No New Taxes Placed On E-Cigs In Arkansas

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One of the most positive policy results to come out of the Arkansas legislative session earlier this year was the avoidance of a burdensome new tax on e-cigarette users. It was clear from the beginning of the session that legislators were going to place some type of new regulation and/or tax on the e-cigarette (or “vaping”) industry in Arkansas. As we’ve noted previously, bureaucrats in states across the nation are generally in favor of high taxes on the e-cigarette industry, because it’s … [Read more...]

School Choice Bill Signed By Gov Now Law!

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Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed HB 1552 into law earlier this week, a measure which is noteworthy in that it will introduce market reforms into K-12 education. Patricia Levesque, National Executive Director for Excellence in Education, said in a statement: The Succeed Scholarship Program will expand access and opportunity to a quality education for Arkansas’ most vulnerable students. Parents of children with special needs are often faced with limited options for their children and this program … [Read more...]

Legislature Celebrates “Arkansas Gives Day” With A Crony Capitalism-Themed Party

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Last Thursday was “Arkansas Gives Day”: the General Assembly celebrated by approving a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to give even more taxpayer funding to corporations. Maybe next session the legislature will pass a bill to give tax breaks to brothels on National Abstinence Day! All the irony seemed to be lost on most legislators, as the constitutional amendment lifting a cap in the state budget on Super Project Obligation Bonds passed 70-22. Currently, that cap is … [Read more...]

School Choice Bill Sits on Governor’s Desk

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The Arkansas House and Senate recently passed the first school voucher program in the state’s history. The bill is currently on the Governor’s desk waiting to be signed. From the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice: The Arkansas legislature has passed House Bill 1552, a school voucher for children with disabilities and the state’s first school choice program. The bill, which passed with strong bipartisan support, is now headed to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk. With his signature, … [Read more...]

Religious Freedom Shouldn’t Be Controversial

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Endless lawsuits. State employees refusing to do their jobs. Rampant discrimination. Homophobes run wild. Can one little law send us down the path towards anarchy? Apparently so, if opponents of the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act are correct. As is usually the case with such sky-is-falling rhetoric, the truth in this case is much more boring. I have some experience as an aide to legislators. I’ll let you in on a little secret – it is unusual for politicians to have an original … [Read more...]

Voters Don’t Want State-Run O’Care Exchanges

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A new poll out by the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) shows that setting up state-run Obamacare exchanges is deeply unpopular with voters. That choice -- whether to set up a state-run exchange -- will only become more important this summer, when the Supreme Court decides in King vs. Burwell whether enrollees in a state without a state exchange can still constitutionally receive federal Obamacare subsidies. Currently, Arkansas legislators are postponing a final decision about … [Read more...]

Regulation Freedom Amendment Passes House!

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We wrote earlier this month about the legislators who failed to release state Rep. Grant Hodges’ HR 1031, a resolution that would have urged Congress to pass a Regulation Freedom Amendment, from the House State Agencies Committee. Thankfully, legislators seem to have come to their senses; the bill passed out of the House almost unanimously earlier today. The bill says: WHEREAS, people throughout the country are concerned by the expansion of federal regulation which can endanger economic … [Read more...]

The “Private Option” Is Ending! DHS Says So!

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It’s not been a great legislative session for conservatives opposed to the “private option” Medicaid expansion program, but a bill by Rep. Donnie Copeland about to become law is one bright spot. From Arkansas Online: The state will have to start paying 5 percent of the cost of the program in 2017, and its share will eventually increase to 10 percent in 2020, when Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the state's cost would be more than $200 million In a 21-7 vote, the Arkansas Senate sent House Bill … [Read more...]