Bookout’s Out, Cooper’s In, & ‘Private Option’ Paranoia (Podcast)

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Introducing, a special static-filled edition of The Arkansas Project Podcast! This week we discuss: who will replace Senator Paul Bookout? How will that election impact the future of the 'private option?' And what does Senator Jim Demint think about Arkansas's Medicaid plan? All this and more in this week's edition of The Arkansas Project Podcast. Here are some of the stories we discuss this week: Bookout is out The race to replace Bookout Butch WilKKKins CFC honors conservative … [Read more...]

Butch Wilkins Strikes Back!

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Apparently Rep. Butch Wilkins wasn’t too pleased with my reporting on his admission that he attended a KKK rally in the ‘60s. Wilkins, once again, took to his Facebook page to explain: In fact, our blog is so poorly known and taken unseriously that our Wilkins story was picked up by The Daily Caller -- where it was their 2nd most-read story of the day -- The Huffington Post, Watchdog.org, and even LGBT News! Indeed, the story was so unread and so uninteresting, it only received over 600 … [Read more...]

Talkin’ School Safety & Butch Wilkins With Paul Harrell

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This week on The Paul Harrell Program, Paul and I discuss the latest Dustin McDaniel 'decree' on armed teachers in Arkansas, Butch Wilkins' KKK comments, and more! Hope you enjoy. Click here to listen to our weekly segment. … [Read more...]

Cooper: Transparency, Tax Reform Should Be Priorities for Legislature

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Jonesboro resident John Cooper has announced his intentions to seek election to the state House of Representatives in 2014 in District 59. Cooper challenged incumbent Rep. Butch Wilkins in 2012 (yes, that Butch Wilkins) and lost narrowly. Term limits prohibit Wilkins from seeking re-election. Several factors suggest that Cooper has a good chance to win: in addition to Cooper's narrow loss last year, pro-Obama Democrats are less likely to turn out in 2014 like they did in 2012. These factors … [Read more...]

Arkansas Lawmaker Says He Attended KKK Rally (While Blasting Former Colleague For ‘Racism’)

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Rep. Butch Wilkins (D-Bono) admitted in a Facebook post last week that he attended a Ku Klux Klan rally in the 1960s. According to Wilkins’ post last Sunday, “very much the same words” that were used at the KKK rally were used in a recent guest column in the Jonesboro Sun. That day, former State Rep. Jon Hubbard was the only guest columnist in the local paper. Hubbard is presumably who Wilkins was referring to: The post has since been deleted from Wilkins’s page. After reading Hubbard’s … [Read more...]

Raising the Minimum Wage: Unfair to Working Students And Still a Bad Idea

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The House Public Health Committee is slated to take up Rep. Butch Wilkins’s minimum wage hike tomorrow morning. The proposal would raise the state’s minimum wage from $6.25 to $8.25 -- unless you’re a full-time student who works less than 20 hours a week. Under current law, these students are only entitled to 85% of minimum wage -- Rep. Wilkins’s bill would cut that percentage by 20 points, down to 65%. What would the real effect be for working full-time students? Let’s do some … [Read more...]

Why Hiking the Minimum Wage is Bad for Everyone

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This week, state Representative Butch Wilkins introduced a bill to increase the government-mandated minimum wage from $6.25 to $8.25 per hour -- an increase of 32%. Raising the minimum wage is one of those ideas that sounds great as long as you don’t think about it very much. Perhaps the most immediate consequence for Arkansans will be the artificial spike in prices on consumer goods. How many of you would like to pay 32% more for your meals? But of course you won’t pay exactly 32% more for … [Read more...]

How Arkansas Can Avoid “Flushing People Down the Commode”

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Thanks to all of you who tuned in for our live election night coverage. I have updated that post to now show that Republicans captured 21 of 35 seats in the Arkansas Senate and it appears that they will capture a very, very narrow majority in the House. There is a recount next week in the John Hutchison-LJ Bryant race that will determine the balance of power on the House side. But enough about politics! What type of policy changes are we likely to see in the upcoming legislative session now … [Read more...]