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News and information from Arkansas government agencies and officials.

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Bear Chaney as New Director of Assessment Coordination Department

Published: 02/26/2015

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has announced Bear Chaney as the new Director of the Arkansas Assessment Coordination Department. 

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement on Bear Chaney: 

"I am pleased to announce Bear Chaney as the new director of the Arkansas Assessment Coordination Department. Bear brings decades of experience in real estate and as an assessor. His expertise in the field and his knowledge of Arkansas real estate makes him an ideal fit to lead this important department."

Bear Chaney has worked in the real estate field for over 30 years, working for three different Arkansas Assessor's offices and owning his own appraisal business. He is a licensed and a Certified Residential Appraiser with Arkansas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board in addition to being a Level 4 Appraiser and a reappraisal manager according to ACD guidelines. Bear is currently the Assessor in Benton County and lives in Bella Vista.


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Arkansas State Offices to Close for the Remainder of the Day in Little Rock Metropolitan Area

Published: 02/25/2015

LITTLE ROCK – Due to inclement weather, Governor Asa Hutchinson will close state offices for non-essential personnel in the Little Rock Metro area at 12:00 pm for the remainder of Wednesday, February 25, 2015.

State employees outside of central Arkansas should check with their supervisors for closings.


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Governor Outlines Prison Reform Plans

Published: 02/24/2015

LITTLE ROCK - The governor outlined an ambitious plan to ease prison overcrowding through expansion of existing facilities, construction of regional re-entry centers and strengthening of probation and parole systems. He broke his plan into three parts: adding prison space, improving the parole and re-entry system and providing alternative sentencing for non-violent offenders. A major focus wi...

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Arkansas State Offices to Close for the Remainder of the Day in Little Rock Metropolitan Area

Published: 02/23/2015

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson's office, in conjunction with Acting Governor Tim Griffin, will close all state offices in the Little Rock Metro area immediately for the remainder of the Monday, February 23, 2015.

State employees outside of central Arkansas should check with their supervisors.


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Veteran's Issues Addressed at the Capitol on Veteran’s Legislative Day

Published: 02/21/2015


Veteran's Issues Addressed at the Capitol on Veteran’s Legislative Day


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Laura Labay | laura.labay@sos.arkansas.gov | (501) 580-6430


LITTLE ROCK, Ark., (February 20, 2015) – The Office of Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin organized a special event to enhance relations between Veteran Service Organizations, legislators and state agencies.

According the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs, one million troops will leave the military over the next six years, making this a key issue facing the nation.  

With that in mind, Secretary of State Mark Martin hosted Legislators and Constitutional Officers at the Capitol to enable constructive dialogue between veterans organizations and policy makers. The main focus was to ensure Arkansas has an inviting and competitive climate to attract and retain recently retired and separating veterans.

Secretary of State Mark Martin presented retired United States Air Force Col. Don Berry with a Capitol Citation for his work in advancing veteran’s issues in the legislature and across Arkansas.

Watch the video here.


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Governor Asa Hutchinson Orders Flags Flown at Half-Staff in Memory of Corporal C.G. Bolden

Published: 02/20/2015

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson, in tribute to the memory of Corporal C.G. Bolden – an Arkansas native and American war hero – has directed that the United States flag and the state flag of Arkansas be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on February 21, 2015.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement on Cpl. C.G. Bolden: 

"Corporal Bolden represented the best of America. The return of his remains back to Arkansas after 63 years reminds us all once again of the enormous sacrifice of our men and women in uniform and the sacrifice of their families. We owe them all a debt we can never fully repay. Today, we are honored to recognize Corporal Bolden, a Korean War hero and forever one of Arkansas’s own."

Corporal Bolden:

While serving his country during the Korean War, Cpl.  Bolden, a dedicated and courageous soldier who was deeply loved by his family and many friends, was taken prisoner in South Korea on January 5, 1951. On April 30, 1951, Cpl. Bolden died of starvation while a prisoner of war in the Suan Bean Valley transitional camp.

Cpl. Bolden was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division in the United States Army. He was awarded several medals and honors for his bravery, heroism and faithful service, including the Prisoner of War Medal and Purple Heart.


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Governor Asa Hutchinson Releases Statement on Final Passage of Computer Science Bill (HB1183)

Published: 02/19/2015

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson released the following statement upon final passage of HB1183, which fulfills his campaign promise to provide computer coding classes to all Arkansas high schools:

“I am very pleased that the General Assembly has passed my plan to offer computer-coding classes in high schools across the state. I especially want to thank Rep. Bill Gossage and Sen. Missy Irvin for their leadership in guiding it through the Legislature. By passing this bill, Arkansas will become a national leader in computer-science education, and we’ll be preparing a workforce that’s sure to attract businesses and jobs to our state.

“Of all the big-ticket items we’ve dealt with this legislative session, this relatively small-ticket item may have the greatest long-term impact.” 


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Gov. Hutchinson Applauds Walmart’s Initiative to Raise Pay, Provide Opportunities for Associates

Published: 02/19/2015

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson applauds Walmart’s bold, new initiatives that would, in part, raise pay for all current associates to $9 an hour starting in April and $10 an hour or higher by early next year. Other initiatives announced by the Arkansas-based company and world’s largest retailer include a promise to provide career opportunities for its associates, as well as a commitment to work with their schedules.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“The Walmart story has always been about the American Dream. Sam Walton embodied that dream, building the world’s largest retailer through hard work, vision and exceeding the expectations of his customers. He would be proud of the forward-thinking plan announced by Walmart today to raise the pay of all current associates, provide those who want it the training and clear path to career success and work with associates on schedules that best fit their busy lives. This is especially good news for Arkansas and its 51,000 Walmart associates. 

“Walmart understands that a company is only as strong as its employees. And its visionary new plan makes the company an even stronger, better place to work and advance in a career. I often talk about individuals having the opportunity to climb the economic ladder. Most of us hunger for that chance to earn our success. Walmart provides it.”


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Gov. Asa Hutchinson Announces Gary “Bud” Roberts as New Director of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC)

Published: 02/19/2015

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has announced Gary “Bud” Roberts as the new Director of the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division within DFA. 

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement on Bud Roberts: 

“I am pleased to announce Bud Roberts as the new Director of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Bud’s breadth of experience in Arkansas law, in addition to the knowledge he possesses of the issues related to ABC, makes him the right choice as new director.”

Bud Roberts was founder of the Roberts Law Firm, PA, in Little Rock, where he headed the firm for 19 years. He currently operates a general solo law practice, in Benton. Bud is a graduate of the William H. Bowen School of Law and of LSU, where he studied finance.   


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Legislators File Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Published: 02/19/2015

LITTLE ROCK - In each regular session the legislature may refer up to three proposed constitutional amendments to voters. This year 27 proposals were filed in the House of Representatives and 15 were filed in the Senate. The State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committees of each chamber will begin the task of narrowing the list to three. Among the resolutions filed this year are proposal...

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Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Prison Expansion & Public Safety Plan

Published: 02/18/2015

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson, in a news conference Wednesday morning, announced his Prison Expansion and Public Safety plan to address prison overcrowding and reentry programs.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“As every sheriff and prosecutor will tell you, there is a crying need for more prison space. The lack of bed space in prison has resulted in the current backlog in the county jails, repeat offenders being released on bond because there is no room in the county facility, and continued use of the Emergency Powers Act that provides early release from prison because of overcrowding.

“Arkansas is experiencing a dangerous chain reaction that puts public safety at risk. Until this cycle is broken, the prison overcrowding will jeopardize the other critical budget needs of our state — from education to highways.

“The cycle can only be broken by a three-part approach to criminal offenses: (1) more prison space; (2) a more effective parole and reentry system; and (3) investing in alternative and accountable sentencing programs for non-violent offenders.”


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Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin to Host Veterans Service Organizations at the Capitol for Veteran’s Legislative Day

Published: 02/17/2015

***MEDIA ADVISORY***

Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin to host Veterans Service Organizations at the Capitol for Veteran’s Legislative Day

February 17, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Laura Labay | laura.labay@sos.arkansas.gov | (501) 580-6430

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., – The Office of Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin is hosting a special event to enhance relations between Veterans Service Organizations, legislators and state agencies.

WHAT: Arkansas Veteran’s Legislative Day

WHEN: Thursday, February 19th, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WHERE: Second Floor Capitol Rotunda, Arkansas State Capitol Building

According to the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs, one million troops will leave the military over the next six years, making this a key issue facing the nation.  

With that in mind, Secretary of State Mark Martin will host Legislators and Constitutional Officers at the Capitol to enable constructive dialogue between veterans organizations and policy makers. The main focus is to ensure Arkansas has an inviting and competitive climate to attract and retain recently retired and separating veterans.

Secretary of State Mark Martin will take approximately ten minutes to honor retired United States Air Force Col. Don Berry, an instrumental voice in advancing veteran’s issues in the legislature and across Arkansas. 

Following Secretary Martin’s presentation and speech, Lt. Governor Tim Griffin will address attendees and make remarks about veteran’s issues in Arkansas. 

WHAT: Secretary of State Mark Martin to present Capitol Citation to Veteran, Lt. Governor Tim Griffin to address veterans in attendance

WHEN: February 19th from 10:00 a.m. to 10:20 a.m.

WHERE: Second Floor Capitol Rotunda, Arkansas State Capitol

Col. Don Berry is retired from the United States Air Force; Col. Berry spent 30 years in the service with assignments across the globe. He spent time as an airlift pilot, operations officer, and a commander of three squadrons during Desert Storm. Col. Berry and his wife of 40 years, Martha, are now retired and living in Sherwood, AR. 

 


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Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Hirings at the Arkansas Department of Human Services

Published: 02/13/2015

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has announced four new hires to the Arkansas Department of Human Services. They are as follows:

  • Mark White, Deputy Director at DHS
  • Craig Cloud, Director of the Division of Aging and Adult Services at DHS
  • David Sterling, Director of the Office of Policy and Legal Services at DHS
  • Patricia Nation, Director of Client Protection and Advocacy at DHS

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“I am very pleased to announce the hirings of Mark White, Craig Cloud, David Sterling and Patricia Nation to four important positions at the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

“Mark has been chosen as one of the agency’s two deputy directors. He previously served as the DHS chief counsel and as its Director of the Office of Policy and Legal Services. His leadership, effective legal counsel and experience at DHS and in state government make him ideal for this position.

“Craig is the new director of the DHS Division of Aging and Adult Services. He has spent most of his career serving the elderly and those with disabilities, and his compassion and experience will serve the state well.

“David has a wealth of legal experience and is ideally suited to his new post as Director of the Office of Policy and Legal Services, replacing Mark White. David is well respected in judicial circles and has a background in city government and working with the Legislature as well.

“Patricia’s breadth of legal experience handling civil and criminal cases at every judicial level combined with her skills as a communicator and her knowledge of Arkansas make her an excellent fit as the DHS Director of Client Protection and Advocacy.

“I’m confident each of these individuals will support fiscally responsible policies as they bring critical thinking and experience to DHS. We are lucky to have them at this essential state agency.”


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Sculpture Unveiled at Capitol in Honor of Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday

Published: 02/12/2015

February 12, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Laura Labay

laura.labay@sos.arkansas.gov        

(501) 580-6430

Sculpture Unveiled at Capitol in Honor of Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday

LITTLE ROCK, ARSecretary of State Mark Martin invites Arkansans to the Capitol February 12 for an unveiling of a hand-sculpted bust of Abraham Lincoln in honor of the 16th President of the United States 206th birthday.

The larger-than-life equestrian sculpture will be on display on the second-floor of the Rotunda in the Arkansas State Capitol through spring.

Previously, it was on display at the Lincoln Boyhood Museum in Hodgenville, KY, the Donald W. Reynolds Library in Mountain Home as well as Harding University in Searcy.

Sculptor Ron Moore is from Mountain Home, Arkansas. During his research process he found no shortage of likenesses of Lincoln; he was photographed periodically throughout his political career, from the 1840s to 1865, and life masks were created by sculptors in 1860 and again in 1865.  Ron indicates that, “trying to capture his personality was a rewarding experience and working without a customer or a deadline provided … artistic freedom.”

 

 

 

 

 


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Legislature Enacts Broad-Based Income Tax Reduction

Published: 02/12/2015

LITTLE ROCK - The Senate gave final approval to a broad income tax reduction proposed by the governor, which will save middle class wage earners about $102 million a year when it takes full effect. Considering it will benefit an estimated 600,000 people, it is likely to be the signature accomplishment of the 2015 legislative session. Besides reducing income tax rates for people who earn betwe...

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AHECB reviewed Mid-South Community College merger with Arkansas State University System

Published: 02/11/2015


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Gov. Hutchinson Announces Governor’s Council on Common Core Review; Lt. Governor Griffin to Chair

Published: 02/11/2015

LITTLE ROCK – In a news conference Wednesday morning, Governor Asa Hutchinson followed through on another campaign promise by announcing the formation – through executive order – of the Governor’s Council on Common Core Review. The Council will be chaired by Lt. Governor Tim Griffin, who joined Governor Hutchinson at the news conference.

The 16-member Council will be comprised of educators, parents, business leaders, and students from all over the state – all of whom will be appointed by the governor. The Governor’s Office will be accepting online applications through February 20 from those who would like to serve on the Council. Please visit www.governor.arkansas.gov to fill out an application. Council members will be announced in early March. The Council will be asked to provide initial recommendations in the early summer and later recommendations in the fall.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“We are looking for Arkansans who are committed to high standards in education and who have experience with the Common Core, including educators, parents, business leaders and students.

“I’ve asked the Lieutenant Governor to head the Council as I know he believes in high academic standards and has a vested interest in the success of Arkansas’s students. I recognized early on that I wanted to utilize the talents of Lieutenant Governor Griffin. He has been a partner with me as we proceeded with the tax initiative and other legislation. This was a natural follow-up.”

Lt. Governor Griffin issued the following statement:

“I am honored that Governor Hutchinson has chosen me to lead his Council on Common Core Review and that he has given me the opportunity to serve. I have a deep and abiding passion for education, not only as an elected official, but as an Arkansan and the father of two young children in the Little Rock public school system. As Chair of the Governor’s Council, my first priority is to listen: I look forward to hearing from my fellow Arkansans, and I am ready to get to work.”

 


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Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Directors of ADEQ, Veterans Affairs & Securities Commissioner

Published: 02/10/2015

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has announced Becky Keogh as Director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), Lt. Colonel Matt Snead as Director of the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs and Edmond Waters as Commissioner of the Arkansas Securities Department.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement on Becky Keogh:

"As Arkansans, we are blessed to live in such a beautiful state with abundant natural resources. With it comes the responsibility of preserving and protecting them for the next generation. Becky Keogh understands that we are the Natural State for good reason, and she has a wealth of knowledge and experience from both the regulatory and business perspective. That’s why I am pleased to announce her as the new Director of ADEQ. Her background, knowledge of the issues, and love of this state make her an ideal choice, who will bring balance and common-sense leadership to ADEQ.”

Becky Keogh is a former Deputy Director at Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.  She currently serves as Regulatory and Environment Manager for BHP Billiton, a global resources company. Prior to that, she was a Vice President and Senior Project Manager for CH2M HILL, an international environmental and engineering consulting firm.  She served as a commissioner of the Arkansas Geological Commission from 2006-2009 and, under the former Governor Mike Huckabee, served as Deputy Director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality from 1996 to 2006.  Becky is a graduate of the University of Arkansas in Chemical Engineering.  She will relocate to Little Rock from Houston, Texas.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement on Lt. Colonel Matt Snead:

“I am pleased to announce Lt. Colonel Matt Snead as the new Director of the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs. Lt. Colonel Snead’s understanding of the issues facing veterans, in addition to his experience in state government, has prepared him well to lead this critical department.”

Lt. Colonel Matt Snead is a 16-year veteran of the Arkansas National Guard, and plans to continue his service as a traditional Guardsman. He currently serves as the state public affairs officer for the nearly 10,000 soldiers and airmen of the Arkansas National Guard. Prior to that, he served for five years as the first legislative liaison for the Guard. He has held a number of command and staff positions, which includes a deployment to Iraq as a plans officer in 2007. Matt is a graduate of Henderson State University. He lives in Little Rock.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement on Edmond Waters:

“It pleases me to name Edmond Waters as Commissioner of the Arkansas Securities Department. Edmond brings vast experience and knowledge to the job, and his understanding of the issues and background in finance will serve him well in this key post in my administration.”

B. Edmond Waters is a former vice president of A.G. Edwards & Sons where he enjoyed a 21-year career as branch manager and financial advisor in the Ft. Walton Beach, FL and Destin, FL branches. Prior to that, he was self-employed in his native Helena-West Helena, AR. Edmond is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He lives in Little Rock.


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Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Five Appointments

Published: 02/10/2015

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

Bill Benton, Heber Springs, to the Arkansas State Police Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2016. Replaces Wallace Fowler.  

Randy Wolfinbarger, Eureka Springs, to the State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Replaces Barbara Harvel.

Doyle Yates, Springdale, to the Arkansas Real Estate Commission. Appointment expires December 31, 2017. Replaces Allen Trammell.

Chris Gardner, Jonesboro, Special Associate Justice to Arkansas Supreme Court. CV-14-434.

Dustin Jones, Jonesboro, Special Associate Justice to Arkansas Supreme Court. CV-14-648.


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Senate Passes Governor's Plan to Reform Medicaid

Published: 02/09/2015

January 30, 2015 LITTLE ROCK - The Senate approved the governor's bill to initiate broad reforms of the Medicaid system. It was the second major victory for the governor in the Senate, which earlier had passed his bill to cut income taxes on middle class wage earners. Both the Medicaid overhaul plan and the income tax legislation are now in the House of Representatives. Senate Bill 96 crea...

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Governor Asa Hutchinson Releases Statement on Passage of SB96 & SB101

Published: 02/05/2015

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson released the following statement upon passage of the Arkansas Health Reform Act of 2015 and the appropriation for the Division of Medical Services:

“The vote in the House today on the Health Reform Task Force bill and accompanying appropriation was a bipartisan effort and represents the right step forward as we seek ways to best reform Medicaid in Arkansas.

“I am grateful for the confidence that the legislature has placed in the task force and the opportunity it represents to guide the future of health care reform in Arkansas.”


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Governor Asa Hutchinson Releases Statement on Tax Cut Passage; Details Bill Signing

Published: 02/05/2015

LITTLE ROCK – Nearly three months to the day after being elected, Governor Asa Hutchinson’s campaign promise to cut $100 million dollars in taxes for the state’s middle class is now a reality.

Governor Hutchinson released the following statement upon final passage of SB6, the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2015, which would lower the income tax rate for middle class Arkansans:

“I want to thank the legislators for their diligent work in passing this tax cut for working Arkansans. I am especially grateful to the leadership of both houses for their efforts on this bill. They truly did the work of the people — and the people of Arkansas will benefit. 

“This is an encouraging first step in making Arkansas’s income tax rates more competitive with surrounding states, which will only enhance our reputation as a state that is eager to attract and accommodate new jobs and businesses. Arkansas has been an island of high taxation for too long, and I’m pleased that we are doing something about that.”

SB6 now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature. Details for the press conference and bill signing are below.


WHAT:           $100 Million Income Tax Cut 
                      Press Conference & Bill Signing

WHEN:          11:00 am, Friday, February 6, 2015

WHERE:       Governor’s Conference Room, Arkansas State Capitol


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Italian Ambassador Bisogniero Visits Arkansas

Published: 02/04/2015

February 3, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Laura Labay, (501) 580-6430

laura.labay@sos.arkansas.gov                 

 

Italian Ambassador Bisogniero Visits Arkansas

Met With Governor Hutchinson and

Secretary of State Mark Martin

 

LITTLE ROCK, AR – Secretary of State Mark Martin welcomed Claudio Bisogniero, Ambassador of Italy to the United States, to Arkansas this morning as part of the Ambassador’s multi-state trip. Ambassador Bisogniero met with Secretary Martin and Governor Asa Hutchinson to promote business, cultural, and scientific ties with Italy, and to raise awareness about the Expo Milan 2015 and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

“As we continue to explore opportunities to grow and diversify our economy, strengthening our relationships with trade partners will prove to be an invaluable asset. I welcome Ambassador Bisogniero to our beautiful state and can’t wait to discuss ways to increase the mutual benefits our countries can provide each other,” Secretary Martin stated.

During his tour of Arkansas, Ambassador Bisogniero plans to address students and Italian researchers at local schools and universities.

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To see pictures of the Ambassador's visit click here



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Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Six Appointments to Boards & Commissions

Published: 02/03/2015

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

Denny East, Marion, to the Arkansas Racing Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2020. Replaces Thomas Akin. 

Joe Whisenhunt, Conway, to the University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees. Appointment expires January 14, 2022. Replaces Robert Adcock.

Chuck Graham, Lonoke, to the State Crime Lab Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2022. Replaces J. Fairley.

Stephen Whitwell, Little Rock, reappointment to Arkansas Cemetery Board. Appointment expires January 15, 2019.

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

David Sterling, Little Rock, Special Associate Justice to Arkansas Supreme Court. CV-14-618

 


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Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Nine Appointments

Published: 01/30/2015

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

David Nelson, Magnolia, to the Southern Arkansas University Board of Trustees. Appointment expires January 14, 2020. Replaces James Freeman.

Jay Brain, Rogers, to the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics Commission. Appointment expires November 9, 2019. Replaces Marion Burton.

Chris Weiser, Magnolia, reappointment to the Oil and Gas Commission. Appointment expires February 20, 2021.

James Freeman, Texarkana, appointment to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2019. Replaces Stephen Edwards.

Stan Green, Fayetteville, appointment to Arkansas Development Finance Authority. Appointment expires January 14, 2019. Replaces William Cone.

Sarah Capp, Ozark, Special Associate Justice to Arkansas Supreme Court.

James Arnold II, Fort Smith, Special Associate Justice to Arkansas Supreme Court.

Warren Dupwe, Jonesboro, Special Associate Justice to Arkansas Supreme Court.

Steve Goode, Vilonia, Director of Arkansas Tobacco Control


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Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Budget Highlights & Promises Kept

Published: 01/27/2015

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson’s balanced budget for 2015-2017 biennium returns $100 million to middle-class Arkansans while providing funding for new priorities, existing programs, and essential state services.

In addition, the balanced budget keeps campaign promises made by the governor on education, public safety, taxes and economic development while finding new savings and efficiencies in state government.

PROMISES KEPT

Governor Hutchinson's balanced budget:

  • Meets the adequacy requirements for funding K-12 public schools. (The governor will work with legislators to assess additional needs for state pre-K programs. This is in addition to a four-year, $60-million federal grant the state has earmarked for pre-K.)
     
  • Provides incentive for schools to offer computer-science courses by creating a $5 million Computer Science Initiative Grants program with general improvement funding.
     
  • Increases funding by $1 million for Drug Treatment Courts, including Veterans' treatment drug courts, and $300,000 for successful prisoner re-entry programs.
     
  • Directs an additional $11.4 million to county jails to reimburse them for housing state prisoners. (The budget also raises the reimbursement rate from $28 to $30.)
     
  • Fulfills the commitment to maintain Higher Education spending.
     
  • Provides a cost-of-living adjustment for state employees.
     
  • Cuts middle-class income taxes, returning some $100 million to 500,000 Arkansans.
     
  • Maintains a balanced budget.

NEW EFFICIENCIES

Governor Hutchinson's balanced budget:

  • Reduces the budgets of most state agencies by 1 percent in FY 2016.
     
  • Secures an additional $5 million in ongoing general revenue by redirecting one-half of the special revenue assessment (9 mils) on natural gas production.
     
  • Redirects $2 million from the Tobacco Settlement Funds to Medicaid.
     
  • Transitions the Office of Health Information Technology to a self-funded model by FY 2017 as provided for in the law, resulting in eventual savings of $2.2 million.
     

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Restoration Efforts at the Capitol Uncover Significant Find

Published: 01/27/2015

Restoration Efforts at the Capitol Uncover Significant Find

(January 26, 2015) Little Rock, Ark. – Secretary of State Mark Martin announces workers involved in a restoration project currently underway at the Capitol make a significant find under decades of paint.

Scagliola- a decorative faux marble plaster – was widely utilized by artists in the early 1800s. Much of the original scagliola throughout the Capitol was replaced with genuine marble before the building’s completion.  However columns and pilasters in the House chamber, as well as sixteen first-floor rotunda columns, retained their scagliola surfaces.  At some unknown date, and for some unrecorded reason, these half-fluted columns were painted white.  Then, over the next several decades, they received additional coats of paint.

In the coming months, careful restoration by skilled conservators of Evergreene Architectural Arts of New York plan to continue uncovering and restoring the long-unseen lustrous scagliola surfaces.

Another interesting facet to the project is use of an environmentally friendly soy-based paint stripper.  By incorporating this product into the process, toxic fumes and by products are eliminated, enabling the project to go on during the day.  This allows the many visitors to the Capitol to observe these artisans in action.

Currently, the project is on track for an estimated completion date near the end of February. 


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Senate Approves Income Tax Cut for Middle Class

Published: 01/27/2015

January 23, 2015 LITTLE ROCK - In a unique and historic vote the Arkansas Senate approved a middle class tax cut in the opening days of the legislative session. In living memory, the Senate has never passed one of the signature bills so early in a session. Important fiscal legislation usually will not be considered for a final vote in the Senate until the final weeks of a session in March, bec...

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Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Five Appointments to Boards & Commissions

Published: 01/26/2015

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the following appointments to State boards and commissions:

William “Dubs” Byers, Gould, to the Board of Corrections. Appointment expires December 31, 2021. Replaces Janis Walmsley.

Fritz Kronberger, Russellville, to the Arkansas Tech University Board of Trustees. Appointment expires January 14, 2020. Replaces Tom Kennedy.

Ken Shollmier, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2019. Replaces Eddie Drilling.

Steve Smith, Springdale, to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Replaces Jeff Mitchell.

Shayla Copas, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion Commission. Appointment expires at the Will of the Governor. Replaces Richard Levi.


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Tax Relief Bill Will Save Middle Class $100 Million a Year

Published: 01/22/2015

LITTLE ROCK -About half a million Arkansas taxpayers will save more than $100 million a year under Senate Bill 6, sponsored by the President Pro Tempore and supported by the governor. SB 6 would lower state income tax rates, beginning with wages earned January 1, 2016, for Arkansas taxpayers who earn between $21,000 and $75,000 a year. If your income is between $35,100 and $75,000 a year, sta...

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Transcript of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Healthcare Speech

Published: 01/22/2015

LITTLE ROCK – Below is the transcript of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Healthcare Speech. The letter from HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell is attached.

Governor Hutchinson speech on healthcare and Medicaid reform in Arkansas | January 22, 2015 | 10 a.m. | Jackson T. Stephens Neurosciences Institute, UAMS | Fred Smith Auditorium

Thank you. Thank you, Dr. Rahn for your introduction and especially for your leadership at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and for this forum and this venue to talk about healthcare and its future in Arkansas.

I am delighted that there are a few people interested in this topic. The fact that you're here reflects the importance of this issue for our state, and I'm grateful for your presence here today. I'm particularly glad to see so many legislators that are in the room. I want to recognize Senator Jonathan Dismang for his leadership on the Senate side. He's been a great partner and leader in this effort as well as Speaker Jeremy Gillam. He's done likewise on the House side. He's been a major player in the development of this issue and will be in the future. I also wanted to recognize Senator Cecile Bledsoe, who is the chairman of the Senate Health Committee, as well as Representative Kelley Linck, chairman of the House Health Committee. They have played key roles as we look to this issue and the future. Thank you for your guidance on this issue.

I'm delighted today to introduce the new surgeon general of Arkansas, Dr. Greg Bledsoe. I'm a newly minted governor. He's a newly minted surgeon general. He just got sworn in about 30 minutes ago. Thank you for being here Dr. Bledsoe. You'll be a key advisor on healthcare.

I want to start by thanking the physicians, the nurses and healthcare providers who have labored in the trenches of healthcare in Arkansas, improving our quality of life, working with those who need care. You have been on the front lines. You are committed. You are passionate. And I am grateful for you. And that's important to say at the outset because you came out of your training with a heart for patients, and all of a sudden you find yourself inundated with government regulations and having to spend hours and hours each day and week on matters that do not deal with patient care. And so I am grateful for you. I'm thankful for you and your work, and your sacrifice needs to be recognized.

A college professor that I had always gleefully began each lecture with the phrase, "A moment of review, and then on we go." And that's important in history and it's important today. So I want to spend a moment in review and then we will talk about the future.

It all starts with the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act had four major parts. Very simply articulating it. One, it was the individual mandate that every person had to have insurance. Secondly, it was the employer mandate that employers in a certain category had to provide insurance. The third part of it was the health insurance exchanges in which middle-income earners and others could go in the marketplace and obtain insurance that could be subsidized with taxpayer money. The fourth part of it was the Medicaid expansion, which led us to the debate that we're having today.

I opposed the Affordable Care Act. I did because I thought the individual mandate was an infringement upon freedom. I thought the employer mandate was not good for business and the growth of jobs in America. I thought overall it was taking control away from physicians and healthcare professionals and got the government too much involved.

And guess what? I lost that debate. I urged that the law be challenged. And it was challenged and heard in the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court, to our surprise, affirmed all of the Affordable Care Act except for one part — and that was the Medicaid expansion that was left to the states to debate and determine. And so all those who did not believe it was the right direction for America were left with the frustrating option of: What do we do with this?

Arkansas was at the center of this debate on Medicaid expansion. We came up with our own creative options, and this led to the Private Option solution. It was innovative, and I'll talk about that, but the solution of the Private Option has divided our state and dominated the political debate.

My nephews illustrate that. I have two nephews in the General Assembly. Both are conservatives. Both are thoughtful. One voted for the Private Option. One voted against it. Now, that could have been mirrored all across the legislature.

This morning, I want to share my perspective on the Private Option. I want to talk about its benefits, its future costs to the state. I want to talk about the profile of those on the Private Option, and then I want to talk about where we go from here. 

Now I know you came here today to hear one simple statement as to where we go from here. Please be patient. Because the facts and the data are important as to the direction we'll go. I want to spend some time on the background of this, and the pros and cons, because it helps shape the debate for the future

Let's look at the Private Option. It is innovative. The sponsors of the Private Option legislation should be recognized for their hard work in fighting for a solution with market principles. There are conservative principles in play. 

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, in a famous decision, described how the states are laboratories of experiment, laboratories of democracy, places to look at innovative ideas. That is appropriate and that's what we have done in Arkansas

But those who opposed the Private Option were just as equally committed. They had a different perspective. They were wise in asking questions about the costs. They were wise in wondering whether the federal government could keep its promises. And whether the state of Arkansas could afford this innovation and expanded healthcare. 

Two sides of the same debate coming from good directions, conservative convictions, reaching different conclusions. I recognize that good people were on both sides of this debate and were struggling with how the state should navigate this issue. 

Over time, it became clear once the Private Option had been implemented that there were two key benefits: One is the obvious. We have approximately 210,000 individuals in Arkansas who have never had health insurance before and now have access to healthcare and insurance. That is a benefit to the state of Arkansas. Secondly, you have a benefit to urban hospitals, such as UAMS, and rural hospitals all across this state. Those two benefits are facts that we cannot deny, should not deny, and should rejoice in.

The facts pertaining to those benefits are these: There has been a 10-percent drop in the uninsured in Arkansas; Arkansas hospitals saw a reduction of $69 million in uncompensated care during the first half of 2014 compared with the same period of time in the previous year. Many of these rural hospitals, by the way, are listening today to this by remote broadcast. I welcome them. I have been to your communities  and understand what you have communicated to me as to the importance of the Private Option and the economic viability of the hospital that serves your community.

The number of hospital visits by uninsured patients fell by some 47 percent. These equate to greater financial benefits to our rural hospitals. The state has also been a beneficiary of the Private Option in terms of shifting more of the Medicaid costs to the federal government. It's still taxpayers' money. But it's been a shift of cost and a benefit to our budget.

In 2015, the state is going to save roughly $88 million, which is a combination of shifting traditional Medicaid in some categories to the Private Option, which is 100 percent paid for at the present time. It is also a savings because the reduction of uncompensated care payments to several agencies — from UAMS to the Department of Correction, the Department of Health, Community Health Centers — have saved the state about $33 million.

All of that is taxpayers' money. But it has been a benefit to the state of Arkansas in terms of our budget.

But the long-term costs and the funding remain legitimate questions. And the facts are that the required match of 10 percent for the Private Option, when it becomes the responsibility of the state, will cost the state over $200 million. To put that into context, that's two $100 million prisons. Now that doesn't get anybody excited. But that $200 million is almost one-third of the budget for all state higher-education institutions. And so there are budget consequences real to our institutions and other services. 

And then there are unintended consequences to the Private Option. I don't know that anybody anticipated that parolees coming out of prison are put on the Private Option. That's a good thing. But it is not something that was talked about or we were aware of in the beginning. We were not aware that many charitable healthcare programs in this state would no longer exist. One was called Operation Walk, in which surgeons donated a weekend to provide free knee and hip surgeries to those who had no insurance and could not afford them. It is the finest tradition of the medical profession. Arkansas was among the nation's leaders in the number of free surgeries our doctors provided. This past December, there was no Operation Walk in Arkansas. Why? Because the Private Option made it unnecessary and irrelevant.

This story is the same across Arkansas. What once was done by medical volunteers was transferred to the government. Now some see this as a good thing, that the government can do it well. It takes the burden off our medical professionals who are volunteering so much time. Others worry about this shift to the government sector.

But most importantly as we look at the Private Option and the impact of it, whether you are for or against the Private Option, there is a deep and abiding concern for those without health coverage. In other words, the human side tugs at our heartstrings and rightfully is a factor in this debate.

Donna Foster is a 44-year-old mother of two who makes $8.65 an hour as a caregiver attendant for the elderly in Morrilton. She typically works 40 hours a week. She is a single mother. She divorced when her now-grown children were small. For at least 10 years, she could not afford health insurance.

Donna suffered from high-blood pressure. She was able to purchase generic blood pressure medicine, but she often could not afford the $186 it cost for an office visit and checkup. She suspected that her blood sugar was high. Donna was supposed to be tested for diabetes. She couldn't afford that either.

Recently, she secured health insurance through the Private Option. The first thing she did was go back to her doctor, get back on her blood pressure medication and get tested for diabetes. She tested positive, and now she is being treated for it. Health insurance made a difference in her life. And it most likely saved future medical costs to the state of Arkansas.

This debate that we are going through is not unusual in American politics: Do the benefits that we recognize exist outweigh the costs? While the question was basic, a divide was created in our state.

Over the course of the past two years, our state has been wrapped around the political axle. The phrase Private Option itself has become politically toxic, so much so that it's almost impossible to have a constructive conversation about healthcare reform without passions rising and folks taking sides. 

Ladies and gentlemen, debate is good. Conviction is good. But let's remember what we are trying to do here — and that is to build a healthy Arkansas. Not to politicize a phrase to the point where its very utterance becomes an invitation to fight. My goal is to broaden the debate to the larger Medicaid budget. 

To accomplish that, we have to reach agreement on a comprehensive reform that works for the state of Arkansas. The goal is to have affordable, competitive, market-based solutions on the conservative principles of choice, competition, improved quality of care and consumer responsibility. To accomplish that, we have to reach agreement. The challenge for us in Arkansas and in this political environment is that agreement is defined by three-fourths vote, or a super-majority, in the Arkansas General Assembly.

Now I mentioned the importance of the profile of those on the Private Option. I've talked about this a long time, and the information was not available until very very recently. Well, now we have some data to share:

About 40 percent of the enrollees, at the time of application for the Private Option, showed no income. That means they were unemployed.

Seventy percent of those on the Private Option were employed at some point in time, which tells me they were trying to get a job. That tells us that most are working but cannot find the steady work that is needed. 

Young people were more likely to have work than those who were over 45. 

Women were more likely to have work than men. This tells us that the older male population should be targeted for work. These might be men who've been laid off or who need to learn new skills to transition into another career. 

It's interesting that 10 percent of those on the Private Option are considered medically frail. And that population seems to me, if the Private Option were to end, would qualify for traditional Medicaid. 

This is all helpful information because it's the data that guides our debate. 

Now let's talk about the future for a moment. A large point of what I'm trying to say is that the Private Option is a small part of the debate and a very large part of the discussion.
(Pie Chart)

Looking to the future. In 2021, when Arkansas pays 10 percent of the Private Option costs, which is over $200 million, that is the red part of the pie. That's been the focus of our debate. But look at the blue? How large that is. And this is the $1.8 billion that's devoted to our traditional Medicaid budget.

So if we're going to look at the future costs to this state, would it not be wise to focus on the entire pie?

If you combine the data of the profile of the participants with the knowledge that our future liabilities as a state are dependent on the entire Medicaid budget, then you have a starting point for future reform.

I believe that there are some principles that should frame the debate. One of them is work and responsibility. I want our social programs in Arkansas to be an incentive for people to work as opposed to an incentive for people not to work. Arkansans want to work. And when they work, they should get ahead. And when they work real hard, they should climb up the economic ladder. I believe the vast majority of Arkansans want to work. Nobody who's able to work wants to stay on government healthcare. They want a job. And while it's encouraging to see so many folks now insured who did not have health insurance before, I'd like to see us reduce that number. And we can reduce that number as we move people to work and they move up the economic ladder.

Secondly, we need to have incentives for preventive care. People need to own more responsibility for their healthcare decisions. They need to be engaged in preventive care.

We need to emphasize the role of the private sector and charity care. It is not any group's responsibility. It is all of ours collectively. And there is a role for charity care, too.

As a rural state, there has to be access to healthcare in the rural areas. And that involves telemedicine so we can make sure that those in the less-affluent areas of our state have access to the highest quality healthcare. Through telemedicine a knee or hip specialist or neurologist in Little Rock or Northwest Arkansas can be brought to somebody in the Delta. We can share our expertise across the state. We have to continue to use technology to assure quality healthcare.

Another principle that should guide us is cost control. Look at the history of the cost of our social programs. Fifty years ago this summer, the Medicare and Medicaid programs were signed into law by President Johnson. Nobody, not even conservatives, thought those two programs would grow so uncontrollably. In fact, in 1965, Medicare had been projected by a House Committee to cost $12 billion by 1990. What did it actually cost? $110 billion. How's that for government estimates?

Meanwhile, costs for individual and group insurance have skyrocketed. Many people cannot afford insurance and they go without health care. For that reason, some 60 percent of personal bankruptcies filed in this country result from medical bills.

Clearly, our healthcare system needs more attention and continued efforts at reform. 

And finally, and very importantly, we need to have flexibility at the state level, the laboratory of innovation.

So today in Arkansas we are at a juncture. Which way do we go? We recognize the hospitals and healthcare providers cannot face a traumatic cliff every year when it comes to renewing the Private Option. We need more consistency. We need more reliability. We need more predictability. So that we can plan.

Secondly, we want to have a healthcare system that we can afford, that we know is not going to absorb greater and greater amounts of general revenues. We want to have a system that looks for a way to help those Arkansans who are covered by the Private Option and assure access to healthcare in the future for those.

We are Arkansans. And we look out for each other.

Just days after the election, I received a letter from a woman named Christine Smith, who lives in Fayetteville. Christine began: "I am writing to you as an Arkansan, but more importantly, as the mother of a 19-year-old son who has just been diagnosed with cancer."

Christine's son went in for a regular physician's visit when the doctor noticed that his neck felt a little swollen. They ran some tests and discovered that the boy had a tumor. They performed surgery to remove the tumor and followed up with treatment.  

It worked. Christine's son is now finished with his treatment. He's feeling well. And he's now a student at the University of Arkansas studying environmental science.

When I received Christine's letter and heard this story, I immediately thought she must have been insured through the private option as she urged me to keep it for the "health of the citizens of Arkansas." 

But the Smiths already had insurance. She was writing because while she was going through this ordeal she "couldn't imagine how families do it who don't have coverage." That's just like an Arkansan — to think about others.

I want to assure Mrs. Smith, and all Arkansans, that I want us to have a system that is compassionate, affordable, fits Arkansas and provides access to care. 

I agree with you, Christine. 

And now is the time for me to be more specific. As governor, I will ask the legislature to take the following action:

First of all, to fund the Private Option this fiscal year and continue it through December 31, 2016. This avoids harm to the 200,000-plus on the Private Option and it assures our hospitals and provides of financial stability.

Secondly, I'm asking the legislature to create a Health Reform Task Force that will make recommendations for the future. And the purpose of this task force is to find an alternative health coverage model to ensure healthcare services for vulnerable populations currently covered by the Private Option.

So hear me clearly. We're going to continue the Private Option through 2016 and create a Health Reform Task Force that will make recommendations for the future. And that will include a compassionate and reasonable cost-effective response for care of those currently on the Private Option.

The task force should also be charged with exploring and recommending to the Legislature options to modernize the entire Medicaid program currently serving the indigent, aged and disabled. 

Guidelines should govern any task force. The guidelines I would suggest to the Legislature should include, among others that they very well may add:

  • Minimize or eliminate the need to raise additional general state revenues for continued investment in this. Obviously, you'll want to adjust for inflation but you want to minimize or eliminate the need for the state to raise additional general revenues.
  • More flexibility for managing the state Medicaid program. Flexibility is critical. We fought for that. We want to continue to fight for that. Including consideration for block-grant type waivers or authority so that we can have the maximum amount of flexibility in Arkansas.
  • Strengthen the employer-sponsored health insurance market. 
  • Increase employment of healthy recipients of taxpayer-funded healthcare services. Encourage work as they receive that benefit. Increase accountability and personal responsibility.
  • And, finally, provide access to health services in rural areas of the state.

These are some of the guidelines that should govern the task force as it goes to work. The timing of this task force is urgent. It's critical. And it's got to move quickly, although thoughtfully and comprehensively. A report will be required from this task force by the end of 2015. They go to work, and by the end of 2015, we've got to have some answers back and some recommendations because we need to allow time for legislative action so that we will have clear direction for our hospitals, our providers, and those who are currently covered. This would allow time to request waivers and necessary approvals from the federal government as well.

We should have our solutions in place by December 31, 2016. I will further direct the Department of Human Services to immediately begin an assessment of opportunities to reform our Medicaid services to better serve our high-cost, high-need populations. And, secondly, to utilize private sector expertise to identify and prevent waste, fraud and abuse in our Medicaid services.

This information from the Department of Human Services will be beneficial to the legislative task force. Data will drive solutions.

Now let me emphasize: In regard to the Private Option, it is time to close this chapter and to start a new one. It is a new day for healthcare in Arkansas. I pledge to work with you to find the right solution for all of Arkansas. And while we are turning the page, and beginning a new effort, our innovative efforts in Medicaid reform will continue.

I want to end by talking about the recent meeting that I had with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell in Washington, D.C. This was an important meeting. And as we met with Secretary Burwell, we made the case that we needed more flexibility in Arkansas to determine our own direction.

Earlier today, I recieved a letter from Secretary Burwell. In summary, she says "I was pleased to learn of your commitment to an effective and affordable approach to coverage for the newly covered adults beyond the current three-year term of Arkansas's Health Care Independence Program demonstration for Private Option and to also move forward on major delivery-system reforms that would apply to the larger Medicaid population."

She goes on to say, "We also understand your desire to encourage employment, and we commit to work with you on how you might achieve this objective while ensuring access to health coverage to eligible individuals." She goes on to say, "We appreciate and support your desire to avoid a piecemeal approach to reform and look forward to working with you on a potential, broad block of changes that could lower costs and improve access and quality in ways that best meet the needs of your state."

I'm gratified that there is an increasing willingness to give the state flexibility.

I noticed that there was not resounding applause at any point during the speech, and I think that simply means that we recognize how important it is. 

We're going to do something great for those in need of healthcare. We're going to set the stage.

I'm an optimist. I'm an optimist that the people in this room will work together to do great things.

Thank you.

 


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Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Five Appointments to Boards & Commissions

Published: 01/19/2015

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has announced the following appointments to State boards and commissions:

John Belken, Little Rock, to the Parole Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2022. Replaces Dennis Young.

Dale Douthit, Russellville, to the Workers Compensation Commission. Appointment expires December 5, 2020. Replaces Arthur Bell.

Mike Roberts, Little Rock, reappointed to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2019.

Bob Williams, Nashville, to the Arkansas Rural Development Commission. Appointment expires December 31, 2019. Replaces Marvin Exum.

Warren Plyler, Hope, reappointed to the Red River Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2022.


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Historic 90th General Assembly Convenes

Published: 01/15/2015

LITTLE ROCK - When the 90th General Assembly of the Arkansas legislature officially convened at the state Capitol on January 12, it ushered in historic changes in leadership of state government. However, the new leaders of Arkansas will face many old, familiar challenges. They will have to vote on ways to pay for improvements to school facilities and methods of efficiently operating prisons. ...

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90th ARKANSAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY UNDERWAY

Published: 01/12/2015

For Immediate Release

Contact: Laura Labay

laurallabay@sos.arkansas.gov

Phone: 501-683-3702

 90th ARKANSAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY UNDERWAY

ARKANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE MARK MARTIN TO BE SWORN IN FOR SECOND TERM

(January 12, 2015) Little Rock, Ark.– Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin announces the 90th General Assembly is currently underway. The legislative session began at noon, Monday, January 12, 2015. Pursuant to Arkansas State Law, Secretary Martin introduced the newly elected House and Senate members to the General Assembly.

The following day, Tuesday, January 13, 2015, Secretary Martin will be sworn in for a second term as the Secretary of State of Arkansas.

“I am humbled and overwhelmed by the support I received from Arkansas voters. Thank you for your confidence in my leadership to serve another four years as Secretary of State,” said Secretary Martin. “I will continue to be a good steward of the job entrusted to me.”

The proceedings are open to the public; it is first come first serve. Seating is available in the West Gallery of the House Chamber. The East Gallery will be closed for reserved seating only. The event will stream live courtesy of the House of Representatives.

Please keep in mind parking is congested during the Legislative Session. Parking spaces are reserved with numbers and signs, please only park in slots designated for visitors.

 


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ENERGY EFFICIENCY AT CAPITOL SAVES TAXPAYERS $88,000

Published: 01/12/2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact: Laura Labay

laurallabay@sos.arkansas.gov

Phone: 501-683-3702

 ENERGY EFFICIENCY AT CAPITOL SAVES TAXYPAYERS $88,000

(Jan. 9, 2015) Little Rock, Ark. – Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin received an $88,246.72 check from Entergy Arkansas’s Entergy Solutions Large Commercial and Industrial Program thanks to efficiencies that significantly reduced annual energy consumption, and the operating expenses at the State Capitol Building, resulting in a net savings to taxpayers.

“We will continue to work to preserve the resources of the Natural State at the Capitol by implementing programs to provide both cost savings to taxpayers as well as help to protect the environment,” stated Secretary Martin.

The Entergy Solutions Large Commercial and Industrial Solutions Program helps customers save energy and money by providing technical assistance to identify facility improvement recommendations based on the total amount of energy the higher efficient equipment will save. The Arkansas State Capitol upgrades will save nearly 473,601 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, equal to preventing the annual carbon dioxide emissions from more than 69 cars or 777,552 vehicle miles traveled (VMT), according to Environmental Protection Agency calculations.

“Entergy Arkansas identified a real need for a program specifically designed to assist the State’s commercialand industrial customers to identify and implement savings opportunities via energy efficiency,” said Entergy Customer Service Manager Paul Brewster. “We are pleased to be able to partner with Arkansas Secretary of State on the energy savings projects implemented at the Arkansas State Capitol.”

Among the high efficient items installed in the State Capitol are new high efficiency chillers, variable frequency drives, chiller controls, high efficiency interior lighting, and high efficiency exterior lighting.

 

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Senator Jonathan Dismang's statement on the passing of Senator David Wyatt

Published: 01/12/2015

The news of Senator Wyatt's passing was very sad for all of us who knew him. His Senate family mourns along with Deborah and family at home. His life is one to be celebrated. He was a gentleman of the Senate in the old fashioned sense. His sense of humor, his good-natured temperament, his civility and his humility offered an example to the rest of us, and made the legislature a better place. He ...

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Senator Dismang's statement on the passing of Senator David Wyatt

Published: 01/12/2015

The news of Senator Wyatt's passing was very sad for all of us who knew him. His Senate family mourns along with Deborah and family at home. His life is one to be celebrated. He was a gentleman of the Senate in the old fashioned sense. His sense of humor, his good-natured temperament, his civility and his humility offered an example to the rest of us, and made the legislature a better place. He ...

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90th ARKANSAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONVENES JANUARY 12

Published: 01/08/2015

(January 8, 2015) Little Rock,Ark. – Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin invites Arkansans to the State Capitol to observe the 90th General Assembly. The legislative session begins Monday, January 12, 2015. Pursuant to Arkansas State Law, Secretary Martin will introduce the newly elected House and Senate members certified to the Secretary of State’s office by the County Boards of Election Commissioners.

The proceedings are open to the public; it is first come first serve. Seating is available in the West Gallery of the House Chamber. The East Gallery will be closed for reserved seating only. The event will stream live courtesy of the House of Representatives.

The following day, Tuesday, January 13, 2015, Secretary Martin will be sworn in for a second term as the Secretary of State of Arkansas.

“I am humbled and overwhelmed by the support I received from Arkansas voters. Thank you for your confidence in my leadership to serve another four years as Secretary of State,” said Secretary Martin. “I will continue to be a good steward of the job entrusted to me.”

Please keep in mind parking is congested during the Legislative Session. Parking spaces are reserved with numbers and signs, please only park in slots designated for visitors.

 

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Senator Dismang Appoints Four Assistant Pro Tems

Published: 01/08/2015

LITTLE ROCK - Senator Jonathan Dismang of Searcy, the President Pro Tempore of the Arkansas Senate for the 90th General Assembly, has appointed Senators Cecile Bledsoe of Rogers, Eddie Joe Williams of Cabot, Jane English of North Little Rock and Bobby J. Pierce of Sheridan to be Assistant Pro Tempore during the upcoming biennium. The assistants are chosen from the four Congressional Districts i...

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Legislators Begin Pre-filing Bills Before 2015 Regular Session

Published: 01/05/2015

LITTLE ROCK - Legislators have begun pre-filing bills in anticipation of the regular session that begins January 12. Measures filed in the Senate include a bill to restructure lottery scholarships, in order to maintain the long-term financial viability of the system. Changes to the lottery system are Senate Bills 3 and 5. Also, a shell bill to lower taxes for middle class wage earners has bee...

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New Leadership Taking the Helm of Arkansas Legislature

Published: 01/05/2015

LITTLE ROCK - When the legislature convenes in regular session on January 12, Arkansas will have a new governor for the first time in eight years. Asa Hutchinson is replacing Mike Beebe. The Senate will have four new members - Senator Scott Flippo of Bulls Shoals will represent District 17, Senator Terry Rice of Waldron, District 9, Blake Johnson of Corning, District 20 and Linda Collins-Smith ...

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Rare African-American Doll Collection on Display at Arkansas State Capitol

Published: 12/23/2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Laura Labay

laura.labay@sos.arkansas.gov

Phone: 501-683-3702



RARE AFRICAN-AMERICAN DOLL COLLECTION ON DISPLAY AT ARKANSAS STATE CAPITOL

Arkansas Secretary of State Martin unveils doll exhibit for Christmas season

(December 23, 2014) Little Rock, Ark. – Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin invites Arkansans to view “Living Colors,” an exhibit featured on the first floor of the Capitol. Retired teacher Mrs. Mary E. Swift's rare and extensive doll collection is on display at the Capitol through the end of December.

“Hearing Mrs. Swift’s story about what motivated her to collect African-American dolls, and what they represent to a large swath of our society is very inspiring,” said Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin.

Mrs. Swift’s well-loved and cared for collection includes hundreds of black dolls from antique to modern, American-made and foreign, representing African Americans plus the black populations of Europe, the Americas and Africa itself. There are many rare and renowned dolls in this collection. 

"I started this collection because I wanted little black girls to feel good about themselves, to know that people around the world appreciate them and their culture," said Mary Swift.

Highlights of the display include a selection of vintage jointed composition dolls, a papier-mâché –headed doll dating to the mid-19th century, a selection of Byron Lars-designed collectable Barbies and a family of doll house-scaled figures made in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).  One display case is given over to black Kewpies; their creator, Rose O’Neill, created black versions of the Kewpies before 1920, including them and sympathetic portrayals of black children in her ladies’ magazine pages.

Living Colors will remain on display through December in the Capitol’s first-floor exhibit areas.

 



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Arkansas Trauma System is Saving LIves

Published: 12/16/2014

LITTLE ROCK - The Arkansas trauma system has been a tremendous success, not only when measured by the number of lives it has saved but also by the improved quality of life of survivors. Before the legislature created the trauma system in 2009, it took several hours for medical officials to arrange for trauma patients to be accepted at a higher level facility that had the resources to provide pr...

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Arkansas Working to Expand Broadband Access in Public Schools

Published: 12/15/2014

LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas must move quickly to take advantage of available federal grants worth up to $30 million, according to a non-profit organization that is working with the state Education Department to expand broadband access in public schools. In order to keep schools competitive and to provide Arkansas students with better opportunities in the modern economy, educators, elected officials ...

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215 Arkansas Schools Receives Bonuses for Outstanding Performance

Published: 12/15/2014

LITTLE ROCK - The Arkansas School Recognition and Reward Program has awarded monetary grants to 215 schools that have been deemed "high performing" based on test results and other criteria from last school year. The awards were made to 109 schools that placed in the top 10 percent and 106 schools that were ranked in the top 20 percent. Arkansas has more than 1,100 schools from kindergarten thro...

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Legislative Council Signs Off on Medicaid Review Contract

Published: 12/15/2014

LITTLE ROCK - The Legislative Council's Review Committee signed off on a long-term contract with a computer technology firm to process claims for the state Medicaid system. The value of the contract is an estimated $203 million. It is with HP Enterprise Services LLC, which is part of Hewlett Packard of Palo Alto, California. Medicaid officials say the new processing system will improve the s...

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Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin Hosts Sounds of the Season - Streamed Live

Published: 12/08/2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Laura Labay

Laura.labay@sos.arkansas.gov

Phone: 501-683-3702

 

Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin Hosts Sounds of the Season - Streamed Live

(December 8, 2014)Little Rock, Ark. – Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin invites Arkansans to the annual “Sounds of the Season” holiday program at the Capitol Dec. 8th –19th, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Almost 200 school choirs and vocal groups will spread holiday cheer for all to hear over a two-week period on the second floor of the State Capitol. Schools are traveling from all corners of Arkansas to sing a wide variety of seasonal songs. Each group will perform for 20 minutes. Secretary Martin looks forward to seeing children, parents and anyone else interested in coming; this event is free and open to the public. 

As a special feature, this year’s program will stream live courtesy of the Arkansas House of Representatives. To watch Sounds of the Season live on the internet, visit the Secretary of State’s Facebook page & Twitter feed and follow the livestream link. “Sounds of the Season” is viewable from any computer connected to the internet or with a mobile device utilizing the Livestream app.

For a performance schedule go to www.sos.arkansas.gov. and click  “choir info” on the homepage.

 

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Capitol Lighting Ceremony Dec. 6th

Published: 12/01/2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Laura Labay

Laura.labay@sos.arkansas.gov

Phone: 501-683-3702

Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin Invites Arkansans to Capitol Lighting Ceremony Dec. 6th

(December 1, 2014) Little Rock, Ark. – Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin invites Arkansans to the 76th anniversary of the Capitol Lighting Ceremony Saturday, December 6th at 5:30 p.m. on the front steps of the State Capitol. Fox 16 News Anchor Donna Terrell will emcee the event. Folks are invited to take part in the count down to light the Capitol with thousands of Christmas lights, followed by a breathtaking fireworks display. After the ceremony the celebration will continue inside the Capitol with Santa, story time, and a magic show for kids. The festivities will begin after the Little Rock Big Jingle Jubilee Holiday Parade.

The Capitol Lighting ceremony is just the beginning of the holiday celebration at the Capitol; December 8th, just two days after the Capitol Lighting Ceremony, children of all ages and from all corners of the state will travel to the Capitol to perform “Sounds of the Season.” Over 190 schools are set to perform Christmas carols for all to enjoy over a two-week period, Monday through Friday each week. Performances are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  For a performance schedule go to www.sos.arkansas.gov.

The Capitol Lighting ceremony’s original intent was to lift the spirits of children suffering from life threatening illnesses in the hospital during the holidays. In honor of that time honored tradition, a portion of the 2014 State Capitol Ornament sales will go to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Guests are invited to visit the gift shop (located on the first floor of the State Capitol) to purchase the 2014 State Capitol Ornament, the 11th in the Capitol Ornament series. This year’s ornament features two state symbols: The State Flower and the State Bird. The appleblossom (adopted in 1901) lines the base of the ornament, while the mockingbird(adopted 1929) rests on the apple blossom. This beautiful collectible ornament can also be purchased online at the Secretary of State’s website, www.sos.arkansas.gov; click “State Capitol Info” and then click “State Capitol Gift Shop Info.” 


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Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin Confirms Certification of Election Results

Published: 11/20/2014

Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin Confirms Certification of Election Results

 

(November 20, 2014) Little Rock, Ark. - Secretary of State Mark Martin confirms November 4 General Election results are certified and certificates of election will be issued to candidates who received the highest number of votes.

"Approximately 50 percent of the 1.7 million people registered to vote in Arkansas cast their ballots in the Nov. 4, election," said Secretary Martin. "I appreciate our county clerks and poll workers across Arkansas who work year-round to maintain the integrity of our voting process."  

According to section 7-5-701 of Arkansas election law, counties must certify results to the Secretary of State’s office no earlier than 48 hours after the election and no later than 15 days after the election.  This allows overseas military and citizens time to ensure their votes are counted in accordance with the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.


As the state’s chief election officer, Secretary Martin reminds Arkansans “the only place to find official statewide results for the general election is under our Election Results tab on our website.”


Comprehensive Election Night reporting provided by the Elections Division on the Secretary of State’s website allowed the public to easily monitor the election results reported by officials statewide throughout the evening of the election. 


Results for Constitutional Offices, the U.S. House of Representatives, Judicial, State Senate, State Assembly, and local government races are available for review.


For a historical perspective, detailed results from previous elections can be found under the Elections Division tab on the Secretary of State’s website, www.sos.arkansas.gov.

 

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Senate Committee Assignments for 2015 Session

Published: 11/14/2014

Click on Download MS Word Document to view the Senate committee assignments for the 90th General Assembly, which begins on January 12.

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Voters Approve Constitutional Amendments to Dramatically Change Government Procedures

Published: 11/13/2014

LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas voters approved fundamental changes in how state government operates when they voted in favor of three constitutional amendments on the November 4 ballot. Issue One changes the process for issuing new state agency rules and regulations. No new rule or regulation shall take effect until it has been approved by the appropriate legislative committee. Previously, during the ...

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Senator Jonathan Dismang's statement on the passing of former Senator Ruth Whitaker

Published: 11/10/2014

November 10, 2014 President Pro Tem-designate Sen. Jonathan Dismang of Searcy had this statement on the death of former Senator Ruth Whitaker of Cedarville: "She will be truly missed. You always knew Ruth would vote her conscious. She was one of the most honest and fearless legislators and had a real knack for keeping this group in line."

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CERTIFICATION OF ELECTION RESULTS UNDERWAY

Published: 11/07/2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Laura Labay, laura.labay@sos.arkansas.gov

Phone: 501-683-3702

11/7/14

 

 CERTIFICATION OF ELECTION RESULTS UNDERWAY

(November 7, 2014) Little Rock, Ark. - Secretaryof State Mark Martin announced approximately 49 percent of the 1.7 millionpeople registered to vote in Arkansas cast their ballots in the Nov. 4, 2014General Election.

According to section7-5-701 of Arkansas election law, counties must certify results to the Secretary of State’s office no earlier than 48 hours after the election and no later than 15 days after the election.This allows overseas military and citizens time to ensure their votes are counted in accordance with the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens AbsenteeVoting Act.

As the state’s chief election officer, Secretary Martin reminds Arkansans “the only place to find official statewide results for the general election is under our Election Results tab on our website.”

Comprehensive Election Night reporting provided by the Elections Division on the Secretary of State’s website allowed the public to easily monitor election results reported by officials statewide throughout the evening of the election. 

Results for Constitutional Offices, the U.S. House of Representatives, Judicial, State Senate, State Assembly, and local government races are available for review.

For a historical perspective, detailed results from previous elections can be found under the Elections Division tab on the Secretary of State’s website, www.sos.arkansas.gov.

 

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ELECTION ADVISORY FROM ARKANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE MARK MARTIN

Published: 11/06/2014

ELECTION ADVISORY FROM ARKANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE MARK MARTIN
Election Day is Nov. 4th; voters have many opportunities to cast ballots.

(Nov. 3, 2014) Little Rock, Ark. – As Arkansans prepare to go to the polls for the November 4th General Election, Secretary of State Mark Martin wants to remind voters of the following information.

Early Voting

Early Voting starts October 20th – November 3rd contact your county clerk to find out specific early voting locations. You can find your county clerk’s contact information in our Voting 101 Pocket Guide on our website.

Election Day Voting

Polls are open 7:30 am to 7:30 pm on Election Day. Voters choosing to head to the polls on Election Day need to know their polling place and precinct. Voters can verify their polling place and precinct as well as other important voting information by visiting www.voterview.org.

Election Ballot Issues

In total, there are 5 issues on the ballot in the November General Election. Information on ballot issues, which include statewide alcohol and a measure that would increase Arkansas’ minimum wage, is available here.

Election Info

Go to our Facebook and Twitter page for updates on Early Voting numbers and Election Reminders.

Our Election Night Reporting will be available with real-time results on the evening of November 4th, just click the “Election Results” tab on our website.

Absentee Voting

To vote an absentee ballot, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • You will be unavoidably absent from your polling site on election day, OR

  • You will be unable to attend your polling site on election day due to illness or physical disability, OR
  • You are a member of the Uniformed Services, merchant marines or the spouse or a dependent family member and are away from your polling location due to the member's active duty status, OR
  • A U.S. citizen whose residence is in Arkansas but is temporarily living outside the territorial limits of the United States.

Please contact your county clerk with any questions about the absentee voting process.

Please don't hesitate to contact the Arkansas Secretary of State's office with any questions or concerns at voterservices@sos.arkansas.gov.

 


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So Far 16 Communities Have Applied to Become Site of Proposed New Prison Unit

Published: 11/05/2014

October 31, 2014 LITTLE ROCK - The state Correction Department received 16 applications from communities wanting to be the location of a proposed new $100 million prison unit. The unit would hire 250 people and the average salary would be $12.50 an hour, and in the future it could expand. The state Board of Correction will bring its plans for the new prison unit before the legislature during t...

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Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin Announces Student Mock Election Underway Across Arkansas

Published: 10/31/2014

For Immediate Release

Contact: Laura Labay

Phone:501-683-3702

Laura.labay@sos.arkansas.gov

 

Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin Announces Student Mock Election Underway Across Arkansas

 

Little Rock, Ark.(Oct. 31, 2014) – Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin announced Friday the National Student Mock Election is underway in schools all across Arkansas. More than 258 school districts throughout Arkansas were invited to take part in this nationwide tradition, instructing students from kindergarten through high school in the importance of voting. The program encourages students to research and educate themselves on candidates before placing their vote. The mock election is hosted by Secretary of State Mark Martin, serving as Arkansas Coordinator in collaboration with the Washington D.C.-based National Student/Parent Mock Election (NSPME).

“This is the second election cycle in which I enjoyed the privilege to participate. I appreciate the opportunity to encourage our young citizens to get involved in civic life, in the responsibilities of being an American and Arkansan,” stated Secretary of State Mark Martin. “I honestly love seeing their eyes light up when they realize they can make a difference in their local community and nation through participation in the voting process.”

Statewide, students receive a sample ballot created by the NSPME and certified for accuracy by the Elections Division of the Arkansas Secretary of State.

In this year’s election, young Arkansans vote for candidates in three major offices: U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and Governor. Votes from the students’ mock election are tabulated in Washington D.C. after their transmission to the National Student/Parent Mock Election.

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AHECB recognizes new UA System eVersity, a completely online institution

Published: 10/31/2014


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Senator English Honored for Her Support of Adult Education

Published: 10/29/2014

Senator Jane English of North Little Rock was honored on October 24 by the Arkansas Association for Administrators for Adult Education when she received the 2014 Garland Hankins Award. The recipient is chosen for his or her outstanding contributions to and support of adult education in Arkansas. English is a former member the state"s Workforce Investment Board at the Department of Workforce Serv...

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Four Proposed Constitutional Amendments on the Ballot

Published: 10/29/2014

LITTLE ROCK - When Arkansas voters go to the polls, they will receive lengthy ballots that include four proposed constitutional amendments. Three of the proposed amendments were referred by the legislature during last year's regular session. They would change current laws on ethics, ballot issues, term limits and the procedures for implementing rules and regulations. The fourth was placed on t...

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Arkansas Minority Health Commission Announces Funding Opportunities up to $2,000 for Health-Related Events

Published: 10/24/2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. --The Arkansas Minority Health Commission recognizes that improving minority health in Arkansas and the nation requires collaboration across many organizations. The Commission's intent is to cooperate with community-based organizations, schools, faith-based organizations and others to address the health problems that effect minorities in Arkansas. To help develop new and innovati...

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Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin Receives National Awards

Published: 10/23/2014

              For Immediate Release

Contact: Laura Labay

Phone: 501-683-3702

laura.labay@sos.arkansas.gov

   

Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin Receives

 National Awards 

   

Little Rock, Ark. (October 22, 2014) - Arkansas is raking in national awards and recognition according to Secretary of State Mark Martin.  In an October 22 release, Secretary Martin announced the Office of the Secretary of State received three awards for projects completed in 2014. Included in the awards are the “Public Service Web Video Silver Winner Award,” the “Digital Government Achievement Award,” and an Honorable Mention for “Excellence in Preservation” for restoration of the Capitol Dome.

 

“The staff of the Office of the Secretary of State brings innovation, dedication, and a spirit of service to every project, and they do this with one goal in mind – service to Arkansans,” stated Secretary Martin. “I am proud to lead such a dedicated team, a group focused upon making improvements within each division of the Secretary of State’s office.”

 

Capitol Dome Restoration

 

Secretary of State Mark Martin accepted an Honorable Mention Award for "Excellence in Preservation" for the Capitol Building Dome Restoration Project from the Historic Preservation Alliance.  As part of this highly technical project, the interior dome paint underwent testing to determine the original paint type and application process.  This ensured restoration of the dome to its original appearance. The Secretary of State’s Office paid for the restoration project with grants from the Natural and Cultural Resources Council.

 

Public Service Web Video Winner

Secretary of State Mark Martin’s focus on utilizing technology to provide better services to the citizens of Arkansas resulted in national recognition  from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts. Secretary of State Mark Martin announced the Business & Commercial Services Division of his office received the prestigious "Public Service Web Video Silver Winner" for 2014.  Secretary Martin accepted the award, selected from over 4,000 entries, for the Web design and online marketing of “Dream It Do It Arkansas"

           

Digital Government Achievement Award

Recognizing a unique synergy of dedicated employees and technological innovation, Secretary of State Mark Martin announced his office received the prestigious "Digital Government Achievement Award" (DGAA) from the Center for Digital Government. This national award is for implementing a new technology-based Corporation Filings Automation project.  In the first year of operation, this automation project saved taxpayers approximately $124,212. Today, the submission of tax filings electronically bypasses the requirement for paper copies and manual data entry.  In one year alone, this saved almost 2,100 staff hours, over 72,000 individual sheets of paper, and eliminated the expense of over $20,500 in postage. Secretary of State Martin lauded the efforts of a team led by BCS Director Daryl Bassett, recognizing their abilities to implement an entirely new process, save thousands of tax dollars, and still maintain the existing high levels of service to the citizens of Arkansas.  “Our goal is to offer all government business services online and allow companies to interact with the state wherever they are, at any time of day,” stated Director Bassett.

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Arkansas Prescription "Take Back" Program One of Nation's Most Successful

Published: 10/23/2014

LITTLE ROCK - Thanks to participation by law enforcement agencies in all regions of the state, Arkansas has one of the most successful prescription drug take-back campaigns in the country. Since 2010, Arkansas drug prevention and law enforcement teams have collected more than 62 tons of out-of-date prescription drugs turned in by people cleaning out their medicine cabinets. At a joint meeti...

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General Election Advisory from Secretary of State Mark Martin

Published: 10/17/2014

For Immediate Release

Laura Labay, 501-683-3702


ELECTION ADVISORY FROM ARKANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE MARK MARTIN
Election Day is Nov. 4th; voters have many opportunities to cast ballots.

(September 30, 2014) Little Rock, Ark. – As Arkansans prepare to go to the polls for the November 4th General Election, Secretary of State Mark Martin wants to remind voters of the following information.

"I want to make sure Arkansans know we are here to serve them. Our Elections Team has worked year-round with our County Clerks to prepare for this upcoming election," said Secretary of State Mark Martin. "Our website is full of information on updated election laws, ballot issues, and a list of candidates with background information on each. We want Arkansans to head to the polls well informed on exactly what they are voting on."

Voter Registration Deadline

October 6th is the deadline to register to vote in the general election. You can fill out an application to vote at your county clerk’s office, state revenue offices, public library or Arkansas State Library, public assistance agency, disability agency, military recruitment office, Arkansas National Guard or you can download an application from the Secretary of State’s website here and mail it to your county clerk.

Early Voting

Early Voting is October 20th – November 3rd, contact your county clerk to find out Early Voting locations. You can find your county clerk’s contact information in our Voting 101 Pocket Guide on our website at www.sos.arkansas.gov.

Election Day Voting

Polls are open 7:30 am to 7:30 pm on Election Day. Voters choosing to head to the polls on Election Day need to remember to bring the proper form of ID and know their polling place and precinct. Voters can check their polling place and precinct as well as other important voting information by visiting www.voterview.org.

Election Ballot Issues

In total, there are 5 issues on the ballot in the November General Election. Information on ballot issues that will appear on the Nov. 4th ballot are available for review on our website here.

Election Info

Our Voting 101 Pocket Guide has a list of important dates and deadlines. click here

Go to our Facebook and Twitter page for updates on Early Voting numbers and Election Reminders.

Our Election Night Reporting will be available with real-time results on the evening of November 4th, just click the “Election Results” tab on our website at www.sos.arkansas.gov

Absentee Voting

To be qualified to vote an absentee ballot, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • You will be unavoidably absent from your polling site on election day, OR

  • You will be unable to attend your polling site on election day due to illness or physical disability, OR
  • You are a member of the Uniformed Services, merchant marines or the spouse or a dependent family member and are away from your polling location due to the member's active duty status, OR
  • A U.S. citizen whose residence is in Arkansas but is temporarily living outside the territorial limits of the United States.

To receive an absentee ballot application contact your county clerk (click here). 

To download an absentee ballot application (click here).

Please don’t hesitate to contact the Arkansas Secretary of State's office with any questions or concerns at 501-682-5070.

 


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Supreme Court Rules Photo ID Not Required At the Polls

Published: 10/17/2014

For Immediate Release

Laura Labay

501-683-3702

Laura.labay@sos.arkansas.gov

 

Supreme Court Rules Photo ID Not Required At the Polls

Secretary of State Mark Martin announces as of October 16, 2014, 4:39 p.m. Voters are no longer required to provide “proof of identity”(photo ID) in order to vote in person in the General Election. The law reverts back to the previous statute that existed prior to Act 595. Further, poll workers are still required by law to ask for identification, however, voters are not required to provide identification in order to vote.

Before the passage of the Voter ID law, state and federal law required first time voters to provide identification. Voters who register to vote by mail and fail to include valid identification will be required to provide identification at the polls.

For those First Time Voters, examples of identification required are: a valid photo id or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.

Arkansas Supreme Court struck down the challenged parts of Act 595, otherwise known as the Voter ID law. Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 595 on April 1, 2013, which required Arkansas residents to provide “proof of identity” when voting at the polls.

Please keep in mind, Arkansas has “fail safe voting” in place: voters can vote a Provisional Ballot at the polls if any problems or discrepancies should arise. County Board of Election Commissioners will notify voters of their appointment time to provide any additional information in order for their vote to count.


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Legislative Council Adds Infectious Disease Protocol to October 17 Meeting Agenda

Published: 10/16/2014

October 16, 2014 Senate Information Office: 501-682-5954 Senator Bill Sample of Hot Springs, the Senate chairman of the Arkansas Legislative Council, announced that the final agenda item for Friday's meeting would be an update from state Health Department officials on protocol for assessing, monitoring, screening and treating any patients in Arkansas if they contract infectious diseases. The Co...

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Legislators Begin Budget Hearings

Published: 10/15/2014

LITTLE ROCK - Legislators began a lengthy and detailed review of all state agency spending requests, in preparation for the regular session that begins in January. Setting a balanced budget for state government every year is the most time-consuming duty of the legislature. Budget hearings begin in October, but legislative review of state spending continues through the session. The Joint Budget ...

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Enrollment Down Slightly in Arkansas Colleges and Universities

Published: 10/09/2014

LITTLE ROCK - Enrollment at Arkansas colleges and universities is down 1 percent from last year, according to a report from the state Department of Higher Education. The overall decline is most notable at two-year colleges, which saw their enrollment go down from 56,116 students last year to 53,470 this year. That is a percentage decrease of 4.7 percent. Four-year universities saw a slight i...

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Senator Elliott, SREB Commission to Work on College Affordability

Published: 10/08/2014

SREB Commission Examines College Affordability in the South October 8, 2014 For information call Beth Day, SREB Communication Director, 404-879-5544 ATLANTA, GA. - The Southern Regional Education Board has launched the Commission on College Affordability in the South to focus state policies on the goal of affordability for students and families. Senator Joyce Elliott of Little Rock, one of...

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School Facilities Fund Falling Short of Demand

Published: 09/30/2014

LITTLE ROCK - Funding of public school facilities may be one of the most difficult budget issues facing legislators when they convene in regular session in January. In 2007 the legislature dedicated $456 million in "one time" money to the school facilities fund. That was the amount that was deemed necessary to equalize facilities funding among prosperous and poor districts of Arkansas, and to ...

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Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus Holding Retreat and Conference at Hot Springs

Published: 09/24/2014

September 24, 2014 Senate Information Office: 501-682-5954 HOT SPRINGS - Overhauling the state's justice system is the major theme of this year's conference of the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus. Senators Joyce Elliott of Little Rock, Stephanie Flowers of Pine Bluff and Senator Linda Chesterfield of Little Rock were instrumental in writing the agenda for the 2014 conference. The retreat...

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Bid Opening by Highway Department Sets New Record

Published: 09/23/2014

LITTLE ROCK - The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department opened bids for 46 projects totaling $231.5 million. After a review of the bids, if the Commission accepts all of them as submitted they would comprise the largest single bid opening in Arkansas history. It would surpass the previous high bid opening in November of 2012, when bids for $222.5 million of projects were opened. The r...

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Most Arkansas colleges, universities enroll slightly lower numbers

Published: 09/18/2014


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Signature Verification Process Complete for Ballot Initiatives

Published: 09/09/2014

For Immediate Release
Laura Labay, 501-683-3702
Signature Verification Process Complete for Ballot Initiatives
(September 9, 2014) Little Rock, Ark. – Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin announces the signature verification process for the ballot measures initiated by the people of Arkansas is complete. 
An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage
As of September 9th, the Secretary of State has validated 89,790 signatures for An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage. The sponsors turned in a total of 130,016 signatures for verification. The initiated act met the requirement of 62,507 verified signatures to qualify as Issue No. 5 on the Nov. 4, 2014 general election ballot.
The Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment
As of September 3rd, The Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment had a final count of 91,831 validated signatures.  The sponsors turned in a total of 127,265 signatures for verification. The constitutional amendment met the requirement of 78,133 verified signatures to qualify as Issue No. 4 on the Nov. 4, 2014 general election ballot. 
Voter Info
The deadline to register to vote for the general election is Oct. 6, 2014. A photo ID is required to vote in the general election. To check your voting status and location go to www.voterview.org. For additional information on voting go to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s webpage, www.sos.arkansas.gov.

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AMHC Director Idonia Trotter to Take Leadership Role at Houston-Based Non-Profit Oct. 1

Published: 09/05/2014

The Board of Directors of Gateway to Care (GTC), a Houston, Texas-based non-profit health care collaborative, is pleased to announce Idonia L. Trotter, JD, MPS as its new Executive Director beginning October 1, 2014. Trotter will follow in the footsteps of founder and long-time Executive Director Dr. Ron Cookston. Trotter brings to GTC a distinguished career in health care advocacy, policy ana...

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Dr. Rhonda Mattox Named Medical Director at AMHC

Published: 09/05/2014

Dr. Rhonda Mattox has been named Medical Director at the Arkansas Minority Health Commission. She previously worked with the commission as a medical media and research consultant beginning in 2013, hosting the Ask the Doctor Show monthly with Broadway Joe. In her new role, she will guide the AMHCs internal research efforts, assist with public health policy development and serve as media spokespers...

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AMHC Transitional Leadership Team in Place until New Director Chosen

Published: 09/05/2014

The Arkansas Minority Health Commission wishes Director Idonia Trotter well in her new endeavors as she moves forward in her career with Gateway to Care, a Houston-based 501c3 non-profit health care organization. During the transition, AMHC has put its current Medical Director, Dr. Rhonda Mattox, in place as a transitional leader until a new executive director is identified. AMHC Chair Christine P...

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Camp iRock Encourages Fitness and Good Nutrition Among Girls

Published: 09/05/2014

Girls from across Arkansas recently had fun exercising, learning about healthy eating and building their self-confidence. The Arkansas Minority Health Commission, in partnership with Arkansas Children's Hospital and Girl Scouts-Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, hosted its fourth residential fitness camp August 10-16. Camp iRock , for sixth, seventh and eighth grade girls, was held at Fern...

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AMHC Partners with Nine Non-Profit Organizations Doing Community Outreach

Published: 09/05/2014

The Arkansas Minority Health Commission has provided $8,721.25 in funding to nine partnering organizations that are doing health outreach in local communities. The sponsorship programs which are scheduled to occur between August through December 2014 include: Innovative lifestyles for Senior Living, 8th Annual Civil Rights Summit and Community Festival Asian Pacific Resource and Cultural Ce...

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Commissioner Laelan selected for NW Arkansas Business Journal's 40 Under 40

Published: 09/05/2014

Melisa Laelan, an AMHC Commissioner and Director of the Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese, has been honored as a member of Northwest Arkansas Business Journal's 40 Under 40 class. Each year, the journal honors 40 high achieving and intriguing business and political leaders under 40 years old who bear watching. Lealan, of Springdale, Arkansas, is the nation's only certified court interpreter fo...

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AMHC to Host Diabetes Community Health Event in McGehee on Sept. 20

Published: 09/05/2014

The Arkansas Minority Health Commission has partnered with local organizations to hold a diabetes community health awareness event in McGehee, Arkansas on Sept. 20. The "Know Your A1C" event will be held from 10 30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Desha Alumni Community Center, 500 S. First Street. It will feature health screenings, health education, free physical exams for kids, free lunch and fun activiti...

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September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month

Published: 09/05/2014

September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month. The Sickle Cell Disease Association of America wants the public to reflect on the children and the adults whose lives, education and careers have been affected by this disease. This issue of The Minority Report is dedicated to the memory of Germaine Johnson Sr., a dedicated and caring individual who in 2001 started the Sickle Cell Inner Circle ...

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An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage Makes General Election Ballot

Published: 09/03/2014


For Immediate Release

Laura Labay, 501-683-3702

An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage Makes General Election Ballot


Little Rock, Ark.
– Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin announces, An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage met the signature requirements of Article 5, Section 1 of the Arkansas Constitution. An initiated act needs 62,507 valid signatures to make the ballot. The sponsors turned in a total of 129,989 signatures for verification. At this time, the initiated act has at least 70,074 valid signatures. Please note, there are signatures still being verified; therefore, the total number of valid signatures may increase.

The Secretary of State has certified the proposed initiated act to the County Boards of Election Commissioners. It will be Issue No. 5 on the Nov. 4, 2014 ballot. 

If approved by voters, the measure will increase the state’s minimum wage from $6.25 to $7.50 per hour on January 1, 2015, $8.00 per hour January 1, 2016, and $8.50 per hour on January 1, 2017. 

The deadline to register to vote for the General Election is October 6, 2014.  For information on voter registration, go to the Elections tab on this site.


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Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment Makes General Election Ballot

Published: 08/29/2014

For Immediate Release

Laura Labay, 501-683-3702

Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment Makes 2014 General Election Ballot

(August 29, 2014) Little Rock, Ark. – Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin announces that the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment met the signature requirements of Article 5, Section 1 of the Arkansas Constitution. The constitutional amendment needed 78,133 valid signatures; the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment sponsors tuned in 127,265. At this time, the proposed amendment has at least 87,102 valid signatures. There are still signatures being verified; please note the total number of valid signatures may increase.

The Secretary of State has certified the proposed amendment to the County Boards of Election Commissioners. It will be Issue No. 4 on the November 4, 2014 ballot.

Registered voters will decide on the proposed amendment that if approved, would legalize the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcohol statewide. The deadline to register to vote for the General Election is October 6, 2014.  For information on voter registration, go to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s webpage, www.sos.arkansas.gov.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage Turns in Additonal Signatures

Published: 08/18/2014

An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage Turns In Additional Signatures

Date: 8/18/2014

For Immediate Release

Laura Labay, 501-683-3702

An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage Turns In Additional Signatures

(August 18, 2014) Little Rock, Ark. – Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin announces that An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage turned in an additional 69,070 signatures today.  The Arkansas Secretary of State’s office now has 30 days to verify the newly submitted signatures.  The petition to raise the state’s minimum wage from $6.25 to $8.50 by 2017 was short 15,107 valid signatures after the initial verification process. The initiative needs 62,507 verified signatures to make the November 4 ballot.

 


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Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment Turns In Additional Signatures

Published: 08/15/2014

For Immediate Release

Laura Labay, 501-683-3702

Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment Turns In Additional Signatures

(August 15, 2014) Little Rock, Ark. – Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin announces that the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment turned in an additional 41,492 signatures today.  The Arkansas Secretary of State’s office now has 30 days to verify the newly submitted signatures.  The petition to allow statewide alcohol sales was short about 17,000 valid signatures after the initial verification process. The Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment needs 78,133 verified signatures to make the November 4 ballot.


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College-going rate increases by 1.4 percent; AHECB approves new academic programs

Published: 07/25/2014


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An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage Short Valid Signatures

Published: 07/23/2014

For Immediate Release:
Laura Labay, 501-683-3702  

An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage Short Valid Signatures

(July 23, 2014) Little Rock, Ark. – Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin announced An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage did not meet the required 62,507 valid signatures after the verification process.  They now have until August 18 to gather 15,107 more valid signatures to make the November 2014 General Election ballot.   In order to be considered valid, there must be sufficient signatures from 15 of the 75 counties across Arkansas along with an affidavit filed with us stating the number of Petition Parts and the total number of signatures.Here is a list of what causes an entire page of petition signatures to be invalidated:         
  • Photocopy, not an original;      
  • Not signed by a Canvasser;      
  • A petition part signed by more than 1 Canvasser;      
  • Not signed by a Canvasser under oath;       
  • Canvasser’s verification dated earlier than the date the petition was signed by a Petitioner;        
  • Not notarized;        
  • Lacking a notary seal;       
  • A petition part is lacking a notary signature or is notarized by more than 1 Notary;   
  • A forged notary or Canvasser signature;
  • A notary notarizing his or her own signature;
  • A notary using the Great Seal of Arkansas; 
  • Failure to attach a legible copy of the entire text of the measure to each Petition sheet containing signatures; 
  • Failure to attach the popular name and ballot title to each petition sheet containing signatures; 
  • If litigated, a challenger may claim that the Canvasser failed to sign the affidavit in the presence of the notary; 
  • If litigated, a challenger may claim that the affidavit of the Canvasser is false.
If the petition submitted for signature verification does not contain the required number of valid signatures of registered voters, the Secretary of State will notify the Sponsor, they will then have 30 days to do any or all of the following:   
    
A) Solicit and obtain additional signatures;
B) Submit proof that all or some of the rejected signatures are good and should be counted;
C) Make the petition more definite or certain. The Secretary of State will verify signatures up to 10% above the required number.


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Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment Falls Short on Signatures

Published: 07/18/2014

Date: 7/18/2014

For Immediate Release:

Laura Labay, 501-683-3702

  

Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment Falls Short on Signatures

 

(July 18, 2014) Little Rock, Ark. – Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin announces the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment did not meet the signature requirements after the verification process. The proposed amendment requires an additional 17,133 verified signatures to reach the 78,133 needed to be placed on the general election ballot. The Secretary of State’s Office has notified the petition sponsor that they now have an additional 30 days to collect signatures to compensate for those disqualified during the signature verification process.


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An Act to Increase The Arkansas Minimum Wage Meets Initial Count

Published: 07/16/2014

For Immediate Release:

Laura Labay, 501-683-3702

  

An Act to Increase The Arkansas Minimum Wage Meets Initial Count

 

(July 16, 2014) Little Rock, Ark. – Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin announces An Act to Increase The Arkansas Minimum Wage has met the initial signature count requirement. The Initiated Act needed 62,507 signatures; the initial count was over 64,000. The Secretary of State’s Office is now moving to the signature verification stage. Meeting the initial count qualifies the petition sponsor for an additional 30 days to collect signatures, to compensate for any that may be disqualified during the signature verification process.

We will continue to update you as information becomes available.


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Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment Meets Initial Count

Published: 07/09/2014

For Immediate Release:

Laura Labay, 501-683-3702

  

Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment Meets Initial Count

 

(July 9, 2014) Little Rock, Ark. – Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin announces the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment has met the initial signature count requirement. The amendment needed 78,133 signatures; the initial count was well over 84,000. The Secretary of State’s Office is now moving to the signature verification stage. Meeting the initial count qualifies the petition sponsor for an additional 30 days to collect signatures, to compensate for any that may be disqualified during the signature verification process.

An Act To Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage is still being counted to see if they have enough signatures to make their initial count. 

We will continue to update you as information becomes available.



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Korean War Veterans to Receive Ambassador of Peace Medals

Published: 07/09/2014

For Immediate Release:

Laura Labay, 501-683-3702

  

Korean War Veterans to Receive Ambassador of Peace Medals

 

(July 9, 2014) Little Rock, Ark. – Secretary of State Mark Martin in coordination with the Republic of Korea, and the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs announces a medal presentation ceremony and dinner in honor of Arkansas Korean War Veterans. The event begins at 5 p.m. July 11 at the Association of Arkansas Counties.

 

“Six decades ago, more than 54,000 American soldiers died, 103,000 were wounded and 1,000 are still missing in action. We want all veterans to know their heroic service is not forgotten,” said Secretary of State Mark Martin. “We are honored to be a part of the upcoming ceremony, and proud to see our veterans recognized.”

  

The veterans will receive Ambassador of Peace Medals from South Korean Ambassador Suk-bum Park, the consul-general for the Republic of Korea’s Houston consulate.

  

Ambassador of Peace Medal Ceremony:

  

Date:                           July 11 2014

  

Time:                           5 p.m. - 7 p.m. 

  

Place:                         Association of Arkansas Counties

           1415 W 3rd St, Little Rock, AR 72201

  



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See You at the Fair

Published: 06/25/2014

For Immediate Release:
 
Laura Labay, 501-683-3702
 
(June 25, 2014) Little Rock, Ark. –Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin proudly announces “See You at the Fair,” a new exhibit featured at the State Capitol.
 
Secretary Martin salutes the Livestock Show Association’s 75-year tenure. The summer exhibit features: rare pictures, instruments autographed by stars who have appeared at the Fairgrounds’ famed Barton Coliseum venue, a saddle presented to the Fair’s Rodeo Queen of 1966 and a muslin “horse blanket” used to publicize the first fair held in Hot Springs in 1906.
 
“Arkansas has had a long history of livestock shows and state fairs.  It is not just fun and games; not only does it generate revenue for our local economy, up to $16 million in 2013 alone, but behind the scenes this is a serious business of making Arkansas farmers competitive in world markets,“ said Secretary Martin.
 
The exhibit is on display in the Capitol’s first-floor galleries now through Labor Day.
 
Capitol Hours:
 
8a.m.-5p.m. Monday-Friday
 
10a.m.-5p.m. Saturday-Sunday

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Teacher Workshop at the State Capitol

Published: 06/24/2014

For Immediate Release:
Laura Labay, 501-683-3702

Little Rock, Ark. – Secretary of State Mark Martin is pleased to announce the availability of an ADE approved three hour teacher workshop at the State Capitol this Wednesday, June 25 in the Old Supreme Court Room from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. This workshop is worth two hours of ADE approved Arkansas History credit.

Learn about the FREE resources available to you and how to use the State Capitol to teach Arkansas History, Government and American History.
Agenda includes:
  • How to Make the Most of Your Capitol Field Trip
  • Beyond State Symbol Activity Books: An Overview of Programs and Materials
  • On-Line Resources for Arkansas History, Civics and Government

To attend contact:
Lisa Watson
501-682-5279
lisa.watson@sos.arkansas.gov

* To order educational materials go to the links below:
http://www.soskids.arkansas.gov/
http://www.soskids.arkansas.gov/general-order-form/index.html


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ADHE scholarships deadline June 1

Published: 05/28/2014


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Unauthorized Letter Sent to Voters

Published: 05/13/2014

For Immediate Release

Laura Labay, 501-683-3702

 

Unauthorized Letter Sent to Voters

 

(May 12, 2014) LITTLE ROCK, AR — Secretary of State Mark Martin wants to inform the public that a letter claiming to be from the Arkansas State Voter Program is circulating in Arkansas. This letter was not issued or authorized by the Secretary of State's Election Division, nor is this program from a registered business entity in the state of Arkansas.

 

If you have received a letter from the Arkansas State Voter Program, please contact the Attorney General's Office at 501-682-2007 for further investigation.



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Secretary Martin Reminds AR Businesses Franchise Taxes due May 1

Published: 04/30/2014

For Immediate Release

Laura Labay 501-683-3702

 

Secretary Martin Reminds AR Businesses Franchise Taxes due May 1

(April 29, 2014) LITTLE ROCK, AR— Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin reminds Arkansas businesses that annual reports and franchise taxes are due by midnight Thursday, May 1, to the Secretary of State’s Business and Commercial Services (BCS) division.

Every incorporated business, whether domestic or foreign, pays an annual fee to do business in Arkansas.  Earlier this year, corporations were notified about the upcoming deadline.  The taxes are payable between January and May 1 annually.  Around 80 percent of the state’s corporations pay the minimum franchise tax rate of $150.

I encourage all business to pay their franchise tax before the deadline to avoid accruing penalties and interest,” Secretary Martin said.

These corporate taxes generated $24 million in 2010, $23 million in 2011 and 2012 and $25 million in 2013.  Act 94 of the Second Extraordinary Session of 2003 increased franchise tax rates and required all funds collected over $8 million to be deposited into an Education Adequacy Trust Fund. 

Corporations may file their franchise taxes online, 24 hours a day, by visiting the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.arkansas.gov.  The easy-to-use system provides automatic calculations to eliminate mathematical errors that can slow down processing time.  The system generates email confirmations and copies of each completed filing.  Credit cards and electronic checks are accepted.

Corporations can pay in person at:

Victory Building

1401 West Capitol, Suite 250

Little Rock, AR 72201.

Or

 

Mail tax forms to:

Business and Commercial Services (BCS) division

P.O. Box 8014

Little Rock, AR 72203-8014

BCS is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

For additional information, call BCS at (888) 233-0325.



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Franchise Tax Deadline Extended for Tornado Victims

Published: 04/30/2014

For Immediate Release

Laura Labay, 501-683-3702

 

Franchise Tax Deadline Extended for Tornado Victims

(April 29, 2014) LITTLE ROCK, AR — Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin announced today that the deadline for franchise taxes will be extended an additional 30 days past the original May 1 deadline for those counties affected by the tornadoes. Businesses from Faulkner, Pulaski and White counties needing an extension can contact the Business and Commercial Services (BCS) division for further information.

Corporations may file franchise taxes online, 24 hours a day, by visiting the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.arkansas.gov.  The easy-to-use system provides automatic calculations to eliminate mathematical errors.

Credit cards and electronic checks are accepted.

Corporations can pay in person at:

Victory Building

1401 West Capitol, Suite 250

Little Rock, AR 72201.

Or

Mail tax forms to:

Business and Commercial Services (BCS) division

P.O. Box 8014

Little Rock, AR 72203-8014

BCS is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

For additional information, call BCS at (888) 233-0325.



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Tornado Relief and Blood Drive at the Capitol

Published: 04/30/2014

(April 29, 2014) LITTLE ROCK, AR –Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin and his staff are collecting donations and hosting an annual blood drive to help those affected by the tornadoes that devastated Arkansas counties April 27. “Our prayers go out to our families and friends that are suffering from losing their loved ones and property. We are standing by, ready to help in any way possible,” said Martin.

Secretary Martin hosts an annual blood drive every year, but this year the blood donations will be used to help ensure all blood given to those injured from the tornadoes will be replaced on hospital shelves. According to the Red Cross, several units of type 0 negative blood and 40 units of plasma were used to help treat the injured. “We want to help put that back in the blood bank supply to help save lives when unbearable tragedies like this happen,” Secretary Martin said.

If you would like to donate blood May 7 please contact Susan Carter at 501-682-3042.

To help the over 200 people displaced by the April 27 tornadoes, you can donate items such as canned goods, batteries, toys and clothes. Donation boxes will be placed in several locations around the Capitol until May 19.


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Secretary Martin introduces electronic notarization initiative

Published: 04/03/2014

For Immediate Release

Alex Reed, 501-682-1217

 

Secretary Martin introduces electronic notarization initiative

 

(April 2) LITTLE ROCK — Secretary of State Mark Martin announced today that Arkansas is implementing electronic notarization of documents.

 

“We are offering this option to help Arkansas business owners conduct operations more efficiently and economically,” Martin said.  “By electronically notarizing documents, procedures can be completed quickly, even if the parties of a transaction are miles apart, and without the expense of printing or mailing paper.”

 

The Secretary of State’s office is offering the commission enhancement to notaries public who are already in good standing.

 

“We do require training for e-notaries, to ensure that they understand the process,” Martin said. “For example, this is not remote notarization; the notary must still physically witness the signature.”

 

Notaries must submit an application form and, upon approval, register for the free e-notary training. The application is available on the Secretary of State’s website, at http://www.sos.arkansas.gov/BCS/Pages/enotary.aspx.

 

“One of my primary goals for this program was that it involve minimal cost to both the taxpayers and the notary,” Martin said. “I believe we have met that goal, and I am very pleased that we can offer this service. I look forward to seeing this initiative grow in Arkansas.”

 

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Secretary Martin Reminds Businesses to Pay Franchise Taxes by May 1 Deadline

Published: 03/25/2014

For Immediate Release

Alex Reed, 501-682-1217

 

 

Secretary Martin Reminds Businesses to Pay Franchise Taxes by May 1 Deadline

 

(March 25, 2014) LITTLE ROCK—Secretary of State Mark Martin today reminded Arkansas businesses who have not received a franchise tax filing form that they should request or obtain one today.

 

Annual reports and franchise taxes must be filed by midnight on May 1 with the Secretary of State’s Business and Commercial Services (BCS) division.

 

Every incorporated business, whether domestic or foreign, pays an annual fee to do business in Arkansas.  Earlier this year, the state’s 130,861 corporations were notified of the upcoming deadline.  The taxes are payable between January and May 1 annually.  Around 80 percent of the state’s corporations pay the minimum franchise tax rate of $150.

 

“Payment of franchise taxes is an important part of our state budget,” Martin said. “Part of these funds go to the state’s general fund, but the majority of it is assigned to education adequacy.”

 

All entities that have not received a tax form in the mail or electronically by March 20 must request, download, or file an online franchise tax form in order to comply with the May 1 franchise tax deadline.

 

Corporations may file their franchise taxes online, 24 hours a day, by visiting the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.arkansas.gov.  The easy-to-use system provides automatic calculations to eliminate mathematical errors that can slow down processing time.  The system generates e-mail confirmations and copies of each completed filing.  Credit cards and electronic checks are accepted.

 

Corporations can also pay in person at BCS located in the Victory Building in Little Rock at 1401 West Capitol, Suite 250, or by mailing their tax forms to  P.O. Box 8014, Little Rock, AR 72203-8014. 

 

BCS is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  For additional information, call BCS at (888) 233-0325.

 

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