for over 20 years, was deployed to Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Lieutenant Colonel Griffin is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. He also served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas and Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Political Affairs for President George W. Bush.

Griffin grew up in Magnolia, a fifth generation Arkansan and the youngest son of a minister and teacher. He graduated from Magnolia High School, Hendrix College in Conway and Tulane Law School in New Orleans and attended graduate school at Oxford University in England. His wife Elizabeth is from Camden, and they currently live in Little Rock with their two children, Mary Katherine, 8, and John, 5. They are members of Immanuel Baptist Church of Little Rock.

Tags: Tim Griffin, Arkansas, Lt. Governor, re-election 2018 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Governor Hutchinson Announces Ann Clemmer as Interim Director of ADHE

Ann Clemmer
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today named Ann Clemmer interim Director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) effective upon the departure of Dr. Brett Powell, the current Director of ADHE. Dr. Powell will resign his post effective July 29 to accept the position as Vice President for Finance and Administration at Henderson State University. The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board is currently conducting a nation-wide search to fill the director position at the ADHE. Clemmer will assume the responsibilities of the director until a new director is named.

Governor Hutchinson released the following statement:

“I am pleased to have Ann Clemmer step up to serve as Interim Director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education while we continue the search for a Director. With her 30 years of experience in higher education, I am confident that Ann is well equipped to lead the department forward during this time of transition. I look forward to working with Ann and the future director to ensure that our state higher education institutions have the leadership and expertise they need to effectively fill the needs of the state.”

Ann Clemmer released the following statement:

“It’s been exciting to be a part of the statewide efforts to improve student success in Arkansas. ADHE is leading important initiatives in our state and I am happy to provide leadership continuity during this transition time.”

Ann Clemmer has served as the Senior Associate Director for Academic Affairs at ADHE since 2015. She came to the department with three decades of experience in higher education including time as a faculty member at UALR and as a program director at Arkansas Northeastern College. Clemmer is also a former Arkansas State Representative. During her time in legislature, Clemmer served as Vice-Chair of the House Education Committee and Chair of the Arkansas Legislative Council Education Committee.

Tags: Ann Clemmer, appointed, Interim Director, ASHI, Governor Hutchinson To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.