Press Release

Asa Arkansas's Governor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11.16.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Orders U.S. & Arkansas Flags to Fly at Half-Staff in Memory of State Sen. Standridge

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has ordered the United States flag and the state flag of Arkansas to be lowered to half-staff in tribute to the memory and honor of State Senator Greg Standridge, who passed away Thursday morning. The flag will remain at half-staff until sunset on the day of interment.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement earlier today: 

“I am saddened by the passing of Sen. Greg Standridge—a friend and dedicated public servant. I recently visited with Greg in his home, and even with his illness, he was a source of encouragement and strength. Greg served his community with distinction, and he loved his family most of all. Greg’s passing is a great loss for our state, and he will be missed.”

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11.16.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Issues Statement on the Passing of State Senator Greg Standridge

“…a friend and dedicated public servant.”

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement on the passing of State Senator Greg Standridge of Russellville: 

“I am saddened by the passing of Sen. Greg Standridge—a friend and dedicated public servant. I recently visited with Greg in his home, and even with his illness, he was a source of encouragement and strength. Greg served his community with distinction, and he loved his family most of all. Greg’s passing is a great loss for our state, and he will be missed.”

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11.13.2017

Governor Hutchinson Issues Statement in Support of Washington Tax Reform

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today released the following statement in support of tax-reform efforts in Washington:

“Tax reform in Washington is long overdue. I was in Congress in 2001 when we passed the last significant federal income-tax reductions, and the current effort to reform our tax code will grow the economy and create jobs.  

“In Arkansas in 2015, I signed into law a $100 million middle-class tax cut, which was the largest reduction in the state income tax in history. Since then, we’ve created thousands of jobs and enjoyed a growing economy. We’ve followed this with another $50 million tax cut in 2017. These tax cuts allow taxpayers to keep more of their paycheck, and if we can do this in Arkansas, then Washington can do the same.

“Washington’s system of taxation takes too much money, is too complicated and hampers economic growth. The result is a system that places too heavy a burden on our businesses and citizens. It places our country at a disadvantage in an increasingly competitive and mobile world. Industry can locate anywhere, and companies are finding that the corporate tax rate in the United States is too high.

“If we lower the corporate tax rate, billions of dollars will return from overseas and will give Arkansas an opportunity to continue our success in attracting new industry and investment.

“In addition, the Tax Foundation found that the individual tax cuts will result in an additional $2,020 for middle-class families in Arkansas.

“I know there are improvements and changes yet to be made, but it is important that Congress continue its progress toward this much-needed reform."  

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11.09.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: November 11th – November 18th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Saturday, November 11, 2017, through Saturday, November 18, 2017: 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas State Veterans Day Ceremony 
10:00 a.m.
MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History 
503 E 9th St, 
Little Rock, AR

Friday, November 17, 2017

FORT SMITH
Methodist Village Senior Living “Life Plan Community” Groundbreaking
9:00 a.m.
7425 Euper Lane, 
Fort Smith, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson).

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11.07.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement on Arkansas Supreme Court Decision to Stay Execution of Jack Greene

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today issued a response to the decision handed down by the Arkansas Supreme Court to stay the execution of Jack Greene.

“I am surprised by the Arkansas Supreme Court’s decision to issue an emergency stay of execution for Jack Greene,” said Governor Hutchinson. “Last-minute delays are always very difficult and only prolong the justice the Burnett family was promised more than 20 years ago.

“This case has been reviewed by the courts on numerous occasions, and the state must now await further court action before the penalty given by an Arkansas jury is carried out.”

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.683.6439)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11.06.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Intent to Grant Executive Clemency

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced his intent to grant 13 pardons and 1 restoration of firearm rights only. An additional 46 clemency requests were denied and 0 had no action taken upon them. These include requests from both inmates and non-inmates.

The applicants intended for pardons have completed all jail time, fulfilled all parole and probationary requirements and paid all fines related to their sentences. There is a 30-day waiting period to receive public feedback on the notices before final action is taken.

Governor Hutchinson intends to grant pardons to the following people:

Linda McFadden-Mills (Little Rock): Forgery 2nd Degree (C Felony) (CR-97-63); Violation of the Arkansas Hot Check Law VAHCL (U Misdemeanor) (CR-97-70); AR Hot Check Law (C Felony) (CR-97-402-1).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1997 – Howard County; 1997 – Sevier County; 1999 – Miller County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further felony convictions. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Andrea M. Adams (Arkadelphia): Theft of Property (B Felony) and Burglary (B Felony) (CR-92-97).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (1992 – Clark County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

Alvin V. Ealom (Little Rock): Robbery (Felony) (23080); Burglary & Grand Larceny (Felony) (59594) and Burglary (Felony) (59591) and Burglary & Grand Larceny (Felony) (59592).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1960 and 1971 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Duke W. Evans (Bismarck): Breaking or Entering (D Felony) (CR-91-109) and Theft of Property (A Misdemeanor) (CR-91-110), Breaking or Entering (D Felony) (CR-91-111) and Theft of Property (A Misdemeanor) (CR-91-112); Domestic Battering 3rd Degree (A Misdemeanor) (C-01-1273).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1991 and 2002 – Clark County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Eldric Kendrick (Little Rock): Battery 3rd Degree (A Misdemeanor) and Possessing Instruments of Crime (A Misdemeanor) (LRCR-95-8121).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (1995 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Willie N. Knight (Pine Bluff): Possession of a Controlled Substance, Cocaine (C Felony) (CR-95-474-3).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1995 – Jefferson County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Michael L. Porter (Troutman, NC): Theft of Property by Deception (Habitual Offender) (B Felony) (CR-85-2318) and Theft of Property (Habitual Offender) (C Felony) (CR-85-2538); Defrauding Secured Creditors (Habitual Offender) (D Felony) (CR-86-524).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (1986 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further Arkansas criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Eric B. Malott (Bradford): Possession of a Controlled Substance, Methamphetamine (C Felony) (CR-97-422).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1998 – White County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further Arkansas criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Christine Taylor Shaffer (Fort Smith): Possession of Methamphetamine w/Intent to Deliver (reduced) (A Felony), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (C Felony) and Maintaining Premises for Drug Activities (D Felony) (CR-2005-1025-B).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (2006 – Sebastian County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Joel D. Wright (Bryant): Commercial Burglary (C Felony) (CR-2004-776-4) and Theft of Property (B Felony) (CR-2004-728-4); Commercial Burglary (Probation Revocation) (CR-2004-776-IV) (C Felony) and Theft of Property (Probation Revocation) (B Felony) (CR-2004-728-IV).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (2005 and 2008 – Garland County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. The Prosecuting Attorney has raised objections to applicant's request.

Carson Roddy (Huntsville): Felon in Possession of Firearm (D Felony) (CR-2003-15); Possession of a Controlled Substance Methamphetamine (C Felony), Possession of a Controlled Substance Marijuana (A Misdemeanor) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (C Felony) (CR 2003-79).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (2003 and 2003 – Madison County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Adrion Worthy (North Little Rock): Criminal Mischief 1st Degree (C Felony) (CR 2001-1368).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2001 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Sherri Oliver Wilson (Pine Bluff): Criminal Mischief (C Felony) (CR-94-272-2).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1995 – Jefferson County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Governor Hutchinson intends to grant restoration of firearms rights only to the following person:

Eric D. Parker (Jonesboro): Possession of Drug Paraphernalia w/Intent to Manufacture Methamphetamine (B Felony) (CR-05-239).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2005 – Craighead County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. The Sheriff of Craighead County has signed the Recommendation of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer as required by law. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11.03.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: November 6th – November 11th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, November 6, 2017, through Saturday, November 11, 2017: 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas State Chamber 89th Annual Meeting
12:00 p.m.
Statehouse Convention Center
Wally Allen Ballroom
101 E Markham St,
Little Rock, AR

Friday, November 10, 2017

LITTLE ROCK
State of Arkansas Inaugural Chief Data Officer Forum 
9:00 a.m.
Arkansas State Capitol
Old Supreme Court Chamber 
500 Woodlane St,
Little Rock, AR

Saturday, November 11, 2017

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas State Veterans Day Ceremony 
10:00 a.m.
MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History 
503 E 9th St, 
Little Rock, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson).

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10.27.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Appointments

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

Dr. Richard Smith, North Little Rock, to the Arkansas State Board of Dental Examiners. Appointment expires September 1, 2022. Replaces Dr. Robert Carter.

Erika Thomas, Conway, to the Arkansas State Board of Dental Examiners. Appointment expires September 1, 2021. Replaces Jennifer Lamb.

James Burr, Farmington, to the Nutrient Water Quality Trading Advisory Panel. Appointment expires June 8, 2019. Reappointment.

John Pennington, Springdale, to the Nutrient Water Quality Trading Advisory Panel. Appointment expires June 8, 2019. Replaces James Mardis.

Heath Tibbs, Jonesboro, to the Arkansas Towing and Recovery Board. Appointment expires June 22, 2020. Reappointment.

Deana Infield, Fort Smith, to the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy. Appointment expires August 17, 2022. Replaces Jeremy Watson.

Denton Woods, Fayetteville, to the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy. Appointment expires August 17, 2022. Replaces Lloyd Franklin.

Scott Gann, North Little Rock, to the State Fire Prevention Commission. Appointment expires July 18, 2020. Replaces Charles Butler.

Marc Lowery, Harrison, to the State Fire Prevention Commission. Appointment expires July 18, 2020. Reappointment.

Ben Hammond, Sheridan, to the State Fire Prevention Commission. Appointment expires July 18, 2020. Replaces Pamela Richard.

Thomas Washington, Jacksonville, to the HVACR Licensing Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2021. Reappointment.

Bill Reid, Conway, to the Arkansas Manufactured Home Commission. Appointment expires September 1, 2022. Reappointment.

Matt White, Russellville, to the Arkansas Manufactured Home Commission. Appointment expires September 1, 2022. Reappointment.

Bill Roachell, Conway, to the Arkansas Manufactured Home Commission. Appointment expires September 1, 2019. Reappointment.

David Brazeale, Sparkman, to the Ouachita River Commission. Appointment expires September 1, 2024. Replaces Vickey Selman.

Dr. Tim Knight, Arkadelphia, to the Ouachita River Commission. Appointment expires September 1, 2024. Replaces Don Chaney.

David Richardson, Camden, to the Ouachita River Commission. Appointment expires September 1, 2024. Reappointment.

Doug Harton, Monticello, to the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2018. Replaces Christian Ashcraft.

Gregg Garner, Lake City, to the Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation. Appointment expires July 1, 2021. Reappointment.

Terry Walker, Little Rock, to the Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation. Appointment expires July 1, 2020. Reappointment.

Leslie Davis, Little Rock, to the State Board of Registration for Professional Geologists. Appointment expires October 1, 2022. Replaces Dr. Jess Porter.

Jarrod Zweifel, Cammack Village, to the State Board of Registration for Professional Geologists. Appointment expires October 1, 2022. Replaces Linda Hanson.

Frederic Simon, Conway, to the Arkansas Milk Stabilization Board. Appointment expires September 12, 2022. Reappointment.

Lisa Douglas, Forrest City, to the Compliance Advisory Panel. Appointment expires August 1, 2021. Newly created board.

Mayor Douglas Kinslow, Greenwood, to the Compliance Advisory Panel. Appointment expires August 1, 2021.

Robert Barnes, Texarkana, to the Garland Levee District Board of Directors. Appointment expires October 1, 2023. Reappointment.

Floyd Hicks, Doddridge, to the Garland Levee District Board of Directors. Appointment expires October 1, 2023. Reappointment.

Regina Walker, Mena, to the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. Appointment expires July 1, 2019. Reappointment.

Chris Villines, Benton, to the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. Appointment expires July 1, 2019. Replaces The Honorable Wesley Fowler.

Tareneh Manning, Fayetteville, to the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. Appointment expires July 1, 2019. Replaces Terry Coberly.

Curt Clark, Bentonville, to the Professional Bail Bond Company and Professional Bail Bondsman Licensing Board. Appointment expires September 30, 2024. Reappointment.

Daisy Duerr, Ozark, to the Advisory Council for the Education of Gifted and Talented Children. Appointment expires July 20, 2020. Replaces Jessica Sabin.

Haley Jones, Jonesboro, to the Advisory Council for the Education of Gifted and Talented Children. Appointment expires July 20, 2019. Replaces Linda Thompson.

Dr. Jaya Nair, Little Rock, to the Advisory Council for the Education of Gifted and Talented Children. Appointment expires July 20, 2019. Replaces Kristin Hodge.

Joyce Wood, Pearcy, to the Advisory Council for the Education of Gifted and Talented Children. Appointment expires July 20, 2019. Reappointment.

Marsha Partney, Mountain Home, to the Advisory Council for the Education of Gifted and Talented Children. Appointment expires July 20, 2020. Replaces Dr. Kathy Pillow-Price.

Yolanda Green, Little Rock, to the Arkansas State Board of Nursing. Appointment expires October 1, 2021. Reappointment.

Lance Lindow, Benton, to the Arkansas State Board of Nursing. Appointment expires October 1, 2021. Reappointment.

Rachel Sims, Little Rock, to the Arkansas State Board of Nursing. Appointment expires October 1, 2021. Replaces Terri Imus

Ronald Angel, Maumelle, to the Arkansas Veterans’ Commission. Appointment expires October 15, 2022. Reappointment.

Mary Erdman, Hot Springs Village, to the Arkansas Veterans’ Commission. Appointment expires October 15, 2022. Replaces Rex Roark.

David Major, Alma, to the Arkansas Veterans’ Commission. Appointment expires October 15, 2018. Replaces Robert Schoenborn.

Col. Ingram Philips, Fairfield Bay, to the Arkansas Veterans’ Commission. Appointment expires October 15, 2022. Replaces Col. Charles Henry.

Jason Hendren, Bentonville, to the Arkansas History Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Replaces Robert Sherer.

Gerald Canada, Bryant, to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission. Appointment expires September 1, 2018. Replaces Phillip Kaplan.

Andy Montgomery, Batesville, to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission. Appointment expires September 1, 2021. Reappointment.

Dr. Cody Decker, Roland, to the Arkansas Geographic Information Systems Board. Appointment expires August 1, 2021. Replaces Dr. Jackson Cothren.

Dr. John Dennis, Monticello, to the Arkansas Geographic Information Systems Board. Appointment expires August 1, 2021. Replaces Dr. Margaret McMillan.

Amy Whitehead, Conway, to the Arkansas Geographic Information Systems Board. Appointment expires August 1, 2021. Reappointment.

LeDante Walker, Hot Springs, to the Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2026. Replaces Jon Wilkerson.

Andrea Allen, Jonesboro, to the Arkansas Tobacco Settlement Commission. Appointment expires October 1, 2021. Replaces Dr. Susan Hanarahan.

Robert Wright, Batesville, to the Board of Trustees of Ozarka Technical College. Appointment expires July 1, 2024. Replaces Jack Yancey.

Florance Brown, Colt, as a Justice of the Peace for the St. Francis County Quorum Court, District 6. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Justin Marquis.

Damon Slinkard, Trumann, as a Justice of the Peace for the Poinsett County Quorum Court, District 5. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Gary Anderson.

Jimmy Dale Milam, Maynard, as a Justice of the Peace for the Randolph County Quorum Court, District 6. Appointment expires December 31, 2018.

Elby Lambert, Pocahontas, as a Justice of the Peace for the Randolph County Quorum Court, District 3. Appointment expires December 31, 2018.

Randy Staley, Ward, as a Justice of the Peace for the Lonoke County Quorum Court, District 2. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces B.J. Weathers.

Johnny Horton, Marshall, as a Justice of the Peace for the Searcy County Quorum Court, District 5. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces J. Donald Ragland.

Bill Rawls, Crossett, as a Justice of the Peace for the Ashley County Quorum Court, District 11. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Frank Rawls.

Michelle Huff, Evening Shade, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas.CR-17-260 Richard Conte v. State of Arkansas. Replaces Justice Rhonda K. Wood, who has disqualified herself from the case.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10.27.2017

Governor Hutchinson Applauds Approval of Higher Education Productivity Funding Formula

Calls the New Model a Historic Shift in Funding Higher Education

LITTLE ROCK – The approval of the Higher Education Productivity Funding Formula makes Arkansas one of only three states that has adopted a productivity funding formula for both 2-year colleges and 4-year universities, Governor Asa Hutchinson said today after the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the final proposal.

The Higher Education Productivity Funding Formula emphasizes student success, accountability and program completion, unlike the previous funding model, which was based primarily on student enrollment.

“I am grateful for the cooperation and energy that went into making this new funding model a reality,” Governor Hutchinson said. “The productivity funding formula is an important step towards achieving my long-range goal of increasing the percentage of Arkansans who attain post-secondary degrees by approximately 20 percent by 2025.

“By shifting the focus from student enrollment to student progression and accomplishment, we create a positive incentive for colleges and universities to encourage more students to complete their courses of study and for institutions to be more efficient in their operations.”

Arkansas’ new formula for funding state colleges and universities will further increase the percentage of Arkansans who are workforce-ready and equipped with degrees and industry-recognized certificates. This productivity model, which has been developed over a two-year period, has received overwhelming support from the Arkansas Legislature and state colleges and universities. The governor signed Act 148 of 2017 into law in February.

Governor Hutchinson also committed an additional $10 million to higher education funding. This will be the first time since 2005 that there has been a substantial increase in state funding for higher education. The $10 million will be distributed to colleges and universities based on their productivity under the new formula.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10.25.2017

Governor Hutchinson Announces Third AEDC Trade Mission to Asia; Focus on China and Japan

JONESBORO – Governor Asa Hutchinson announced today that he will be traveling to China and Japan next week as part of an Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) trade mission to meet with business and government leaders. This will mark the Governor’s third trade mission to Asia with AEDC.
 
The Governor announced the trip during a ceremony on the campus of Arkansas State University. Risever, a Chinese company, signed a memorandum of understanding with the state of Arkansas to open its first factory in North America. The company, which manufactures counterweights for excavators, will invest $20.5 million to build and equip its factory. Risever has pledged to create 130 new jobs over a four-year period.

During the trip Governor Hutchinson will visit Hefei Province to sign the formal MOU with Risever.           

"These trade missions have proven to be incredibly beneficial to Arkansas’ economy," Governor Hutchinson said. “China has become a valuable partner with recent announcements in Arkadelphia, Fort Smith, Little Rock, Forrest City, and now Jonesboro, totaling more than 1,600 new jobs and over $1.4 billion in investments. Arkansas is developing a global reputation as a great place to do business, and it’s paying dividends. I am honored to showcase all that Arkansas has to offer as we continue to expand and develop our economy."
 
"Our world is becoming smaller, and foreign investment is the new normal in economic development," said AEDC Executive Director Mike Preston. "These trade missions allow us to strengthen existing relationships and build new ones with both businesses looking to invest in the United States as well as government officials. When foreign companies invest in Arkansas, they help us diversify our economy, create more jobs, and build our image around the globe."

Governor Hutchinson will leave October 31 and return November 7.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10.23.2017

Governor Hutchinson Announces Brad Cazort as Director of Arkansas Crime Information Center

Governor thanks departing director Jay Winters for his service

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson announced today Brad Cazort, of Little Rock, as the new director of the Arkansas Crime Information Center (ACIC). The Governor recommended Cazort to the ACIC board earlier this month, and the board voted Friday in favor of the Governor’s recommendation. 

“Brad’s career as an attorney, coupled with his tremendous breadth of experience at the Arkansas Crime Information Center, make him the perfect choice for ACIC’s next director,” Governor Hutchinson said. “I am confident that under Brad’s wise and energetic leadership,  the ACIC will continue to thrive as the front-line source of up-to-date data for law-enforcement agencies in Arkansas.”

“I am deeply appreciative of the trust and confidence the Governor and the ACIC Board have placed in me,” Mr. Cazort said. “I look forward to the continued growth of the mission at ACIC to ensure that we always provide the most accurate data in the most efficient manner to those who need it.” 

Mr. Cazort, who has worked for the ACIC since 2005, replaces Jay Winters, who recently stepped down as director for health reasons after serving under two governors.

“I want to thank Jay—a man of great integrity and character—for the incredible work he has done at ACIC through the years,” Governor Hutchinson said. “After I was elected governor in 2014, Jay was one of three agency directors that I asked to stay on. His continued stellar service confirms he was the right person for the job, and his service to our state will be missed. 

“Health and family are some of the most important things in life, and I’m glad to know that Jay and his family will be able to focus on those critical factors at this time.”

About Brad Cazort:

Brad Cazort is an attorney and began his career at ACIC as administrator of the Special Services Division in 2005. Most recently, Cazort served as administrator of the Repository Division, as well as ACIC’s public information officer and liaison to the legislature. He is chair of the Little Rock Zoo Board of Governors, a volunteer position, and is a former member of the Little Rock Board of Directors

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10.20.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: October 23rd – October 28th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, October 23, 2017, through Saturday, October 28, 2017: 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

BATESVILLE
Southside Prescription 4 Life Tour
9:15 a.m.
Southside High School
70 Scott Drive
Batesville, AR

BENTON
ACDI Grand Opening Ceremony
3:30 p.m.
403 N Main Street
Benton, AR

Thursday, October 26, 2017

CONWAY
Investiture of President Houston D. Davis 
2:00 p.m.
University of Central Arkansas – Reynolds Performance Hall 
201 Donaghey Ave.
Conway, AR
Friday, October 27, 2017

LITTLE ROCK
Century Farm Family Induction
10:30 a.m.
Arkansas State Capitol Rotunda
500 Woodlane St.
Little Rock, AR

Saturday, October 28, 2017

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas Black Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Celebration
7:30 p.m.
Robinson Center Performance Hall
426 West Markham
Little Rock, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson).

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10.13.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule:  October 16th – October 21st

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, October 16, 2017, through Saturday, October 21, 2017: 

Monday, October 16, 2017

FAYETTEVILLE
Facebook TechStart Tour
10:30 a.m.
Arkansas Union
435 N Garland Ave,
Fayetteville, AR

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

NORFORK
Norfork High School
1:00 p.m.
Norfork High School
136 Mildred Simpson Dr.
Norfork, AR

Jacob Wolf House Soft Opening
2:00 p.m.
Jacob Wolf House Historic Site
13775 Highway 5 South
Norfork, AR

Thursday, October 19, 2017

JONESBORO
Hispanic Center of Jonesboro (Centro Hispano) Grand Opening
3:00 p.m.
211 Vandyne Street
Jonesboro, AR 72401

Friday, October 20, 2017

LITTLE ROCK
Delta Grassroots Caucus Annual Conference
9:30 a.m.
Clinton Presidential Center
1200 President Clinton Ave.
Little Rock, AR

Arkansas State Fair Livestock Auction 
2017 Sale of Champions
1:00 p.m.
Arkansas State Fair
Barton Coliseum 
2600 Howard St.
Little Rock, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson). 

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10.12.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Appoints Lucas M. Ferguson Prosecuting Attorney for Twentieth Judicial Circuit

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today appointed Lucas M. Ferguson of Greenbrier as the Prosecuting Attorney for the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, which includes Faulkner, Van Buren and Searcy Counties. Ferguson replaces Cody Hiland, who was sworn in Tuesday, October 10, 2017 as U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Arkansas. His term expires December 31, 2018. 

Governor Hutchinson released the following statement:

“I am delighted to announce Luke as the next Prosecuting Attorney for Arkansas’ Twentieth Judicial District. His knowledge of the law coupled with his experience in both the public and private sectors, including his previous experience as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the Twentieth Judicial District, will serve him well in this new role. 

“I have no doubt Luke will do a sensational job for the people of Arkansas and the Twentieth Judicial District, and I wish him the best of luck.”

Luke Ferguson previously served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the Twentieth Judicial District.  Most recently, he has been employed at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce and Conway Development Corporation as Senior Vice President-General Counsel.  He also spent time in the private practice of law in Conway with Hiland, Thomas and Cox, PLLC.  Ferguson earned his B.A. in Spanish and History from the University of Central Arkansas and his J.D. from the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law.  He is a longtime resident of Faulkner County and resides in Greenbrier with his wife, Jessica.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10.06.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule:  October 9th – October 14th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, October 9, 2017, through Saturday, October 14, 2017: 

Monday, October 9, 2017

LITTLE ROCK
Victory Over Violence Prayer Rally
7:00 p.m.
War Memorial Stadium
Little Rock, AR

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

LITTLE ROCK
Laboratory for Active Kids & Families Grand Opening
& Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center (ACNC) Tour
9:00 a.m.
Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center
15 Children’s Way (corner of 13th and Children’s Way/Marshall)
Little Rock, AR

LITTLE ROCK
AEDC Rural Services and
Grant Divisions Awards Ceremony
10:30 a.m.
Governor's Conference Room
State Capitol
Little Rock, AR

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

TEXARKANA
Texarkana School District Announcement
9:30 a.m.
Arkansas High School
Red Wall, 1500 Jefferson Ave.
Texarkana, AR

Thursday, October 12, 2017

RUSSELLVILLE
Fourth Annual Arkansas Computer Science Education
Leadership Summit 4.0
8:30 a.m.
Arkansas Tech University
Doc Bryan Building
1605 Coliseum Drive
Russellville, AR 

LITTLE ROCK
Goodwill Arkansas First Adult High School Grand Opening
10:30 a.m.
Goodwill HQ
7400 Scott Hamilton Drive
Little Rock, AR

Friday, October 13, 2017

SPRINGDALE
HWOA Annual Conference, Luncheon
1:00 p.m.
The Jones Center
922 East Emma Ave.
Springdale, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson).

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10.06.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Intent to Grant Executive Clemency

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced his intent to grant 17 pardons and 1 restoration of firearm rights only. An additional 41 clemency requests were denied and 1 had no action taken upon them. These include requests from both inmates and non-inmates.
The applicants intended for pardons have completed all jail time, fulfilled all parole and probationary requirements and paid all fines related to their sentences. There is a 30-day waiting period to receive public feedback on the notices before final action is taken.

Governor Hutchinson intends to grant pardons to the following people:

Thomas H. McCarthy (Fort Worth, TX): Residential Burglary (B Felony) and Theft of Property (C Felony) (CR-1998-98); of Residential Burglary (B Felony) and Theft of Property (C Felony) (Revocation)(CR-1998-98); Theft of Property (C Felony) (CR-199-550) and Breaking or Entering (D Felony) (CR-1999-553).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1999 and 2000 – Logan County; 2000 – Faulkner County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further Arkansas criminal-law violations. The Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney and Faulkner County Sheriff have raised objections to applicant's request.

Angela Owens Steltzlen (Danville): Theft of Property (B Felony) (CR-1988-2207); Forgery 2nd Degree (C Felony) (CR-1993-328); Theft of Property, 8 counts (A Misdemeanor) (Case No. SC92-523 and SC92-524).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1989, 1993 and 1994 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Evette Price (Pine Bluff): Battery 3rd Degree (A Misdemeanor) (CR-2002-670).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2003 – Jefferson County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Tammie Toddy (Searcy): Over Possession of Pseudoephedrine (D Felony) and Failure to Appear (C Felony) (CR-2003-52).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (2003 – Independence County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Ronnie J. Tribble (Mabelvale): Possession of Marijuana (Misdemeanor) (CR-85-8); Theft by Receiving (Felony) (CR-86-49).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1985 and 1987 – Lawrence County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Smith L. Galusha, III (Mabelvale): Burglary (B Felony) (CR-81-798); Robbery (B Felony) (CR-84-906B); Breaking And Entering (D Felony), Theft Of Property (C Felony) (CR-84-186) and Theft Of Property (C Felony) (CR-84-1038); Breaking And Entering (D Felony) (CR-89-1645).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1984, 1985 and 1990 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Charles R. Jones (Bauxite): Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance, Methamphetamine (Y Felony) (CR-02-445-2).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2003 – Saline County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

Robert E. Owens (Greeley, CO): Possession of Controlled Substance w/ Intent to Deliver (C Felony) (CR-78-152).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1978 – Craighead County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further Arkansas criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Summer Brooks (De Valls Bluff): Possession of a Controlled Substance, Marijuana (A Misdemeanor) (CR2004-1080); Possession of a Controlled Substance, Marijuana 2nd Offense (D Felony) (2007-3208).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (2004 and 2007 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further Arkansas criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Donald Herrington (Kirtland, NM): Attempted Delivery of a Controlled Substance (A Felony) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia w/ Intent to Manufacture, Methamphetamine (B Felony) (CR-2001-72).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (2003 – Phillips County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further Arkansas criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Rodger D. Hunter (Farmington): Forgery (C Felony) and Theft of Property (C Felony) (CR 93-220); Criminal Impersonation (Misdemeanor) (CR 94-3-14429); Forgery (Revocation) (C Felony) and Theft (Revocation) (C Felony) (CR 93-220); Theft Of Property (C Felony) and Forgery (C Felony) (CR 95-5); Forgery (C Felony) (CR 96-343); Shoplifting (Misdemeanor) (CR 97-3-32972).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997 – Pope County; 1995 – Yell County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Jacob Jones, Jr. (Little Rock): Theft of Property (B Felony) (CR 2005-002631).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2005 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

Justin H. Lunsford (Booneville): Residential Burglary, 2 counts (B Felony) and Theft of Property, 2 counts (C Felony) (CR-96-203I); Commercial Burglary, 2 counts (C Felony) and Theft of Property, 1 count (B Felony) (CR-96-76).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1996 – Crawford County; 1997 – Logan County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. The Logan County Prosecutor has raised objections to applicant's request.

Tamara L. Whitt (Alexander): Theft of Property (C Felony) (CR-1990-2233).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1991 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Trenady Vance (Springdale): Conspiracy to Deliver a Controlled Substance-Methamphetamine (A Felony) and Delivery of a Controlled Substance-Marijuana (C Felony) (CR-1996-1737).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (1997 – Washington County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Tamara J. Easey (Joplin, MO): two counts of Conspiracy to Manufacture a Controlled Substance, Methamphetamine (A Felony) (CR-2004-410) (Probation Revocation); two counts of Conspiracy to Manufacture a Controlled Substance, Methamphetamine (A Felony) (CR-2004-410) (Probation Revocation).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (2005 and 2007 – Boone County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further Arkansas criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Otis R. Banks (North Little Rock): Possession of Marijuana (C Felony), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (C Felony), and Maintaining a Drug Premises (D Felony) (CR-2001-2264).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (2001 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Governor Hutchinson intends to grant restoration of firearms rights only to the following person:

Ivory Robinson, Jr. (Marvell): Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver-Marijuana, 2 Counts (C Felony) (CR-2002-154).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (2005 – Phillips County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. The Sheriff of Phillips County has signed the Recommendation of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer as required by law. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10.04.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Says First-of-its-Kind Cyber Range is ‘Next Step’ in Computer-Science Initiative;

Announces $500,000 Grant to UCA, Partnership with AETN

Students will learn to detect, defeat cyber-attacks on simulated network

CONWAY — Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced that a $500,000 grant from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education will be provided to the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) to help pay for a fully functional dedicated cyber range for educational training—a first-of-its-kind operation. This “cutting edge tool” in high tech cyber security training will be housed on the campus of UCA and is a complementary initiative to support computer-science education in Arkansas.

A cyber range is a dedicated computer system that can simulate a computer network. Using the cyber range, students will learn how to identify a cyber-attack and defend against it. 

“The Cyber Range means UCA will have state of the art technology that will be available through AETN to Arkansas students, both in high school and college.” said Governor Hutchinson. “This represents the next step in our computer science initiative; one which I know will keep Arkansas as a national leader in technology education.”

“As a result of this investment, UCA will be one of only a few institutions in the country with a cyber range.  UCA’s partnership with AETN is unique and will allow broader access to the cyber range by students and educational partners across Arkansas.” 

While cyber ranges have long been utilized for the nation’s security matters, today’s announcement means students in Arkansas will have access to that same technology—for the very first time.  Moreover, this will be the first educational cyber range in the region, and Arkansas will be the first in the country to implement a range with higher education and K-12 curriculum plans at the range’s foundation.

Governor Hutchinson joined UCA President Houston Davis, Courtney Pledger, Director of the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN), and Stephen Addison, UCA’s Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, for the announcement.

“This is another opportunity for students at UCA to gain real-world experience and to develop and enhance skills needed in today’s ever-changing technological world,” President Davis said. “We are appreciative of the support from Gov. Asa Hutchinson and his office, as well as his efforts to shift the landscape around computer science and technological education in Arkansas.”

Also announced Wednesday was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UCA and AETN, creating a partnership to develop cyber security, coding, computer programming, computer science and other curricula in Arkansas schools.

“AETN is committed to computer-science education for Arkansas students,” said Director Pledger. “Our education team is enthusiastic to partner with UCA on cyber security training; we're eager to use our online media tools through this initiative to prepare students for opportunities in future-facing technologies.” 

The interdisciplinary bachelor’s in cyber security is expected to begin in fall 2018. The program will be supported by the UCA College of Business, College of Liberal Arts and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

“We proposed bringing a cyber range here to UCA in support of our developing a cyber-security degree program,” said Dean Addison. “With the cyber range, we will be able to inject viruses onto the range without putting a free roaming virus on the internet. Students will be able to learn cyber security in real time systems.”

CONTACT:

J.R. Davis – Communications Director, Office of Governor Asa Hutchinson
501.683.6439, JR.Davis@governor.arkansas.gov

Christina Madsen – Associate VP for Communications, Public Relations and Marketin
501.852.2659, christinam@uca.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09.29.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: October 2nd – October 7th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, October 2, 2017, through Saturday, October 7, 2017: 

Monday, October 2, 2017

PITTSBURGH, PA
Gov. Hutchinson to Chair Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission Annual Convention
8:30 a.m.
Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square
300 W Station Square Dr. 
Pittsburgh, PA

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

LITTLE ROCK
Special Announcement
Details Coming Soon
2:00 p.m.
Governor’s Conference Room
500 Woodlane St.
Little Rock, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson).

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09.27.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Joins Simmons Prepared Foods to Announce New Chicken Operation in Benton County

Company to invest $300 million and create 1,500 new jobs

BENTON COUNTY—Today, Simmons Prepared Foods, Inc. announced it will build a new chicken facility in Benton County between Decatur and Gentry. Governor Asa Hutchinson joined Simmons’ leadership and local officials at today’s announcement at Simmons Great Hall on the campus of John Brown University.

The company plans to invest $300 million in the facility which is expected to create approximately 1,500 new jobs, bringing total employment at the operation to over 2,300 people by 2022. It will also create new contracts with local Arkansas farmers. The facility will produce fresh and frozen chicken products for retail and restaurant customers with capacity to sell approximately 850 million pounds of poultry meat annually at full production. The company expects to begin new operations in 2019.

“We’re thrilled to bring this project to our community and are grateful for the cooperation from the Cities of Decatur and Gentry, local officials, Arkansas Economic Development Commission and the State of Arkansas,” said Todd Simmons, CEO of Simmons Foods, Inc. and Affiliates. “This project positions us to continue meeting our customers’ needs.”

The design will feature modern production facilities and contemporary office space supported with best-in-class environmental technologies. Simmons also plans to increase starting pay at production facilities later this year. 

“Simmons Foods is a homegrown company that continues to invest heavily in Northwest Arkansas,” said Governor Hutchinson. “This announcement comes just two months after the company held a ribbon-cutting at its new pet food ingredient facility in Siloam Springs, which goes to show the faith they have in the area’s workforce and their commitment to the state. We competed with both Oklahoma and Missouri for this project, and I’m proud to say we won.”

County Judge Barry Moehring also joined today’s announcement.

"Entrepreneurial families built the backbone of our community,” said Judge Moehring. “We are fortunate to have great, role model businesses in Northwest Arkansas. Simmons is one of those."

Simmons’ existing operations in the Decatur, Arkansas area include a feed mill, hatchery, propane business, business offices and a chicken processing facility, along with a dry pet food production facility operated by Simmons Pet Food. Some processing operations will transition from the existing facility to the proposed plant once construction is complete.

About Simmons Prepared Foods

Simmons Prepared Foods, an affiliate of Simmons Foods, is a farm to fork poultry producer based in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Simmons operates 3 hatcheries and 2 feed mills which supply nearly 300 independent poultry growers and 20+ company managed farms who raise approximately 200 million birds per year. The company’s 6 processing plants produce 750 million pounds of finished product per year for customer brands around the world.

This year, Simmons began offering chicken raised without the use of antibiotics important to human medicine. In 2018 Simmons will begin offering No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) products.

About Simmons Foods Inc. and Affiliates

Simmons is a leading supplier of poultry, pet food and feed ingredient solutions. Founded in 1949 in Arkansas, the company and its affiliates remain a privately owned and family led business. 
Across its three business affiliates, Simmons employs over 4,000 people in the state of Arkansas. In July, the company’s Feed Ingredients affiliate opened a new pet food ingredient facility bringing 78 new jobs and an estimated $50 Million in economic impact to Arkansas. 

Simmons Foods works with farmers, communities, and employees to apply more than 65 years of experience to serving customers. With more than 5,800 employees across more than 30 facilities, Simmons is committed to providing innovative food products and services to the world. For more information on Simmons Foods, visit simmonsfoods.com.

Gov. Hutchinson Joins Simmons Prepared Foods to Announce New Chicken Operation in Benton County

Donny Epp - Communications Director, Simmons Foods
479.215.2626, donny.epp@simfoods.com

Jeff Moore – Executive VP – Marketing and Communications, AEDC
501.682.7317, jmoore@arkansasedc.com

J.R. Davis – Communications Director, Office of Governor Asa Hutchinson
501.683.6439, JR.Davis@governor.arkansas.gov 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09.27.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Announces Record High Employment

Attributes success to state’s workforce, natural resources and state’sefforts to recruit industry

HOT SPRINGS – Governor Asa Hutchinson announced today at an event in Hot Springs that the number of people employed in Arkansas is at an all-time high, a statistic the governor attributes to private sector confidence in the economy, in addition to the state’s successful efforts to recruit industry and a growing appreciation nationally of the state’s strong workforce and natural resources.

“Our aggressive recruiting nationally and around the world is paying off as more and more industries expand or relocate to Arkansas,” Governor Hutchinson said. “From our computer science initiative to the state’s strong workforce, companies are taking notice. While there’s always more work to be done, these statistics are a good indication that Arkansas’s economy continues to trend in the right direction, and—more importantly—that Arkansans are finding work.”

In August, a record 1,329,979 people were employed in Arkansas, beating the previous record of 1,327,941 in July of this year, according to the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.

The unemployment rate in Arkansas reached a record low of 3.4% in 2017, down from 5.6% in January 2015, when Governor Hutchinson took office. Currently unemployment sits at 3.5%, nearly a full percentage point below the national average, and Arkansas has been below the national unemployment rate for 28 consecutive months and at or below 4% for 14 months.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09.25.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Applauds President’s Focus and Support for Computer-Science Education Nationwide

LITTLE ROCK – President Trump’s commitment of $200 million a year to high-tech education will enhance Arkansas’ nation-leading efforts to ensure that students in every public school have access to computer-science training, Governor Asa Hutchinson said today after the President announced the plan.

In his first month in office, Governor Hutchinson helped guide legislation that made Arkansas the first state in the nation to require all public high schools to provide classes in computer coding. The Governor also provided $2.5 million a year for four years to train teachers and support K-12 computer-science education. Several national publications have cited Arkansas as a leader in computer-science education.

“I’m delighted with the President’s focus on computer-science education, and for the White House’s commitment to providing the resources necessary to increase access to computer science for our students,” the Governor said this afternoon.

“Arkansas continues to lead the nation in these efforts — from our first-of-its-kind legislation mandating that every Arkansas high school teach computer science, to providing the funding needed for schools to fulfill that directive. There is, of course, much more to be done, but the federal government’s support of an increase in focus and funding is key. This will further our efforts to train teachers and increase student access, while preparing them for the abundance of opportunities in today’s ever-changing economy.”

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09.25.2017

Little Rock 9’s ‘Quiet Determination’ To Resist Unfair System Changed Nation, Set Example

LITTLE ROCK – The “quiet determination” and “stubborn refusal” of the Little Rock 9 to abandon their dreams in the face of an unfair system changed the path of the nation, Governor Asa Hutchinson told the crowd gathered today on the 60th anniversary of the day they entered Central High School.

Governor Hutchinson was one of several speakers who joined the eight surviving members of the Little Rock 9 on the stage of Central High’s Roosevelt Thompson Auditorium. 

Minnijean Brown Trickey, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Thelma Mothershed Wair, Dr. Terrence Roberts, and Carlotta Walls Lanier sat to the right of the lectern, with one empty chair in honor of Jefferson Thomas, who died in 2010.

“Your quiet determination and your stubborn refusal to abandon your dreams not only forced action, but set an example that will last into the ages,” Governor Hutchinson said. “The events of that fall day changed the path of a nation.”

The Little Rock 9 were among the pioneers who took a courageous stand against the segregation of the United States, he said, and “that fact gives us all an even greater appreciation for the lonely steps of the Little Rock 9 as they confronted hostility, the unknown and a defiant governor.”

They certainly encouraged Martin Luther King Jr., who was in the audience in the spring of 1958 when Ernest Green became the first African-American graduate of Central High, the governor noted. 

“Perhaps Reverend King was propelled by that moment to fully see the potential of his own dreams; and perhaps he got a glimpse of the mountain top where all of God's children are created equal,” Governor Hutchinson said.

But this is not a time to rest on victories, he said. “The victories sacrificially won by the Little Rock 9 do not guarantee equal opportunity or freedom from discrimination for this generation or the next.  … We must be constant in educating the current generation of the importance of tolerance, forgiveness and equal treatment.”

The governor thanked the Little Rock 9 for enduring the pain. “There is no other word to describe your experience. … We are grateful as a state and nation for the difference you made. Arkansas claims you as pioneers, heroes and examples to follow.”

• The video of Governor Hutchinson’s speech can be found HERE.
• The transcript of his speech can be found HERE

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09.22.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule:  September 25th – September 30th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, September 25, 2017, through Saturday, September 30, 2017: 

Monday, September 25, 2017

LITTLE ROCK
Commemoration Ceremony for the 60th Anniversary
Of the Integration of Central High School
10:00 a.m.
Little Rock Central High School
1500 S Park St
Little Rock, AR

CHARLESTON, SC
Gov. Hutchinson to Chair the 57th Annual Meeting
of the Southern States Energy Board
Sunday—Tuesday
Francis Marion Hotel
387 King St
Charleston, SC


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

MOUNTAIN PINE
AEDC Announcement
10:30 a.m.
TBA
Mountain Pine, AR

HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK
Hot Springs National Park Rotary Club
11:45 a.m.
Arlington Hotel
239 Central Ave
Hot Springs National Park, AR

HOT SPRINGS
Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police
1:30 p.m.
Hot Springs Convention Center, Hall A
140 Convention Center
Hot Springs, AR


Thursday, September 28, 2017

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Annual Meeting
8:30 a.m.
Embassy Suites
11301 Financial Centre Pkwy
Little Rock, AR


Saturday, September 30, 2017

LITTLE ROCK
World Woman Summit, 2017
8:45 a.m.
Clinton Presidential Center
1200 President Clinton Ave
Little Rock, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson).

Contact: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09.22.2017

Governor Hutchinson Answers Questions About Effect of Graham-Cassidy Bill on Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has signed a letter in support of the Graham-Cassidy Bill that the U.S. Senate is considering as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. 

The governor has consistently opposed any change that would shift the cost of healthcare onto the states. The block grants that are the foundation of this bill would allow Arkansas to design its own healthcare initiatives in a way that best covers and protects Arkansans. 

The Trump Administration invited Governor Hutchinson to the White House last month to meet with three other governors for discussion about the bill. His leadership on the bill has been recognized nationally. 

From Governor Hutchinson:

"My message has been consistent throughout this debate. The Affordable Care Act should be repealed and replaced with something that works, that is affordable, that continues to provide access to healthcare all the while providing a mechanism to better control costs. Most importantly, I’ve consistently stated that a replacement bill should not shift costs to the states, and I have pushed back on recent legislation that would do so. 

"Graham-Cassidy satisfies my concerns, and I believe it is a true repeal and replace bill that offers states the flexibility the governors have requested in a block grant format for some time now.

“As for some of the misinformation being circulated, Graham-Cassidy will not strip coverage from Arkansans with pre-existing conditions nor do I have any concerns with the long-term success of the program after 2026. The Graham-Cassidy bill follows the CHIP model, which Congress has consistently reauthorized since its creation 20 years ago. In fact, CHIP is up for reauthorization now and there is a bipartisan effort to do so. There is no reason to believe future Congresses and Administrations will act any differently in their approach to this new block grant program.”

The Governor's office put together this document to explain how the bill will affect Arkansas:

1. What is the Graham-Cassidy Bill?

The Graham-Cassidy bill is a true replacement to the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) that, if passed, will provide states the flexibility through block grant funding to innovate, identify efficiencies and find cost-savings while maintaining coverage for their populations. It is the nation's best and last chance to repeal and replace the unsustainable ACA.

The Graham-Cassidy bill will repeal the individual and employer mandates established under Obamacare and return the power to regulate insurance to the states.

The Graham-Cassidy bill will also implement a more equitable approach to federal healthcare funding for ALL states.

2. If the bill becomes law, will Arkansans with pre-existing conditions be protected?

Absolutely. Throughout this debate, Governor Hutchinson has emphasized his commitment to ensuring access to affordable coverage for all Arkansans, including those with pre-existing conditions.

While Graham-Cassidy allows for a state to waive certain provisions under the ACA, the statute clearly states that a Governor seeking such a waiver would have to show an alternative plan to provide access to adequate and affordable coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.

3. What would it mean for Arkansas?

If Graham-Cassidy passes: Arkansas Works would continue, as would the reforms the state is working to implement (lowering the income threshold and instituting work requirements) in the program. Between now and March 31, 2019, the date in which the block grant application would be due, the state would begin working with the provider community, healthcare advocates, the patient community, insurance carriers, and state officials to design a plan that works well for Arkansas. It’s important that the state get it right.

It will also allow the state to continue to identify and achieve cost-savings being pursued under current reform efforts. For example, the Governor and the Healthcare Legislative Task Force, along with DHS, have developed a plan to create $835 million in savings over a 5-year period. The state is well on its way to that goal.

4. Will Arkansas lose federal funds under Graham-Cassidy?

Graham-Cassidy puts federal spending on a budget—a realistic, manageable and achievable budget. This sort of discipline is long overdue in Washington and the states must be a partner in making our health care programs more sustainable.

Federal spending will grow at a slower rate under Graham-Cassidy than under current law, but states will have greater flexibility to manage the new growth rates and will no longer be required to pay a state match for the Medicaid expansion population.

The level of funding that will be provided to Arkansas is sufficient, and the state already has experience successfully operating healthcare programs under budget caps. In fact, the Arkansas Works program includes budget neutrality caps, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is based on capped allotments. Graham-Cassidy has a similar structure.

It’s important to note that the block grants under Graham-Cassidy represent 95% of the spending projections under current law (ACA) for private insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion, nationally. Therefore, Arkansas can maintain high coverage levels under this plan.

5. Is there a state match under Graham-Cassidy like there is under the ACA?

There is no state match for Medicaid expansion required under the Graham-Cassidy bill. Under Obamacare, Arkansas currently has a 5 percent match ($100 million) for this population that the state pays to the federal government. That match will increase to 10 percent ($200 million) a year in the coming years under the current law.

Graham-Cassidy does not require a state match for the block grant funding that will replace the ACA’s expansion and private insurance subsidy system. In Arkansas, this will free up more than one billion dollars in general revenue between 2020 and 2026.

6. If this bill becomes law, will Arkansas proceed with current reform efforts to the Arkansas Works program and the waiver request pending at the Federal level?

The Graham-Cassidy block grants do not take effect until 2020. This means Arkansas will proceed with the Arkansas Works waiver amendment as planned, which includes lowering the income threshold for the program from 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 100 percent and instituting work requirements.

Lowering the FPL to 100 percent will reduce enrollment in the Arkansas Works program by approximately 60,000 Arkansans. Most of these individuals will then become eligible for federally subsidized coverage through the individual marketplace, allowing the state to concentrate limited resources on those who need it most. The block grant program would allow the state to continue a similar model beginning in 2020, if that is deemed to be the best path forward for Arkansas.

7. If the individual mandate is repealed, will this destabilize the individual marketplace? Won’t premiums become more expensive faster if healthier individuals flee the individual marketplace?

The best way to stabilize the market is to return control back to the states. There is no such thing as a national health insurance market. Markets are state and local—competition for customers who decide for themselves what coverage they want and at what price will lower premiums.

In many cases, the individual mandate has not been successful in convincing healthy individuals to purchase insurance. The flexibility allowed under Graham-Cassidy will result in a wider range of coverage options, which may be a more effective way to motivate individuals to buy insurance.

Under the Graham-Cassidy block grants, states will have ultimate flexibility to design an individual health insurance market that meets the needs of their populations. For instance, they could provide direct financial assistance to individuals to buy health insurance; direct payment to providers for healthcare services; and/or assistance to insurance carriers to help stabilize premiums. These mechanisms will also be helpful in ensuring market participation and access to care.

8. How will funding for the aged and disable population be affected?

Under Graham-Cassidy, per capita caps will be applied to several different Medicaid populations, including aged and disabled individuals. These caps will be set based on several factors, including the cost of covering the various populations in recent years. Additionally, the long-term growth rate for the aged and disabled population will remain higher than the growth rate for other populations, to account for the higher costs often required to provide needed services to these individuals. In addition, Arkansas can utilize a portion of its block grant funds for traditional Medicaid to fill any gaps, when and where necessary.

9. Is block-granting health care funds to the states and letting them decide how to use the money a good thing? 

It is not only a good thing, but the right thing. The ACA proved, among other things, there is no national health insurance market. There are only state and local markets. The ACA transferred authority over state health programs and markets from the states to the federal government, causing significant market disruption.

The federal government was never involved in regulating insurance until the ACA and its role in the process in recent years has resulted in duplicative and burdensome administrative requirements. The decisions about individual mandates, mandated benefits, and all the other decisions the ACA moved to Washington are best made at the state level by governors who understand the unique characteristics and needs of their states. Graham-Cassidy is about putting authority and responsibility back together at the state level and that, in itself, will help stabilize the markets.

10. Will states lose the block grant entirely after 2026? 

No. Graham-Cassidy follows the CHIP model. When CHIP was created, Congress only provided funding and authority for 7 years. In the 20-year history of CHIP, Congress has consistently reauthorized and periodically increased funding for it. In fact, CHIP is up for reauthorization now and there is a bipartisan effort to ensure the program continues.

There is no reason to believe future Congresses and Administrations will act any differently in their approach this new block grant program, which will be the basis of access to care for many Americans.

11. What is the Governor’s perspective in the healthcare debate?

Governor Hutchinson believes the Affordable Care Act is the wrong direction for America. He has always supported its repeal, and his message has been clear and consistent throughout this debate. The Governor believes it should be repealed and replaced with something that works, is affordable, and continues to provide access to healthcare—all the while providing flexibility to the states and a mechanism to better control costs.

Most importantly, the Governor has repeatedly stated that he will not support a replacement bill that dramatically shifts costs to the states. Graham-Cassidy meets these conditions and would enable Arkansas to develop an innovative and sustainable path forward.

A PDF of this FAQ can be found HERE.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09.19.2017

Arkansas Has ‘Literally Written The Book’ On Teaching Computer Literacy, Publication Says

Article Chronicles Governor Hutchinson’s Coding Initiative

LITTLE ROCK – States that are attempting to boost computer literacy in their schools are turning to Arkansas, which has inspired a national wave of interest in computer-science education, according to The 74, a news site that specializes in education reporting.

The 3,000-word story chronicles the history of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s initiative to require computer-science education in every public school in Arkansas.

“Arkansas helped launch what is easily a wave of states that have made computer-science … a priority …,” the chief operating officer at Code.org, told The 74. “I’d say Arkansas has the most detailed set of policies that we have seen.”

The 74 describes itself as a “non-profit, non-partisan news site covering education in America.” The website’s name refers to the 74 million children in the United States under the age of 18.

Read the full story here.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09.15.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Appointments

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

Chad Pekron, Bryant, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas. CV-17-168 The Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas v. Matthew Andrews. Replaces Justice Courtney Hudson Goodson, who has disqualified herself from the case.

Steve Rucker, Alma, to the Residential Contractors Committee. Appointment expires October 1, 2018. Replaces Fred Rausch.

Marliese Kerr, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Home Inspector Registration Board. Appointment expires January 26, 2018. Replaces Cheryl Payne-Nesuda.

Dr. Brian Bell, North Little Rock, to the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Task Force. Appointment expires December 31, 2019.

Dr. Carmencita Poe, Little Rock, to the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Task Force. Appointment expires December 31, 2019. 

Lisa Vaden, Little Rock, to the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Task Force. Appointment expires December 31, 2019.

Dr. Sarah Harrington, Little Rock, to the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Task Force. Appointment expires December 31, 2019.

Dr. Angela Norman, El Dorado, to the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Task Force. Appointment expires December 31, 2019.

Suzanne McCarthy, Little Rock, to the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Task Force. Appointment expires December 31, 2019.

Barry Haas, Little Rock, to the Water Provider Legislative Task Force. Appointment expiresJanuary 1, 2019.

Robert Burns, Little Rock, to the Board of Trustees of the State Police Retirement System. Appointment expires July 1, 2024. Replaces John W. Allison. 

Dr. Rodney Harris, Pocahontas, to the State Review Committee for Historic Preservation. Appointment expires June 30, 2021. Replaces Dr. Ben Johnson, III.

Kelsey Bardwell, Harrison, to the State Review Committee for Historic Preservation. Appointment expires June 30, 2021. Replaces James Sharp, III.

Jammy Turner, Gillett, to the Arkansas Agriculture Board. Appointment expires August 15, 2021. Replaces David Elam. 

Robert Balloun, Dardanelle, to the Arkansas Agriculture Board. Appointment expires August 15, 2021. Reappointment.

Chirie Bazzelle, Benton, to the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling. Appointment expires December 31, 2019. Replaces Clementine Kelley.

Dr. Suzanne Casey, Searcy, to the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling. Appointment expires December 1, 2018. Replaces Dr. John Carmack. 

Dr. Michael Kelly, Arkadelphia, to the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling. Appointment expires December 31, 2019. Replaces Tina Livingston. 

Dr. Ryan Martin, Fayetteville, to the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling. Appointment expires December 31, 2019. Replaces Dr. Charmaine Caldwell. 

Patrick Benca, Little Rock, to the Sex Offender Assessment Committee. Appointment expiresJuly 1, 2021. Reappointment. 

Aimee Cloud, Conway, to the Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Appointment expires June 30, 2020. Replaces Karen Bright. 

Dr. Laura Smith-Olinde, Little Rock, to the Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment. 

Elizabeth Williams, Fayetteville, to the Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Appointment expires June 30, 2020. Reappointment. 

Michael Yarbrough, Benton, to the Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Replaces Michael Walton. 

Gary Proffitt, Cabot, to the Arkansas Tobacco Control Board. Appointment expires July 1, 2022. Replaces Stephen Lightle.

Dr. John Lynch, Jonesboro, to the Breast Cancer Control Advisory Board. Appointment expiresJanuary 14, 2021. Reappointment. 

Alicia Storey, Bono, to the Breast Cancer Control Advisory Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Reappointment. 

Sharon Parrett, Hot Springs, to the Breast Cancer Control Advisory Board. Appointment expiresJanuary 14, 2021. Reappointment. 

Layza Lopez-Love, Springdale, to the Arkansas Minority Health Commission. Appointment expires January 31, 2019. Replaces Melisa Laelan. 

Christine Patterson, Redfield, to the Arkansas Minority Health Commission. Appointment expires January 31, 2019. Replaces Linda McGhee. 

Louis Portlock, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Minority Health Commission. Appointment expiresJanuary 31, 2019. Replaces Vanessa Davis. 

Timothy Barnes, Clinton, to the Board of Visitors for the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts. Appointment expires January 14, 2018. Replaces Donna Hutchison. 

Brian Reed, Jonesboro, to the Board of Visitors for the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts. Appointment expires January 14, 2020. Replaces Cynthia Miller. 

Todd West, Fayetteville, to the Board of Visitors for the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts. Appointment expires January 14, 2024. Replaces William Watson. 

Kurt Schrock, Fayetteville, to the Board of Directors of Northwest Technical Institute. Appointment expires June 30, 2022. Replaces Les Garrett. 

Rick McClure, Malvern, to the Board of Trustees of College of the Ouachitas. Appointment expires July 1, 2024. Reappointment. 

Rebecca Pittillo, White Hall, to the Board of Trustees of Southeast Arkansas College. Appointment expires July 1, 2024. Reappointment. 

Philip Blankenship, Booneville, to the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. Appointment expires June 30, 2023. Replaces Roger Carter. 

Angie Hopkins, Maumelle, to the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. Appointment expires June 30, 2023. Replaces Cheryl Felder Stuart. 

Kevin White, Van Buren, to the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. Appointment expires June 30, 2023. Replaces Mary Bassett. 

Elizabeth Crone, Mabelvale, to the Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2020. Replaces Tommie Davis.

Janet Hedges, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board. Appointment expiresJune 30, 2020. Replaces Gary Gray. 

Leigh Hudson, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board. Appointment expiresJune 30, 2020. Replaces Harold Dean. 

Robert Campbell, Witts Springs, to the State Plant Board. Appointment expires August 15, 2019. Reappointment.

Bruce Alford, Lewisville, to the State Plant Board. Appointment expires August 15, 2019. Reappointment. 

Matthew Marsh, Cammack Village, to the State Plant Board. Appoinment expires March 17, 2019. Replaces Jammy Turner. 

Johnny Gardner, Piggott, as a Constable for the Bradshaw/Haywood Township in Clay County. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Jeffery Featherston. 

John Robert Davis, Fountain Hill, as a Constable for the Longview Township in Ashley County. Appointment expires December 31, 2018.

Alma Gipson, Bigelow, as a Justice of the Peace for the Perry County Quorum Court, District 4. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Billy Gipson.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)
 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09.12.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Appoints John Shepherd as Prosecuting Attorney for the 13th Judicial District

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has appointed John Thomas Shepherd of El Dorado to serve as the prosecuting attorney for the 13th Judicial District. Shepherd will replace David Butler, who passed away earlier this year. Shepherd will serve until December 31, 2018, when the next prosecuting attorney is elected. 

“I am pleased to appoint John Shepherd to serve as prosecuting attorney for the 13th Judicial District. Shepherd's impressive legal ability and experience as the deputy prosecuting attorney will serve him well in this new role,” Governor Hutchinson said. “I am confident that he will be a tremendous asset to the 13th district and the people of Arkansas.”

John Shepherd is a partner at Law Offices Shepherd & Shepherd, P.A., in El Dorado and has served as the deputy prosecuting attorney for the 13th Judicial District since November of 2016. 

John currently serves on the board of directors for the Eighth Circuit Bar Association and is the president of the Union County Bar Association. He is also recognized as a certified contract advisor by the National Football League Players Association. Additionally, he serves as a commissioner for the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. Shepherd graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arkansas School of Law, where he was managing editor of the Arkansas Law Review

The 13th Judicial District serves Calhoun, Cleveland, Columbia, Ouachita, Dallas and Union counties.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09.11.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement on 16th Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today issued the following statement in remembrance of the 16th anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001.

"For me, as with many Americans, September 11th is a day that brings up vivid memories and strong emotions. At the time, I was serving as the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

"In the days that followed the attacks, in the midst of terror and destruction, we saw the face of America. We saw the strength and resilience that built our nation and that would rebuild it. 

"Today, hundreds of thousands of Americans are assessing their losses in Texas and Florida, where the winds of Hurricane Irma continue to pound. But let me share my assessment of Americans: We are brave. We are resilient. We always rise to meet the challenges of the day. 

“I saw that first-hand when President Bush asked me to serve as Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security. In that role, I was honored to be trusted to help lead our nation's efforts to prevent an attack like this from ever happening again. 

"Sixteen years ago, terrorists tried to bring the United States of America to its knees. Yet we continue to stand tall as a beacon of freedom, opportunity and hope to the rest of the world. In the past 16 years, we have not forgotten those we lost, nor will we forget the courage, resilience and sacrifice of the American people."

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09.08.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: September 11th – September 16th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, September 11, 2017, through Saturday, September 16, 2017: 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas Association of Energy Engineers & NEBB Energy Efficiency Conference
12:15 p.m.
Crown Plaza Hotel
201 S Shackleford Rd
Little Rock, AR 72211

Governor's Quality Award Celebration
6:00 p.m.
Marriott Hotel Ballroom
3 Statehouse Plaza
Little Rock, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson).

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)
 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09.06.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Announces State’s Naloxone Standing Protocol

“Naloxone in the hands of more Arkansans, including ourfirst responders, will save lives”


LITTLE ROCK –  At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Governor Hutchinson, alongside Kirk Lane, DHS State Director of Drug Prevention, and other administration officials, announced the creation of the state’s Naloxone Standing Protocol.

The Naloxone Standing Protocol was developed pursuant to Act 284 of 2017 by Senators Cecile Bledsoe and Lance Eads and Representative Justin Boyd. Similar to an immunization order, it allows licensed pharmacists in Arkansas to order, dispense and/or administer naloxone without a prescription as therapy, providing greater access to more Arkansans and first responders in the event of a drug overdose. 

Dr. Nate Smith, Director and State Health Officer of the Arkansas Department of Health, will serve as the prescriber of record for the protocol.  

“The effects of opioid addiction—on individuals, families, and our state—are staggering,” said Governor Hutchinson. “Reports of drug-related injuries and deaths across the nation are increasing, and sadly, we’ve seen the tragic effects of this epidemic on the communities in our state, as well.

“The Naloxone Standing Protocol is just one step Arkansas is taking to fight back by allowing easier access to this life-saving medication and helping to reduce the number of lives lost to opioid abuse. There is no doubt that putting Naloxone in the hands of more Arkansans, including our first responders, will save lives.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths from prescription opioids like Oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone have more than quadrupled since 1999. One half of all opioid overdose deaths can be attributed to prescription opioids. 

“Establishing a Standing Protocol for Naloxone in Arkansas will increase access to a proven life-saving measure that will benefit Arkansans struggling with substance abuse disorders that involve opioids,” said Kirk Lane, DHS State Director of Drug Prevention. “This protocol was made possible by the collective effort of our legislators, the medical community and state government working together to solve this issue in Arkansas under the leadership of Governor Asa Hutchinson.

“Establishing this Naloxone Standing Protocol is an important step toward achieving our goal of reducing the misuse and abuse of drugs in Arkansas.”

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist delivered via injection or nasal spray that is used to block or reverse an opioid overdose, whether it is a powerful prescription pain medication or a street drug, such as heroin. Naloxone will have no effect on respiratory depression caused from non-opioid substances.  

This standing order is one of the recommendations made recently by the National Opioid Task Force to President Trump as a necessary change to assist is the reducing the opioid epidemic. In 2015, the Arkansas Legislature passed Act 1222, known as the Good Samaritan Act, to cover liability of the use of this substance by trained individuals.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09.06.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Intent to Grant Executive Clemency

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced his intent to grant 17 pardons and 1 commutation. An additional 36 clemency requests were denied and 4 had no action taken upon them. These include requests from both inmates and non-inmates.

The applicants intended for pardons have completed all jail time, fulfilled all parole and probationary requirements and paid all fines related to their sentences. There is a 30-day waiting period to receive public feedback on the notices before final action is taken.

Governor Hutchinson intends to grant pardons to the following people:

Jerrill W. Holmes (Fort Smith): Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver (Felony) (CR-82-381); Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (C Felony) and Possession of Methamphetamine (C Felony) (CR-2001-204) and Non-Support (D Felony) (CR-2002-10).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1983 and 2002 – Sebastian County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

David W. Anemone (Hot Springs): Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (C Felony) (CR-2002-458-IV).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2003 – Garland County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Holli R. Burns (Port Charlotte, FL): Forgery in the 2nd Degree (C Felony) (CR-95-286).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1996 – Faulkner County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further Arkansas criminal-law violations. The Sheriff has raised objections to the application. 

Debbie Smith Cotton (Pine Bluff): Theft of Property (A Misdemeanor) (PBCR 89-01145); Fail to Appear for Plea (Misdemeanor) (PBCR 90-01176); Theft of Property (C Felony) (CR 94-3379A); Domestic Battery (A Misdemeanor) (PBCR 96-06714); and Violate Curfew Ordinance (Misdemeanor) (PBCR 97-05782).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1990, 1996 and 1997 – Jefferson County; 1995 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Lora Green (Little Rock): Theft of Property (C Felony) (CR-92-414); Battery 3rd Degree (A Misdemeanor) (CR-94001735), Criminal Impersonation (A Misdemeanor) (CR-94001734), Disorderly Conduct (A Misdemeanor) (CR-94001733), Public Intoxication (A Misdemeanor) (CR-94111732) and Fail to Appear (Misdemeanor) (CR-94005829); Possession of Marijuana (A Misdemeanor) (case no. 97-1-3904); Contempt of Court (A Misdemeanor) (case no. 00-1-4664); Contempt of Court (A Misdemeanor) (case no. 00-1-4665).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1992, 1994, 1997 and 1998 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Robert M. Hill (Dierks): Manufacturing a Controlled Substance-Marijuana (C Felony) (CR-2001-115).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2002 – Howard County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Michael T. Alverson (Harrison): Making and Uttering Hot Checks (C Felony) (CR-98-107).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1998 – Boone County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Justin P. Bartholomew (Rogers): Possession of a Controlled Substance, Methamphetamine (C Felony) (CR-2000-1293-2); Theft of Services (A Misdemeanor) (case no 02-61063).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (2001 and 2002 – Benton County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

John W. Burton (Bryant): Theft Of Property (B Felony) (CR-1996-2815).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1997 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Shannon Wheeler Casey (Vilonia): Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (C Felony) (CR-1992-388).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1992 – Faulkner County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further Arkansas criminal-law violations. The Prosecuting Attorney and Sheriff have raised objections to the applicant’s request.

Lance Duncan (Jonesboro): Aggravated Assault (D Felony) (CR 2000-362).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2000 – Craighead County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Loyd Faulkner (Perryville): Possession of Burglary Tools (Unclassified Felony) (Case no 11,289) and Burglary and Grand Larceny (Unclassified Felonies) (Case no 11,290); Burglary (Unclassified Felony) and Grand Larceny (Unclassified Felony) (Case no 2739); Burglary (Unclassified Felony) (Case no 3118).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1960 – Garland County; 1960 and 1965 – Saline County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Michael Gray (Little Rock): Fraudulent Use Of Credit Card (C Felony) (CR-2006-3338).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2006 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

George W. Floyd (Clarksville): Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (C Felony) (CR-1994-153); Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (C Felony) (CR-1995-289; Possession of a Controlled Substance (C Felony) (CR-2000-130).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1994, 1995 and 2000 – Pope County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Jerome Hill Grave (West Memphis): Battery 2nd Degree (D Felony) (CR-88-173).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1989 – Crittenden County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

Michael L. Burgess (Calico Rock): Petty Theft (A Misdemeanor) (#88-13317); Possession of Methamphetamine (C Felony) , Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (C Felony) (CR-01-85) and Violation of the Arkansas Hot Check Law (C Felony) (CR-01-61); Attempted Manufacture of Methamphetamine (A Felony) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia with Intent to Manufacture Methamphetamine (B Felony) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Amended from Possession of Amonia in a Container) (C Felony)  (CR-2000-1488).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1988 – Independence County; 2002 – Cleburne County; 2002 – Faulkner County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. The Faulkner County Sheriff has raised objections to the applicant’s request. 

Marvin K. Guess (Denver, CO): Manufacture of a Controlled Substance (C Felony) (CR 1987-37); Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver (Y Felony), Delivery of a Controlled Substance (Y Felony) and Carrying a Prohibited Weapon (A Misdemeanor) (CR 1996-124).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1988 and 1997 – Carroll County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further Arkansas criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Governor Hutchinson intends to grant commutation to the following person:

Irene Waddle (ADC #706175): Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Deliver (Y Felony), Distribution Near Certain Facilities (Unclassified), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (C Felony), and Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver (C Felony) (2002-73).

The governor has given notice of his intent to commute the sentence of Irene Waddle, who was convicted in Scott County in 2003 for the above offenses, from a total of 360 months to serve in the Arkansas Department of Correction to being immediately parole eligible. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Contact: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09.05.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement on President’s Decision to Rescind DACA Program

LITTLE ROCK –  Governor Asa Hutchinson today released the following statement on President Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

“President Trump’s decision to rescind President Obama’s DACA executive order is a recognition of the constitutional limits of executive power,” said Governor Hutchinson. “The issue is squarely back in the hands of Congress, and reform of our immigration laws is long overdue. I support the decision to institute a six-month delay to allow Congress time to develop a modern, workable solution on immigration that should include both a secure border and broader reforms.

“Our hearts go out to the children affected; their unique stories show they have a lot to add to the future of America. Congress should act quickly on this matter and hold hearings on reform legislation.”

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09.01.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: September 4th – September 9th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, September 4, 2017, through Saturday, September 9, 2017: 

Monday, September 4, 2017

RECTOR
Rector Labor Day Celebration
8:30 a.m.
324 S Main St,
Rector, AR

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

CONWAY
UCA's Makerspace Grand Opening
10:30 a.m.
250 S Donaghey Suite #130
Conway, AR

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

JONESBORO
US Manufacturing Jobs Event
11:00 a.m.
1 Nice-Pak Rd,
Jonesboro, AR

LITTLE ROCK
Naloxone Standing Protocol Press Conference
2:45 p.m.
Governor’s Conference Room
500 Woodlane St,
Little Rock, AR

Thursday, September 7, 2017

LITTLE ROCK
Restore Hope Summit
1:00 p.m.
St. Mark's Baptist Church Little Rock
5722 W 12th St, 
Little Rock, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson).

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09.01.2017

Gov. Hutchinson, DHS Release First Scorecard Showing Traditional Medicaid Spending Lower

DHS files first quarterly public scorecard tracking Medicaid savings from reform efforts

LITTLE ROCK –  Governor Asa Hutchinson today, along with the Department of Human Services (DHS), released the state’s first scorecard showing traditional Medicaid spending well below estimated growth. Arkansas’s traditional Medicaid program spent $175 million less than projected for State Fiscal Year 2017, with a significant portion of that savings attributed to reform efforts approved by the Healthcare Reform Legislative Task Force as a way to help achieve savings requested by Governor Hutchinson.

“I am pleased to see the significant savings outlined in the first DHS scorecard. This report demonstrates that the reforms advanced by my Administration and the Healthcare Reform Legislative Task Force are creating real savings and slowing growth to ensure a more sustainable and efficient Medicaid program,” said Governor Hutchinson. “In fact, these reforms have already resulted in tens of millions of dollars in savings to the state.”

“I will continue to work with DHS and the state legislature to tailor a uniquely Arkansas approach to healthcare reform that is innovative, conservative and will ensure the long-term success and viability of our state’s Medicaid program,” added Hutchinson.
In December 2015, the Governor recommended to the Task Force a goal of saving $835 million in the traditional Medicaid program over five years, and the Task Force voted unanimously to find at least that amount in savings “without managed care, with the exception of dental managed care.”

Based on that goal, the Task Force, jointly chaired by Sen. Jim Hendren and Rep. Charlie Collins, set annual savings targets in five high-cost areas of spending in Medicaid:  behavioral health, developmental disabilities (excluding human development centers), long-term services and supports, pharmacy and dental (through managed care). 

“It is great news for Arkansas that the two years of hard work of the Healthcare Reform Task Force have helped produce savings of over $175 million,” said Sen. Jim Hendren, Task Force co-chair. “DHS has taken the HRTF recommendations and done a fantastic job of turning them into actions that produce savings. It shows Arkansas will continue to lead the nation in innovation and responsible healthcare policy development.” 

Legislation passed earlier this year requires the Arkansas Department of Human Services to track those savings on a public scorecard with the “baseline” scorecard to be submitted to the Bureau of Legislative Research by Sept. 1. You can read the full scorecard HERE.

“It’s fantastic to see such positive results from the work of the Task Force and DHS on the very first public scorecard. There will, no doubt, be obstacles along the way to creating a sustainable Medicaid program, but we are clearly headed in the right direction,” said Rep. Charlie Collins, Task Force co-chair. “I commend DHS for the work it has done to help make this a reality and am impressed that the changes DHS is implementing in partnership with all concerned already have us ahead of track on the $835 million savings goal. The rest of the country will be watching the healthcare policy work happening in Arkansas.”

A consultant hired by the Task Force to set savings targets for each area projected $77 million in savings for SFY17. Analysis of actual expenditures shows a savings in these areas of $93 million. The additional savings is likely due to a number of different factors, including lower utilization and reduced enrollment.

The rules and manual changes to complete the Task Force reforms will receive final legislative action in September, allowing DHS to proceed with fully implementing savings reforms. 

CONTACT: 

Amy Webb
DHS Chief of Communications and Community Engagement
Amy.Webb@dhs.arkansas.gov or 501.682.8946

J.R. Davis
Governor’s Communications Director
JR.Davis@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.683.6439

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09.01.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Authorizes the Deployment of 1,500 National Guardsmen to Texas

Deployment Could Last Up to 30 Days

LITTLE ROCK –  Governor Asa Hutchinson today authorized the deployment of 1,500 National Guardsmen from Arkansas to Texas to help in the recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Arkansas Guardsmen are scheduled to deploy on Saturday, September 2.

“After speaking with General Mark Berry and ADEM Director A.J. Gary this morning, and based upon a request from the State of Texas, I’ve authorized a deployment of 1,500 National Guardsmen from Arkansas to Texas to assist in the recovery efforts there,” said Governor Hutchinson. “Guardsmen will be leaving tomorrow, and the deployment could extend up to 30 days.”

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.30.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Praises Agencies’ Efficiencies Efforts as Highlighted by The Arkansas Project

ADFA, Heritage, ADIS and ADEM Cutting Costs, Maintaining Services

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today praised the ongoing efficiency efforts at the Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA), Department of Arkansas Heritage (DAH), Arkansas Department of Information Systems (ADIS) and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM). These efforts have been highlighted in a recent series of articles from The Arkansas Projectemphasizing efficiencies in state government. These efficiencies include substantive cuts to each agency’s budget, as well as considerable decreases to agency personnel. These reforms are significant and have been implemented over time, while maintaining services to Arkansas taxpayers. 

“I am grateful that The Arkansas Project has taken notice of the progress my administration has made in cutting the cost of state government by closely examining everything we spend," said Governor Hutchinson. "Since I took office in 2015, my directors have saved money by cutting everything from cable-TV subscriptions to jobs that aren’t essential to the operation of their agency. I am grateful, also, to the directors who have caught my vision for reducing state government to a manageable size and one that is attuned to what is best for all Arkansans.”

Links to the full articles can be found below following an excerpt from each.

Efficiency In State Government: Arkansas Development Finance Authority

More and more Americans in recent years have been “cutting the cord” to save money. It turns out that Aaron Burkes, president of the Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA), did the same after he took the job in 2015. 

Burkes told The Arkansas Project in an interview: “We cancelled the cable TV in the conference room. That’s not a lot of money when you look at our entire budget. But it sends an important message.”

Burkes has also overseen a significant reduction in overall staff size of the agency. The agency had 57 employees for the 62 positions appropriated when Burkes came on board in 2015. Now ADFA has 48 employees and state funding for 60 positions. That’s about a 16 percent reduction in staffing — achieved in a short amount of time. Burkes said the reduction was possible due to streamlining duplicate and redundant processes within the agency. … Overall, Burkes said a rough conservative estimate would be that the staff reductions saved taxpayers around $400,000 to $500,000 annually.

Click HERE for the full article.

Efficiency in State Government: Department Of Arkansas Heritage

The Hutchinson era has seen many Arkansas state agencies adopt efficiency as a priority. 

Nowhere is this more evident than in the Department of Arkansas Heritage (DAH) … Stacy Hurst, DAH Director, told The Arkansas Project how she went about eliminating inefficiencies in the department while still meeting DAH’s service requirements since she took over in 2015.

Hurst said one of the first actions she took after starting at DAH in January 2015 was to work with the Office of Personnel Management in the Department of Finance and Administration to get an analysis of staffing levels in the department. … DAH reduced full-time staff by eight positions from vacancies from attrition for fiscal year 2017. This reduction amounted to an annual savings of $312,694.

Click HERE for the full article.

Efficiency in State Government: ADIS & ADEM 

Both the Arkansas Department of Information Systems (ADIS) and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) have reduced overall levels of staffing since 2015. 

According to an ADIS spokeswoman, the number of staff vacancies doubled from 32 to 65 from fiscal year 2014/2015 to the current fiscal year. 

… Janet Clark, public information manager for ADIS, said the staff reductions were done through attrition, and these duties were absorbed by other personnel. …Annual salary savings since fiscal year 2014 to the state were approximately $12.5 million, according to Clark. 

… The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) has also reduced its payroll in recent years. According to Melody Daniel, an ADEM spokeswoman, three positions have been eliminated since 2014 for a total of $66,034 in salary savings annually. … Daniel said the reduction in staff wouldn’t keep ADEM from fulfilling its mission of aiding Arkansans in disasters and emergencies. 

Click HERE for the full article.


CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.28.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Announces Arkansas & Facebook Techstart Partnership Expansion

Facebook to Provide Technology, Resources to All Arkansas High Schools


HOT SPRINGS –  Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the details of an agreement with Facebook, Inc. to expand the company’s Techstart program to all Arkansas public high schools. The Arkansas & Facebook Techstart Partnership was a first-of-its-kind partnership with the social media giant. Under the original agreement announced earlier this year, Facebook donated approximately 400 Virtual Reality (VR) classroom kits, including computers, cameras and the Oculus Rift equipment necessary to administer the Techstart program to approximately 250 schools. This new agreement will expand the donation to all of the more than 360 public high schools in Arkansas. In addition, each school will receive an Oculus Rift touch controller and 30 virtual reality viewers.

“Last year, after taking notice of Arkansas’ nation-leading computer science initiative, Facebook generously donated hundreds of Oculus VR kits to various high schools around the state,” said Governor Hutchinson. “Now Facebook has agreed to expand the program and will provide an Oculus VR kit and additional technology to every high school in the state.

“We are appreciative to Facebook for its continued efforts to generate excitement for STEM fields in Arkansas high schools. Facebook’s generous donation will provide Arkansas’ students with an exciting learning platform that will allow them to have fun while sharpening their computer science skills and exploring STEM careers. Students who utilize this incredible platform will be well-positioned to succeed in our increasingly technology driven economy.”  

Techstart is a program developed by Facebook, Inc. that aims to give students access to high-quality computer science and virtual reality education in order to generate interest in computer science careers and provide instruction for students. Techstart uses a combination of virtual reality instruction, curriculum support and professional development for educators; access to computer science events; and connections to engineering mentors to provide a powerful tool for students.  

According to the agreement, Facebook’s final donation will include more than 550 VR kits, and distribution and facilitation of these resources will be administered through the Arkansas Department of Education Computer Science Division and the Arkansas Public Resource Center. Facebook’s financial commitment to the #ARKidsCanCode Initiative will be in excess of $1.3 million. 

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.25.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: August 28th – September 2nd

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, August 28, 2017, through Saturday, September 2, 2017: 

Monday, August 28, 2017

HOT SPRINGS
Lakeside High School Coding Tour
1:00 p.m.
2871 Malvern Ave.
Hot Springs, AR

HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK
Hot Springs High School Coding Tour
2:15 p.m.
701 Emory St.
Hot Springs National Park, AR

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

LITTLE ROCK
Teacher of the Year Finalist Ceremony 
10:00 a.m.
Old Supreme Court Room
500 Woodlane St.
Little Rock, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson).

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.25.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Orders State Flag to Fly at Half-Staff in Memory of Drew Co. Deputy Timothy Braden

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has ordered the flag of the state of Arkansas to be lowered to half-staff in tribute to the memory of Drew County Sheriff’s Deputy Timothy Braden who was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, August 24, 2017. The flag will be flown at half-staff from August 25, 2017, to the day of interment. The full proclamation can be found HERE.

Governor Hutchinson released a statement Thursday on the death of Deputy Braden, and that statement can be found HERE.

If you would like to receive updates from the Governor's Office regarding when to fly the Arkansas and the United States flags at half-staff, sign up for Citizens Alerts.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.25.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Announces Intent to Grant Clemency to Jason McGehee

Sentence to be Commuted from Death to Life Without Parole

LITTLE ROCK –  Governor Asa Hutchinson announced today his intent to grant clemency to Jason McGehee based upon the Parole Board’s recommendation earlier this year. The clemency would commute McGehee’s sentence from Death to Life Without the Possibility of Parole.

“My intent to grant clemency to Mr. McGehee is based partly on the recommendation of the Parole Board to commute his sentence from Death to Life Without Parole,” said Governor Hutchinson. “In making this decision I considered many factors including the entire trial transcript, meetings with members of the victim’s family and the recommendation of the Parole Board. In addition, the disparity in sentence given to Mr. McGehee compared to the sentences of his co-defendants was a factor in my decision, as well.”

Jason F. McGehee (ADC #000946) was convicted in Circuit Court of Boone County on January 8, 1998, of Capital Murder (Y Felony) in killing of John Melbourne Jr. and sentenced to Death. It should be noted that the presiding Judge has recommended clemency. The Boone County Prosecutor and Sheriff have raised objections. 

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.24.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement on Drew County Deputy Killed in the Line of Duty

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement on the death of Drew County Deputy Sheriff Timothy Braden, who was killed in the line of duty earlier today during a motor vehicle pursuit outside Monticello:

“It is always a difficult day when I hear of the loss of one of Arkansas’ finest. I am deeply saddened to learn that Deputy Timothy Braden was killed in the line of duty early this morning. Deputy Braden’s life was cut short in service to the people of our state. My prayers and gratitude are with Deputy Braden’s family and with the law enforcement community for their selfless commitment to serve and protect the people of our state, even in times of danger.”

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.24.2017

Arkansas Has Second-Fastest Growth Rate in Nonfarm Employment, Bureau of Labor Statistic Reports

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas had the second-highest percentage increase in nonfarm employment in July, which indicates that “Arkansas is clearly on the right track,” Governor Hutchinson said Thursday in response to a report by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Participation in Arkansas’ work force grew by 2.7 percent, an increase second only to Oregon’s 2.9 percent growth, according to the report.

Click HERE to see the full report. 

“It is great to see that our state’s labor force is among the fastest growing in the country,” said Governor Hutchinson.

“Over the past 3 years, Arkansas’ unemployment rate has fallen from 5.6 percent to a record low 3.4 percent. This is just another indication that our economy is growing. More people are working, more businesses are expanding and more employers are hiring than when I took office in 2015. Arkansas is clearly on the right track, and we will work every day to continue to grow our economy and improve the quality of life in Arkansas.”

Over recent months, Arkansas’ unemployment rate has fallen to an all-time low of 3.4 percent, nearly a full percentage point below the national average of 4.3 percent. When adjusted to account for seasonal employment, the state has added 63,400 new jobs since Governor Hutchinson took office in 2015. When not adjusted for seasonal employment, the number of new jobs is 121,205. The state’s per capita income also increased 4.7 percent in that same period.

Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique to measure changes in employment from month to month that is intended to eliminate predictable fluctuations resulting from seasonal influences including school schedules, harvests, holidays, changes in weather and other temporary factors.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.21.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Appointments

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

Matt Keil, Texarkana, to the Pawnbroker Licensure Commission. Appointment expires August 1, 2020.

Douglas Braswell, Little Rock, to the Pawnbroker Licensure Commission. Appointment expires August 1, 2024.

Traci Lewellen, Van Buren, to the Pawnbroker Licensure Commission. Appointment expires August 1, 2023.

Sergeant Marty Wardlaw, Warren, to the Pawnbroker Licensure Commission. Appointment expires August 1, 2022.

Chief Paul Keith, Bay, to the Pawnbroker Licensure Commission. Appointment expires August 1, 2021.

Captain Keith Eremea, Little Rock, to the Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial Design Committee. Serves at the will of the Governor.

Rafael Figueroa, Jr., De Queen, to the Department of Human Services State Institutional System Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2018. Replaces Dr. John Fleming.

Michael Burden, Conway, to the Department of Human Services State Institutional System Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2024. Reappointment.

Ronnie Dorsey, De Queen, to the HVACR Licensing Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2021. Replaces Scott Freyaldenhoven.

Charlotte Bradley, Hope, to the Board of Electrical Examiners of the State of Arkansas. Appointment expires June 15, 2021. Reappointment.

Steven Smith, Mountain Home, to the Arkansas Lifeline Individual Verification Effort Corporation Board of Directors. Appointment expires March 30, 2020. Reappointment.

Tyrus Reed, Prairie Grove, to the Arkansas Lifeline Individual Verification Effort Corporation Board of Directors. Appointment expires March 30, 2020. Reappointment.

Matthew Morrison, Rose Bud, to the Arkansas State Board of Sanitarians. Appointment expires June 30, 2022. Replaces Sherri Woodus.

Wayne Wiggins, III, Jonesboro, to the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

Richard Hillman, Carlisle, to the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

David Gairhan, Jr., Jonesboro, to the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

Marvin Hare, Jr., Newport, to the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

James Whitaker, McGehee, to the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Replaces Bobby Hoard.

Kenneth Clark, Newport, to the Arkansas Wheat Promotion Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

Blake Swears, Carlisle, to the Arkansas Wheat Promotion Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

David Wallace, Crawfordsville, to the Arkansas Wheat Promotion Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019.

Jackie Prince, Biscoe, to the Arkansas Wheat Promotion Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

Tony Schwarz, Weiner, to the Arkansas Wheat Promotion Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Replaces Barry Walls.

John Freeman, Dumas, to the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

Gary Sitzer, Weiner, to the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

Donald Morton, Des Arc, to the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

Glynn Guenther, Sherrill, to the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

Joe Thrash, Houston, to the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

Greg Moyers, Portland, to the Arkansas Catfish Promotion Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

John Farmer, Dumas, to the Arkansas Catfish Promotion Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

David Heikes, White Hall, to the Arkansas Catfish Promotion Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

T.J. Curtis, Russellville, to the Supervisory Board for the Arkansas Crime Information Center. Appointment expires June 30, 2021. Reappointment.

Marc Phillips, Ash Flat, to the Arkansas State Board of Registration for Foresters. Appointment expires July 18, 2022. Reappointment.

David Gammill, Tyronza, to the Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Promotion Board. Appointment expires July 1, 2019. Reappointment.

Jon Carroll, Moro, to the Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Promotion Board. Appointment expires July 1, 2019. Reappointment.

Trent Dabbs, Stuttgart, to the Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Promotion Board. Appointment expires July 1, 2019. Reappointment.

Jeff Hankins, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Task Force. Appointment expires August 9, 2021.

Representative Mickey Gates, Hot Springs, to the Child Maltreatment Investigations Oversight Committee. Appointment expires August 10, 2020. 

Phyllis Bell, Little Rock, to the Child Maltreatment Investigations Oversight Committee. Appointment expires August 10, 2020.

Barry Weathers, Cabot, to the Water Provider Legislative Task Force. Appointment expires January 1, 2019.

Van Nowlin, Mountain Home, to the Interagency Task Force for the Implementation of Criminal Justice Prevention Initiatives. Appointment expires July 1, 2019.

Bryan Chesshir, Nashville, to the Interagency Task Force for the Implementation of Criminal Justice Prevention Initiatives. Appointment expires July 1, 2019.

Judge Ray Spruell, Ozark, to the Interagency Task Force for the Implementation of Criminal Justice Prevention Initiatives. Appointment expires July 1, 2019.

Daniel Shue, Fort Smith, to the Interagency Task Force for the Implementation of Criminal Justice Prevention Initiatives. Appointment expires July 1, 2019.

Judge Chalk Mitchell, Helena, to the Interagency Task Force for the Implementation of Criminal Justice Prevention Initiatives. Appointment expires July 1, 2019.

Richard Steiner, Mountain Home, as a Justice of the Peace for the Baxter County Quorum Court, District 3. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Erric Totty.

Tammie Luttrell, Waldron, as a Justice of the Peace for the Scott County Quorum Court, District 7. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Lonnie Taff.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.18.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule:  August 21st – August 26th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, August 21, 2017, through Saturday, August 26, 2017: 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

HARRISON
Harrison High School Coding Tour
9:30 a.m.
925 Goblin Dr.
Harrison, AR

ALPENA
Alpena High School Coding Tour
11:00 a.m.
300 S. Denver St.
Alpena, AR

GREEN FOREST
Green Forest High School Coding Tour
1:30 p.m.
800 Tommy Ratzlaff Ave.
Green Forest, AR

Thursday, August 24, 2017

BEEBE
Beebe High School Coding Tour
9:30 a.m.
1201 W. Center St.
Beebe, AR

FORREST CITY
Forrest City High School Coding Tour
1:15 p.m.
467 Victoria Ave.
Forrest City, AR

LITTLE ROCK 
Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
7:00 p.m.
Statehouse Convention Center
101 E Markham St. 
Little Rock, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson).

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.16.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Response to 8th Circuit Planned Parenthood Ruling

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today issued the following statement in response to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling vacating the injunction that had prevented the state from terminating Planned Parenthood’s status as a Medicaid provider: 

“In 2015, the state terminated its Medicaid provider agreement with Planned Parenthood because there was evidence that Planned Parenthood and its affiliates were acting in an unethical manner and engaging in what appeared to be wrongful conduct. I am pleased with the ruling of the 8th Circuit today reversing Judge Baker on her injunction that blocked the state from proceeding. 

“The decision allows the state to proceed with the termination of Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid provider. This is a substantial legal victory for the right of the state to determine whether Medicaid providers are acting in accordance with best practices and affirms the prerogative of the state to make reasoned judgments on the Medicaid program.”

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.16.2017

National publication on ARTechJobs.com:

'Broader push from a state that is ‘pioneering technology workforce development initiatives’

LITTLE ROCK – StateScoop, a national news publication for government technology leadership and innovation, published an article featuring yesterday’s launch of ArTechJobs.com, Arkansas’ statewide database of tech job openings. 

Click HERE or see the full article below.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

August 15, 2017 – 1:18 p.m.

On Tuesday, the office of Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that Arkansas had become the first state to launch a statewide database of unfilled technology jobs.

The new website — called ArTechJobs — is part of a broader Computer Coding initiative out of the governor's office designed to close the tech employment gap. The free website features upon launch more than 50 companies and 100 job openings across the state in areas including web development, design, database administration, computer network architecture, information security and health care.

The website joins a national push from state and local government to fill a demand for skilled technology workers that is outpacing qualified university graduates.

Arkansas has positioned itself as a national leader in the computer coding movement, first by passing a law in 2015 that required all public high schools and charter schools serving upper grades to offer computer science classes. When the initiative launched, Hutchinson noted that the "small-ticket item may have the greatest long-term impact."

“The number of high school students participating in computer science and coding courses has increased almost 400 percent since we began our initiative,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “Now it is time to focus on connecting tech-savvy young people to the growing number of available tech jobs in our state. By connecting those searching for jobs with local employers, ArTechJobs.com will simplify the job-search process and keep more of our tech talent right here in Arkansas.”

Nationally, the number of technology workers grew about 2 percent to about 7.3 million last year, outpacing major industries like construction, finance, and transportation. But despite lucrative compensation — tech workers earned about $109,000 on average last year — jobs are popping up faster than workers can fill them. There will be more than 1 million unfilled technology jobs by 2020, according to estimates by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Employers put the blame on the higher education system. According to a January survey conducted by the Career Advisory Board, only 11 percent of employers said they believed higher education is "very effective" in readying graduates for the workforce, while 62 percent said students were unprepared.

In Arkansas, the new jobs website offers some hope, both in its utility and origin story. It was designed by ARCodeKids, a Little Rock-based nonprofit founded last year by the Wengel family, which includes Ella Beth, 13, and Malcolm, 11. Through coordination with the Information Network of Arkansas, a state government oversight board, the nonprofit developed the website at no cost to the state.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov – 501.682.3642) 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.15.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Announces Fall 2017 Computer Science Tour of Arkansas Schools

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced his fifth computer coding tour of Arkansas high schools since taking office in 2015. The tour will kick off August 22 and run through the end of the month. The focus of the tour is to promote computer science and encourage students to enroll in courses this fall. Schools, dates and times are listed below.

Gov. Hutchinson issued the following statement: 

“I am kicking off my fifth computer science tour this week, and the difference between what was happening in the state on the first tour two years ago and now is tremendous. 

“Thanks to the amazing response from educators, students and the business community, Arkansas continues to lead the nation in computer-science education. National publications are writing stories about us. Companies are considering Arkansas because they see the strong workforce we are creating. Computer coding classes have become so popular that some schools have a waiting list of students. Teachers have access to training and resources that they did not have before we started our Computer Coding Initiative. 

“Arkansas is truly becoming a tech hub, and I can’t wait to hit the road and meet even more of our talented students to spread the word about coding and their future in Arkansas’ economy.” 

Tuesday, August 22

Harrison High School
9:30 a.m.
925 Goblin Dr.
Harrison, AR

Alpena High School
11:00 a.m.
300 S. Denver St.
Alpena, AR

Green Forest High School
1:30 p.m.
800 Tommy Ratzlaff Ave.
Green Forest, AR

Thursday, August 24

Beebe High School 
9:30 a.m.
1201 W. Center St.
Beebe, AR

Forrest City High School
1:15 p.m.
467 Victoria Ave.
Forrest City, AR

Monday, August 28

Lakeside High School
1:00 p.m.
2871 Malvern Ave.
Hot Springs, AR

Hot Springs High School
2:15 p.m.
701 Emory St.
Hot Springs National Park, AR

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.15.2017

Governor Hutchinson Announces Launch Of Web Site for High-tech Jobs in State

LITTLE ROCK - Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the launch of ArTechJobs.com, a one-stop website that will connect people looking for high-tech jobs with employers in Arkansas.

The website ArTechJobs.com is the latest addition to the governor’s Computer Coding initiative, which focuses on increasing the number of Arkansans working in high-tech fields.

The mission of ArTechJobs.com is to connect employers and tech workers in Arkansas to fill a growing number of technical jobs in a wide variety of industries including IT, web development and design, database administration, software development, computer network architecture, information security, healthcare and more.

With the launch of the ArTechJobs.com, Arkansas has become the first state to launch a statewide database of unfilled tech jobs.

“The number of high school students participating in computer science and coding courses has increased almost 400 percent since we began our initiative,” Governor Hutchinson said. “Now it is time to focus on connecting tech-savvy young people to the growing number of available tech jobs in our state. By connecting those searching for jobs with local employers, ArTechJobs.com will simplify the job-search process and keep more of our tech talent right here in Arkansas.”

Mike Preston, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission said, “We have the talent in Arkansas to fill these high-tech jobs now, and thanks to Governor Hutchinson’s coding initiative, we are leading the nation in educating more workers for future jobs. This website is the first step in pairing the right employees with the right companies.”

There is no cost for companies or job seekers to participate. A “Sign Up” button on the home page allows companies to create accounts and start posting open positions immediately. Nearly 50 companies are already using the site, including AT&T, Tyson, Windstream, J.B. Hunt, iDatafy, Tenneco, inuvo, Walmart and the state of Arkansas. ARCodeKids, a new Little Rock-based non-profit organization, and the Information Network of Arkansas (INA) created and developed the website at no expense to the state.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.14.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement on the Passing of Frank Broyles

“He was an Arkansas treasure who devoted his life to others…”
 
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement on the passing of Coach Frank Broyles, an Arkansas treasure and college football legend:

“This is a day we knew would come, but it is still a great loss to learn of the passing of Coach Broyles. My first memory of Frank was cheering on the Hogs with my dad, but that was just part of his great legacy. He was an Arkansas treasure who devoted his life to others—from student-athletes to his support of Alzheimer’s research. He was an example for young people to follow, and that alone reflects a life well lived.”

CONTACT: Press Shop: press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.14.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Announces Bid for Private Youth Treatment Centers and Independent Review

of Division Operations; Accepts Recommendations of DHS Review


LITTLE ROCK – On January 1, 2017, Governor Asa Hutchinson directed the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Youth Services (DYS) to take over the day-to-day operations of seven of the state’s eight residential treatment centers for youth involved in the juvenile justice system.
After spending months assessing and improving core services at these seven juvenile treatment centers, DHS has recommended to the Governor that the State seek a private operator to take over next year. A solicitation is being developed and will be issued for all seven facilities by the end of year. 

“When I directed DHS to take over these juvenile treatment centers, it gave my office and the department a fresh set of eyes and an opportunity to better understand how we could improve current services,” said Governor Hutchinson. “I greatly appreciate the leadership of Director Cindy Gillespie and the hard work of DYS Director Betty Guhman and her staff. I accept these recommendations, and I have no doubt that these substantive changes will better serve our juvenile justice system.”

During the course of the past year, the agency has:

  • Contracted with Community Mental Health Centers to provide a broad array of individual and group mental health and substance abuse treatment services at each regional juvenile treatment center. The Community Mental Health Centers now have a therapist with an office on each campus and the work done for the youth is supported by a psychiatrist via telemedicine.
     
  • Partnered with Virtual Arkansas to provide standardized curriculum used by public school systems that youth can work at their own pace with the help of online teachers and in-person educational coaches. Virtual Arkansas also provides youth with access to dual credit and coding classes, and eliminates concerns about teacher shortages at the centers’ schools. 
     
  • Repurposed positions to support family engagement, created new family activities and encouraging team approach to treatment that includes families.

In addition, the DHS Division of Medical Services has retained a Medicaid consulting firm to identify and develop a plan for DHS to maximize Medicaid funding opportunities related to services offered through DYS. Some services that have been funded by State General Revenue could be provided through Medicaid providers, thus freeing state dollars to be used for innovations and community-based alternatives that will place youth in the least restrictive setting possible while maintaining public safety.

DYS also is in the process of releasing nearly $2 million in Innovation Funds grants that require organizations and judges to work together to create an innovative and individualized proposal to provide alternatives to confinement for youth in their respective judicial districts. 

On Monday, the Governor approved the following actions:

  • A security audit of all seven centers that will identify security weaknesses and ways to address those, prior to completion of the solicitation. This will be overseen by the new DHS Chief of Security, Brian Marr, who recently left the U.S. Secret Service after more than two decades of service.  Upon completion of this review, Chief Marr will conduct a similar review of the Arkansas Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center in Saline County.
     
  • Incorporating the results of the Medicaid funding study and plan into the solicitation for the centers and into the solicitation for community-based services, in order to address the reliance of DYS operations on state general revenue.  This study will be completed in September of 2017.
     
  • An independent review of the role and work of the Division of Youth Services, similar to the review conducted by child welfare expert Paul Vincent in 2015 for the DHS Division of Children and Family Services.  

The entire DYS Action Plan can be found HERE.

CONTACT:    Amy Webb
                      DHS Chief of Communications and Community Engagement
                      Amy.Webb@dhs.arkansas.gov
                      501.682.8946

                       J.R. Davis
                      Governor’s Communications Director
                      JR.Davis@governor.arkansas.gov
                      501.683.6439

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.11.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule:  August 14th – August 19th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, August 14, 2017, through Saturday, August 19, 2017: 

Monday, August 14, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Ceremonial Bill Signing with the Ambassador of Israel
3:00 p.m.
Governor’s Conference Room
500 Woodlane St.
Little Rock, AR

Tuesday, August 15, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
News Conference
Details to Come
10:30 a.m.
Governor’s Conference Room
500 Woodlane St. 
Little Rock, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson).

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.10.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Announces Four Counties to Receive Funding for Crisis Stabilization Units

Counties Are Craighead, Pulaski, Sebastian and Washington

LITTLE ROCK – Each of the four counties that applied to open Crisis Stabilization Units (CSU) will receive up to $1.6 million from the state to operate a sixteen-bed CSU facility, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced today. Those counties include Craighead, Pulaski, Sebastian and Washington.

The governor’s letter to the newly formed Interagency Criminal Justice Commission announcing the awards can be found HERE
Act 423, which established the CSU pilot program, was a major part of Governor Hutchinson’s 2017 legislative agenda and received strong bipartisan support in both houses of the legislature. Governor Hutchinson signed it into law on March 8, 2017. 

“The original plan was to select three counties, but we received four stellar applications, and so I decided to award funding to all four,” the governor said. “Each of the four counties’ submissions went above and beyond the parameters laid out in the application process, with substantial support from local leadership and the community.”

With today’s announcement that all four projects will be funded, the Governor is committing an additional $1.4 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to support Crisis Stabilization Units, in addition to the $5 million already committed to this project. The additional $1.4 million in funding will go before the Arkansas Legislative Council for final approval.

CSUs are short term clinical facilities that provide assessment and treatment services for individuals with behavioral health conditions. A primary goal of the state’s investment in CSUs is to reduce the number of people with mental illness and other behavioral health conditions entering jails or other facilities, such as emergency rooms, not designed to effectively address their underlying behavioral health conditions. CSUs have the potential to improve outcomes for people with acute behavioral health conditions and reduce overall system costs to both the state and counties, including the strain on our county jails.

CONTACT: Press Shop: press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.08.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement on the Passing of Glen Campbell

LITTLE ROCK – Glen Campbell’s many songs will live on as a part of the American fabric, Governor Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday upon learning of the singer’s death. The governor offered his condolences to members of Mr. Campbell’s family.

“Although Glen Campbell lived in a lot of places and performed his songs all over the world, I have always thought of him as ours,” Governor Hutchinson said. “He was a proud Arkansan who had a huge impact on the music world. He also touched all of our lives with his brave and very public fight with Alzheimer’s.”

Glen Travis Campbell was born near Delight in southwest Arkansas. One of his most popular songs, titled simply “Arkansas,” was a tribute to his home state.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.08.2017

Gov. Hutchinson to Meet with Farmers as Part of Two-Day, Seven-County Turnrow Tour of East & NE AR

Discussions to Focus on Flooding and Row Crop Farming

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced a two-day, seven-county “Turnrow Tour” of east and northeast Arkansas farms. The purpose of the tour is to meet with—and listen to—Arkansas farmers to discuss critical issues facing our agriculture community. Topics of discussion will range from flooding to row crop farming. The tour will kick off Wednesday morning in Randolph County and wrap up Thursday afternoon in Lonoke County.

“Agriculture is Arkansas’ largest industry, and our farmers are the backbone. While I’m updated daily on the state of Arkansas agriculture, nothing beats firsthand accounts from those who put in the work every day,” said Governor Hutchinson. “I look forward to discussing critical issues facing our farmers, including the impact of recent flooding on crops, the opportunity for rice sales to China and other topics.”

Tour stops include Arkansas, Clay, Cross, Lee, Lonoke, Mississippi and Randolph Counties. Members of the media are invited to the following:

Wednesday, August 9, 2017:
Mississippi County Stop
1:20 p.m.
Adam’s Estate
1805 East 3rd
Leachville, AR 72438

Thursday, August 10, 2017:
Arkansas County Stop
10:40 a.m.
Rice Research Station
2900 AR 130
Stuttgart, AR 72160

NOTE: If you are a member of the media, please confirm your outlet’s attendance for:

  • Wednesday’s stop by 4 p.m. Tuesday
  • Thursday’s stop by 4 p.m. Wednesday

CONTACT: Press Shop: press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.07.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Intent to Grant Executive Clemency

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced his intent to grant 21 pardons and 1 restoration of firearm rights only. An additional 55 clemency requests were denied and 4 had no action taken upon them. These include requests from both inmates and non-inmates.

The applicants intended for pardons have completed all jail time, fulfilled all parole and probationary requirements and paid all fines related to their sentences. There is a 30-day waiting period to receive public feedback on the notices before final action is taken.

Governor Hutchinson intends to grant pardons to the following people:

Paul L. Bowden (Pottsville): Burglary (B Felony) and Theft of Property (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (1990 – Sebastian County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Hazel Hardy (Little Rock): Hot Checks (C Felony); Theft by Receiving (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (2001 and 2007 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

James R. Morrow, Jr. (Pine Bluff): Possession of a Controlled Substance (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2003 – Jefferson County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

William F. Pogue (Horatio): Public Servant Bribery (Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1987 – Sevier County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Julian David Reed (Texarkana): Burglary and Grand Larceny (Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1972 – Miller County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. The Prosecuting Attorney has raised objections to the applicant’s request.

Moneak Wesley Frazier (Marvell): Theft of Property (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2006 – Phillips County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Iva M. White (Charleston): Attempted Theft by Deception (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1992 – Sebastian County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Everett Williams (Little Rock): Theft by Receiving (C Felony); Possession of Marijuana (A Misdemeanor); Possession of Controlled Substance without Prescription (A Misdemeanor); Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1991, 1991, 1993 and 1997 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Awanna Kincade Smith-Flemon (Jonesboro): Forgery II (C Felony); Violation of Arkansas Hot Check Violation (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (2004 – Craighead County and 2006 – Sharp County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Tameka R. Moorehead (Woodbridge, VA): Drinking in an Unlicensed Public Place (A Misdemeanor).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2000 – Jefferson County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further Arkansas criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Vicky Kimbrell Carnes (Victoria, VA): Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (C Felony) and Maintaining a Drug Premises (D Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (2000 – Jefferson County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further Arkansas criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Douglas L. Porter III (Plumerville): Delivery of a Controlled Substance, Methamphetamine (Y Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1999 – Benton County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Charles D. Pritchard (Benton): Residential Burglary (B Felony) and Theft of Property (A Misdemeanor).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (1997 – Saline County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

Snake A. Roland (Lincoln, AL): Possession of Drug Paraphernalia with Intent to Manufacture Marijuana (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2000 – Van Buren County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further Arkansas criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

Vicki S. Roland (Lincoln, AL): Possession of Drug Paraphernalia with Intent to Manufacture Marijuana (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2000 – Van Buren County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further Arkansas criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

Tomika Norfleet-Tate (Little Rock): Fraudulent Use of Credit Card (C Felony) and Theft by Receiving (C Felony); Battery in the 2nd Degree, 2 counts (D Felony), Theft of Property (C Felony), Robbery (B Felony), and Fraudulent Use of Credit Card (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1995 and 1996 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. The Pulaski County Prosecutor has raised objections to the applicant’s request.

Jeffrey L. Thrift (Pangburn): Forgery (C Felony) and Attempted Forgery (D Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (1987 – White County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Jonathan E. Tillman (Drasco): Theft of Property, 3 counts (C Felony), Burglary, 1 count (B Felony), and Theft of Property, 2 counts (C Felony); Theft of Property by Deception (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1988 and 1993 – Cleburne County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further Arkansas criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Colin Wagner (Little Rock): Breaking and Entering (reduced) (D Felony) and Theft of Property (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (2008 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further felony criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Ebony Pippins (Maumelle): Fraudulent Use of Credit Card (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2000 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Clarence E. Jones (Greenwood): Possession of Controlled substance, 6 counts (Y Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (1990 – Lee County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. The Sheriff has raised objections to the applicant’s request. 

Governor Hutchinson intends to grant restoration of firearms rights only to the following person:

Harold Henderson (Russellville): Burglary (B Felony), Theft Of Property (A Misdemeanor), Burglary (B Felony), and Theft Of Property (C Felony); Forgery, 2 counts (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1989 – Yell County; 1990 – Pope County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further Arkansas criminal-law violations. The Sheriff of Pope County has signed the Recommendation of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer as required by law. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08.04.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule:  August 7th – August 12th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, August 7, 2017, through Saturday, August 12, 2017: 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017:

GENTRY
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Gentry Career and Technical Education Center
11:00 a.m.
1121 Swepco Road
Gentry, AR

Friday, August 11, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Association of Arkansas Counties Annual Conference
9:00 a.m.
Little Rock Marriott Hotel – Grand Ballroom 
3 Statehouse Plaza
Little Rock, AR

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas State Employees Association 49th Annual Convention
10:30 a.m.
Embassy Suites Little Rock
11301 Financial Centre Pkwy
Little Rock, AR

Saturday, August 12, 2017:

HOPE
Hope Watermelon Festival 
11:30 a.m.
Hope Fair Park
1200 Jones St.
Hope, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson).

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07.28.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: July 31st – August 5th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, July 31, 2017, through Saturday, August 5, 2017: 

Monday, July 31, 2017:

BENTONVILLE
NWA Emerging Leaders "Ready to Run" Program
8:15 a.m.
The Record
104 SW A Street
Bentonville, AR

SILOAM SPRINGS
Simmons Feed Ingredients Wet Ingredient Facility Ribbon Cutting
10:00 a.m.
1113 East Ashley Street
Siloam Springs, AR

Thursday, August 3, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas Research Alliance – Press Conference 
11:00 a.m.
Governor’s Conference Room
500 Woodlane Street
Little Rock, AR

Friday, August 4, 2017:

EAST CAMDEN
Basic Training Class 2017 B - Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy Graduation
10:00 a.m.
Southern Arkansas University Tech – Student Center
6415 Spellman Rd.
East Camden, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson).

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07.26.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Applauds Low Health Insurance Rate Requests

LITTLE ROCK – Requests for increases in health insurance rates for 2018 are among the lowest in the United States thanks to broad-based participation in the individual marketplace, largely driven by the Arkansas Works program, Governor Hutchinson said Wednesday in reaction to a report from Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Allen Kerr.
 
In some states, health insurance carriers are requesting increases of 50 percent to 80 percent, Commissioner Kerr said. In Arkansas, however, the story is different. The unique structure of the Arkansas Works program, as well as carriers’ efforts to improve care management, have contributed to a stable individual marketplace with rate increases that are significantly lower than the majority of the nation.
 
“In the midst of the confusion and heated rhetoric about the future of health care insurance in our country,” Governor Hutchinson said, “Arkansas has led the way in health care reform, and the result is that requested increases are much less than we are seeing nationally. We have maintained multiple choices for the consumer that are more balanced and competitive, but we have to continue to slow down the rising health care costs. This news shows progress.”
 
For more information on proposed increases, visit Arkansas Insurance Department's website HERE

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07.24.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Appointments

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

Thomas McArthur, Hot Springs, to the State Board of Barber Examiners. Appointment expires June 30, 2023. Reappointment.

Lori Griffin, Van Buren, to the Southern Regional Education Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2021. Replaces Johnnie Roebuck.

Adam Arroyos, Fayetteville, to the Career Education and Workforce Development Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2020. Reappointment.

D. Burton Weis, Fort Smith, to the Career Education and Workforce Development Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2020. Reappointment.

Jeff Standridge, Conway, to the Career Education and Workforce Development Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2020. Reappointment.

Scott Copas, Little Rock, to the Career Education and Workforce Development Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2020. Reappointment.

James Sharp, Harrison, to the State Board of Election Commissioners. Appointment expires May 28, 2021. Replaces C.S. Walker.

Robert Tillman, Little Rock, to the Arkansas State Board of Physical Therapy. Appointment expires June 30, 2020. Reappointment.

Robert Jordan, Hot Springs, to the Arkansas State Board of Physical Therapy. Appointment expires June 30, 2020. Reappointment.

Cheryl Anderson, Alma, to the Arkansas Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission. Appointment expires June 30, 2023. Reappointment.

Dr. Tanya Holt, Searcy, to the Arkansas State Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Appointment expires June 9, 2022. Replaces Dr. Julie Traylor-Logan.

Dr. Herman Ginger, Pine Bluff, to the State Board of Optometry. Appointment expires April 26, 2022. Replaces Dr. William Coffee.

Carey Smith, Little Rock, to the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Development Finance Authority. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Replaces Larry Tate.

Amy Fore, Fort Smith, to the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy. Appointment expires June 30, 2023. Replaces Dr. James Burgess.

Dr. Kenneth Lancaster, Arkadelphia, to the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Replaces Dr. Kevin Robertson.

Dr. Rebecca Mitchell, Greenbrier, to the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy. Appointment expires June 30, 2023. Replaces Dr. Stephanie O’Neal.

Rajesh Chokhani, Little Rock, to the Board of Visitors for the University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College. Appointment expires June 30, 2024. Replaces James Herzfeld.

Daniel Moore, Corning, to the Board of Trustees of Black River Technical College. Appointment expires June 30, 2024. Replaces Paul Baltz.

John Jordan, Forrest City, to the Board of Directors of Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute. Appointment expires June 30, 2021. Replaces Lynn Houston.

Kathy Frein, Brinkley, to the Board of Directors of Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute. Appointment expires June 30, 2022. Replaces Glena Willard.

Jim Engstrom, III, Little Rock, to the State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Surveyors. Appointment expires July 1, 2021. Reappointment.

Kyle Salyer, Van Buren, to the State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Surveyors. Appointment expires July 1, 2021. Replaces Ronald Hawkins.

Larry Lloyd, Fayetteville, to the Nutrient Water Quality Trading Advisory Panel. Appointment expires June 8, 2019. Reappointment.

Heath Ward, Springdale, to the Nutrient Water Quality Trading Advisory Panel. Appointment expires June 8, 2019. Reappointment.

Dr. Nicole Hardiman, Bentonville, to the Nutrient Water Quality Trading Advisory Panel. Appointment expires June 8, 2019. Replaces Dr. Delia Haak.

Kelley Crouch, Ashdown, to the Nutrient Water Quality Trading Advisory Panel. Appointment expires June 8, 2019. Replaces Richard Rodenroth.

John Bailey, Benton, to the Nutrient Water Quality Trading Advisory Panel. Appointment expires June 8, 2019. Replaces Evan Teague.

Joe St. Columbia, Sr., Helena, to the Mississippi River Parkway Commission of Arkansas. Appointment expires June 8, 2022. Reappointment.

Jim Craig, Stuttgart, to the Mississippi River Parkway Commission of Arkansas. Appointment expires June 8, 2022. Reappointment.

Tyler Dunegan, Osceola, to the Mississippi River Parkway Commission of Arkansas. Appointment expires June 8, 2022. Replaces Steven Son.

Detective Mark Fallis, Hot Springs, to the Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial Design Committee. Serves at the will of the Governor. 

Lucien Gillham, Sr., Sherwood, to the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2026. Reappointment. 

Jeremiah Moore, Clarendon, to the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Replaces Sally McLarty. 

Wayne Edwards, Lake Village, to the Arkansas Towing and Recovery Board. Appointment expires June 22, 2020. Reappointment.

Stephen Percival, Fayetteville, to the Career Education and Workforce Development Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2020. Replaces Michael Lindsey.

Shawn Jernigan, Alma, as a Justice of the Peace for the Crawford County Quorum Court, District 11. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Carrie Jernigan. 

Michael Jeffcoat, Rogers, as a Justice of the Peace for the Benton County Quorum Court, District 5. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces William Burnett.

Lance Reynolds, Quitman, as a Justice of the Peace for the Cleburne County Quorum Court, District 11. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Larry Goff.

Clint Everett, Oxford, as a Justice of the Peace for the Izard County Quorum Court, District 3. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Glendon Everett. 

Fred Rausch, Springdale, as a Justice of the Peace for the Washington County Quorum Court, District 2. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Roddy Lloyd. 

Jonathan Warren, Little Rock, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas. CV-17-220 Kenneth W. Tilley, Individually and as a Trustee of the Kenneth Tilley Family Trust v. Malvern National Bank and Stephen Moore. Replaces Chief Justice John Dan Kemp, who has disqualified himself from the case. 

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07.21.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule:  July 24th – July 29th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, July 24, 2017, through Saturday, July 29, 2017: 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
VC FinTech Demo Day 
2:30 p.m.
Clinton Presidential Center
1200 President Clinton Ave.
Little Rock, AR

Friday, July 28, 2017:

FORT SMITH
Ribbon Cutting and Dedication of Curt, Cliff and Opal Young Children’s Home 
9:45 a.m.
Curt, Cliff and Opal Young Children’s Home
11207 Custer Blvd.
Fort Smith, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson).

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07.20.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement Applauding USDA Agreement Permitting U.S. Rice Exports to China

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today issued the statement below applauding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announced agreement permitting U.S. rice exports to China for the first time.

“The news today announcing that the U.S. is now permitted to sell rice to China for the first time in history is a significant boost to Arkansas—the nation’s No. 1 rice producer—and our overall economy,” said Governor Hutchinson. “This is an issue I’ve consistently advocated for on my trade missions to China and in meetings with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture. I applaud Secretary Perdue and the USDA for their tireless efforts in getting this deal done. It’s a great day to be an Arkansan.”

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)
 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07.20.2017

Arkansas Water Quality Shows Dramatic Improvement

EPA Announces 335 Waters Now Meeting Standards

LITTLE ROCK – According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Arkansas’s water has dramatically improved. In a Thursday morning meeting in Little Rock, Governor Asa Hutchinson met with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt during his visit to Arkansas on his national state action tour. At this meeting, Administrator Pruitt announced that EPA approved Arkansas’s 303(d) list of water quality standards, which sets forth Arkansas’s impaired waters. Arkansas’s list has been pending before the EPA since 2010. 

As a result of Arkansas’s efforts, 76 percent of water bodies classified as impaired in 2008 are no longer considered such. After the announcement, a total of 335 waters are now considered to satisfy Arkansas’s water quality standards.

“Under the Trump Administration, EPA is focused on partnering with states to achieve the best environmental outcomes,” said EPA Administrator Pruitt. “I am proud to announce that EPA is now approving the 303(d) list that recognizes Arkansas’s water quality improvements made under Governor Hutchinson’s leadership.”

“Today’s announcement by the EPA means 76 percent of Arkansas water bodies impaired in 2008 are no longer showing impairments,” said Governor Hutchinson. “Arkansas has taken great strides to protect and to enhance our natural environment, and this decision underscores that effort. I also appreciate Administrator Pruitt for listening to the states about how regulations affect our citizens.  The clear and efficient regulations from EPA under his leadership—as well as the agency's focus on a more balanced partnership with the states—is good news for Arkansans.”

Governor Hutchinson and Administrator Pruitt were also joined at the meeting by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, and two of Governor Hutchinson’s cabinet members, Director Becky Keogh of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and Secretary Wes Ward of the Arkansas Agriculture Department. 

“Administrator Pruitt's visit to Arkansas and his recent actions signify EPA's commitment to return power back to the states,” said Director Keogh. “EPA's approval of Arkansas's 303(d) list further bolsters that commitment and recognizes and supports Arkansas's scientific integrity and successes in continually improving our water quality.”

“Arkansas’s agriculture industry was honored to host EPA Administrator Pruitt and his staff this morning,” said Secretary Ward. “We are pleased that under his leadership the EPA will engage in cooperative federalism and work with our state and our state’s largest industry instead of against it. Today’s approval of Arkansas’s 303 (d) list proves that the EPA is taking real steps toward providing timely regulatory certainty that has been lacking for several years.”

Also on Thursday morning, Governor Hutchinson joined Administrator Pruitt at the Poultry Federation for a roundtable discussion with Arkansas agriculture stakeholders where the Administrator received public comments on the official record regarding the 2015 “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule. These public comments will assist in the EPA’s actions moving forward on the WOTUS issue.  All segments of Arkansas's agricultural industry were represented.

Photos from Administrator Pruitt's visit can be found HERE

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07.20.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Announces Completion of Arkansas Public School Computer Network High-Speed Broadband

Arkansas 1 of only 6 States with 100% Connectivity

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the completion of the Arkansas Public School Computer Network (APSCN), the high-speed broadband upgrade for 100 percent of the state’s K-12 school systems. The completion of this two-year project catapults Arkansas to the top of the nation in broadband connectivity, delivering secure, high-speed broadband to 293 public schools, charter schools and education-service cooperatives statewide. Governor Hutchinson, DIS Director Yessica Jones and ADE Assistant Commissioner Eric Saunders made the announcement from the Glen Rose School District in Malvern on Thursday.

Arkansas is now one of only six states in the nation to achieve at least 100 kilobits per second (kbps) per student in 100 percent of its school districts, according to the most recent data. In fact, the state doubled that figure, meaning Arkansas students will now have access to a minimum of 200 kbps per student. The new APSCN provides students, teachers and faculty in Arkansas school districts of all sizes and geographic locations a highly secure, all-fiber, high-speed broadband network that delivers internet speeds 40 times faster than the previous network.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“In 2015, when I issued the directive to connect all our schools, I didn’t know exactly how it would look, but I knew for sure that information systems and the education department would get the job done. They did, and the final product looks grand. Not only are we leading the way, we surpassed the federal goals and set a standard for the rest of the nation.”

Yessica Jones, Director of DIS, issued the following statement:

“Because Arkansas is a rural state, many of our school districts were falling into that digital divide cited in study after study of the national broadband environment. A national organization said Arkansas had an unprecedented opportunity to lead the nation in upgrading the internet access to its K-12 schools in a comprehensive and cost-effective way. Today, I am proud to say we did it.”

ADE Commissioner Johnny Key issued the following statement:

“In order to accomplish our vision of transforming Arkansas to lead the nation in student-focused education, our students must have access to high-speed Internet. The partnership between ADE and DIS has helped make this bandwidth goal a reality for every student in the state. Because of this accomplishment, the learning opportunities for all students are endless.”

In April 2015, the governor directed DIS and ADE to build a network to meet the federal internet access target of 100 kbps per student for digital learning. At that time, only 58 percent of Arkansas districts were meeting the federal target.

The new network provides bandwidth speeds to access online courses and conduct online research and internet-based class projects, such as coding and virtual field trips. Additionally, it will be instrumental in facilitating students’ completion of online courses the state requires for graduation.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07.18.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement on Latest Healthcare News Out of Washington

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today issued the following statement regarding the latest news on the health-care debate in Washington.

“My goal in recent weeks has been to help shape the national health-care debate on a repeal of Obamacare that is accompanied by a replacement bill that allows states like Arkansas to continue its reform efforts; assures access to affordable health-care coverage; and reduces the escalating costs of Medicaid in the future. As part of that debate, I have consistently said it is important to know where we are going with a replacement bill at the same time we repeal. Now it has been announced that the Senate bill does not have the votes. I look forward to discussing any future action with both Senator Boozman and Senator Cotton. They have provided significant help in getting changes in the Senate bill that are more favorable to Arkansas, and I am grateful for their support.

“Leaders from all parties agree that our nation’s current health-care system is clearly not working, and it is incumbent on us, as leaders, to find solutions to improve it. Democrats must join Republicans at the table and work to accomplish a solution to support sustainable health care in our nation. Governors, including myself, stand ready to partner with our colleagues in Congress in this effort.”

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07.14.2017

Arkansas Among Most Improved in Nation in Fiscal Health Rankings, Mercatus Center Study Shows

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island – A newly released study shows that Arkansas’ fiscal health was among the most-improved in the nation and recognizes Arkansas’ “commitment to strong, conservative fiscal policies,” Governor Asa Hutchinson said Friday from the summer meeting of the National Governor’s Association.

Arkansas’ fiscal health ranked 20th in the 2017 edition of George Mason University’s Mercatus Center study, Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition. That is an improvement of eight positions from the state’s previous ranking of 28. The authors of the study said that Arkansas holds nearly four times the cash it needs to cover short-term obligations, which is higher than the 50-state average. Revenues exceeded expenses by 4 percent, according to the report.

“I was encouraged to read in the Mercatus Center’s rankings that Arkansas’ fiscal health is among the most-improved,” Governor Hutchinson said. “This is good news for the state and well-deserved recognition of our commitment to strong, conservative fiscal policies. Arkansas is a true balanced-budget state, and our approach to setting budgets and limiting spending bears that out. 

“But the report, which covers 2015, does not include many of the positive steps we have taken over the past 18 months, including the transfer of more than $100 million into a long-term reserve fund. Arkansas already has improved over this report, but we aren’t resting there. We still have work to do and will continue to look for ways to increase efficiency and streamline state government.”

Read the full report HERE.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07.13.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Approves Arkansas Participation in National Emergency Communication System

Arkansas Joins Virginia and Wyoming as one of the first states to officially “opt in” to the FirstNet and AT&T plan

PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced that Arkansas will opt in to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and AT&T plan to deliver a wireless broadband network to the State’s public safety community. The Governor made the announcement from the National Governors Association’s Summer Conference in Providence, Rhode Island. With the announcement, Arkansas joins Virginia and Wyoming as one of the first states to officially declare their intention to participate in the program. The Governor’s official letter can be found HERE.

“After an in-depth review of the FirstNet and AT&T plan by the appropriate state agencies and stakeholders, I have decided to approve their recommendation to opt in to the program,” Governor Hutchinson said. “As a former Undersecretary of Homeland Security after 9/11, I understand the necessity of a reliable stand-alone emergency communications system. FirstNet has received wide support among our community of first responders because it will enable us to respond more quickly during crises when seconds can mean the difference between life and death.” 

“Governor Hutchinson and I have shared a vision for a safe and secure country since our days in Homeland Security. Today, he has made one of the most economical and technologically advanced decisions he can make for the safety of Arkansas’ residents and first responders," said former Pennsylvania Governor and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. "Participation in FirstNet is going to transform how Arkansas’ first responders coordinate during emergencies and everyday situations."

FirstNet and AT&T will build, operate and maintain a highly secure wireless broadband communications network for Arkansas’ public safety community at no cost to the State for the next 25 years. The FirstNet network will deliver innovation and create an entire system of modernized devices, apps and tools for first responders, transforming the way Arkansas’ fire, police, EMS and other public safety personnel communicate and share information. Click HERE for more information on how FirstNet will help public safety save lives and secure communities. 

“Arkansas has been a tremendous partner to work with to plan and design this network,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth. “With today’s decision, Governor Hutchinson realizes public safety’s efforts and sets this life-saving network into motion. We look forward to delivering the technology and communication tools that first responders need to serve and protect the residents of Arkansas.”
 
“In 2015, Governor Hutchinson directed the state to develop a robust process to review whether opting in to FirstNet was the right decision for the state. Since that time, we have been hard at work researching and collaborating with our emergency responders to arrive at the best decision for Arkansas. I would like to thank everyone involved for the work they have done over the last few years leading up to the final review of the plan,” said Director of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, A.J. Gary. “FirstNet will be a great asset to our first responders and the citizens they serve.”

Since 2013, FirstNet has met with Arkansas officials and public safety personnel more than 30 times to address their unique communication needs and challenges. In addition, before Governor Hutchinson received the FirstNet state plan for his approval, the plan was reviewed for potential financial, legal and environmental implications by a group of stakeholders and state agencies including the Governor’s office, the Department of Information Systems, the Attorney General, the Department of Emergency Management and the Arkansas Interoperable Communications Executive Committee. 

“It is our honor to provide advanced communications capabilities to ensure Arkansas’ first responder community has a network they can rely upon when needed most," said Ed Drilling, president, AT&T Arkansas. “AT&T has a long history with the public safety community, and together we know we will create a first-of-its-kind network that will help first responders operate faster, safer and more effectively when lives are on the line. We will bring first responders the coverage, value and experience they expect.”

About FirstNet
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Chartered in 2012, its mission is to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of the nationwide, broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities. For more information on FirstNet, please visit FirstNet.gov/mediakit.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07.12.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Announces Benton Police Chief Kirk Lane as New Arkansas Drug Director

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has announced Kirk Lane, Chief of Police for the Benton Police Department, as the new Arkansas Drug Director. Chief Lane will replace former Arkansas Drug Director Denny Altes, who resigned in May of this year. 

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement: 

“Chief Lane’s extensive experience in law enforcement and his background with the FBI has well-equipped him to serve as the new Arkansas Drug Director. Chief Lane is a dedicated leader who has been a valuable asset to several Arkansas drug and alcohol boards and programs. I am confident that he will continue to do an outstanding job working to further alcohol- and drug-abuse prevention and treatment initiatives of our state.”

Chief Kirk Lane issued the following statement:

"This is a great opportunity to lead people in the same direction to prevent drug abuse and improve the quality of life for all Arkansas. My job is to encourage people to work together to resolve these issues, and I look forward to being a part of the Governor’s team in this effort."

Chief Lane has served as chief of police for the Benton Police Department since 2009. Prior to serving in that role, Chief Lane spent more than 20 years with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office and served as captain of its Criminal Investigations Division for nearly a decade. He is a graduate of the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy and the FBI National Academy. 

Chief Lane has also served as a member of the Arkansas Drug and Alcohol Coordinating Council, the Arkansas Gulf Coast HITDA State Board, the Terrorism Task Force, the Arkansas Prescription Drug Advisory Board and the Arkansas Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. 

Chief Lane has also received countless awards for his service including the Mayoral Distinguished Medal of Merit for Benton, 2010 Benton Citizen of the Year and the 2012 Marie Interfaith Award.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07.11.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Applauds Recent Strides in Tackling DD Wait-List, Substance-Abuse Treatment

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas is making significant progress in reducing the number of those waiting for in-home medical care and in providing treatment for mental-health issues and substance abuse, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced at Tuesday’s meeting of the Little Rock Rotary Club.

During the 2017 general assembly, legislators designated money from the Tobacco Settlement Fund that has allowed the Department of Human Services to reduce the waiting list of over 3,000 developmentally disabled Arkansans seeking in-home care.

“I am pleased that we have made it a priority to care for the most vulnerable in our state,” Governor Hutchinson said. “With the support of the legislature, my administration has been able to significantly reduce the number of developmentally disabled who are currently waiting for in-home care. I am delighted that 500 additional Arkansans will now have access to quality in-home care, rather than placement in an institution.”

In addition, under DHS rules that went into effect July 1, those with substance-abuse and mental-health issues will now have quicker and simpler access to treatment and counseling.

The new rules allow and encourage new providers to become certified to accept and bill for Medicaid beneficiaries who need outpatient mental health and substance abuse services. 

“It is no secret that the abuse of opioids and methamphetamines is a growing issue in dire need of a solution. We must have a system in place to help people who struggle with addiction,” Governor Hutchinson said. “We have expanded the services that Medicaid covers, and for the first time, we are allowing counselors to house their practices in the same building with physicians. This common-sense approach will increase access to addiction treatment by allowing doctors to send a patient directly to a counselor, rather than hoping the patient will keep an appointment across town a week later.”

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07.11.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Announces Stan Jones As New Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioner

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today appointed Stan Jones of Walnut Ridge to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. 

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement: 

“As a fifth generation farmer and an avid outdoorsman, Stan appreciates Arkansas in ways that few others do, and he is a perfect fit for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. As a fellow hunter and conservationist, I understand how critical it is to appoint a leader who dearly loves all the natural resources that Arkansas has to offer. Stan has demonstrated a passion for stewarding Arkansas’ natural resources throughout his entire life.”

Stan Jones issued the following statement:

“I have always loved the outdoors. That is one thing I like to share, and I want to see others experience that. I look forward to serving Arkansans by working to protect the land in this new role. I am grateful for Governor Hutchinson’s confidence in me to serve on the Game and Fish Commission.”

Jones is an Arkansas native and a long-time resident of Walnut Ridge. He farms over 7,000 acres of land in Northeast Arkansas and owns BANDED outdoor sporting apparel, Avery Outdoors and the Stan Jones Mallard Lodge. Jones is a graduate of Arkansas State University and serves on the Chancellor’s Cabinet. Jones, a member of ASU’s 1970 National Football Championship team, was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. He also serves in the Red Wolves Foundation 500 Club and the Clover Bend Historical Society. 

Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioners are appointed to serve 7-year terms. Stan Jones will replace outgoing commissioner, Fred Brown.  

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07.10.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement Applauding ACT Aspire Preliminary Scores

Arkansas Achieves Significant Increases

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson on Monday commended Arkansas teachers, students and the Arkansas Department of Education for the significant improvement in state scores on the 2016-2017 ACT Aspire. The largest increases occurred in grades 6 and 8 math and writing. Large gains occurred in writing for grades 4 through 8, with a 21.72 percent increase in grade 5. English Language Arts averages reflect statistically significant increases, particularly for grade 4. More can be found HERE.

“Congratulations to Arkansas teachers, students and the Arkansas Department of Education for the notable improvement on the 2016-2017 ACT Aspire. While we want to see continued improvements in the future, the increased scores in math and writing bode well for our state in our efforts to attract more industry with a strong workforce. In addition, these advances further underscore the hardwork our teachers put forth every day and indicates that our students are responding well to the department’s new vision to provide a student-focused education.”

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07.03.2017

Gov. Hutchinson, Miss America 2017 and KARK Announce Month-Long #BeHealthyBeActive Challenge

Campaign to Kick Off July 5 on KARK Today


LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson and Miss America 2017, Savvy Shields—the Governor’s Honorary Chair and Statewide Ambassador for Healthy Active Arkansas—are partnering with KARK TV, Little Rock’s NBC affiliate, throughout the month of July to kick off the first ever #BeHealthyBeActive Challenge as part of Healthy Active Arkansas. 

Every Wednesday morning in July, KARK 4 TODAY will air a segment featuring Miss America and KARK 4 TODAY personalities, along with appearances by Governor Hutchinson and First Lady Susan Hutchinson. Each segment will promote healthy living and encourage Arkansans in specific areas of health, including diet, mental, and indoor and outdoor exercise. 

This month-long challenge will urge Arkansans to share their healthy choices on social media, too, to promote what they are doing to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle this summer. The segments will air on July 5, July 12, July 19, and July 26.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement: 

“The #BeHealthyBeActive Challenge is a creative and exciting way for Arkansans to get involved and take further control of their health. Improving the health of our state not only enables Arkansans to lead more fulfilling, happy lives, but it also benefits our businesses and strengthens our state’s workforce. Ultimately, a healthier Arkansas is a stronger Arkansas. 

“I want to thank Miss America for her leadership in encouraging healthy lifestyles in our state, as well as the KARK 4 TODAY team for its partnership and collaboration in this challenge. I look forward to furthering the Healthy Active Arkansas mission by promoting healthier lifestyles in our state through the #BeHealthyBeActive Challenge.” 

Miss America 2017, Savvy Shields, issued the following statement:

"The #BeHealthyBeActive Challenge is the perfect way to integrate new and creative healthy habits into your lifestyle. I'm so excited to join my state in this challenge, finding ways towards eating healthy, and living better.”

KARK News Director, Austin Kellerman, issued the following statement:

“Being healthy and active are two major priorities for our KARK 4 TODAY team. They couldn’t be more excited about partnering with Governor Hutchinson, the First Lady, and Miss America to spread their passion for physical fitness.

“We’re excited to give people ideas centered around wellness to kick start their day.  Hopefully, the reports will provide that little boost and motivation people need to get active and enjoy everything our great state has to offer.”

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07.03.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Intent to Grant Executive Clemency

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced his intent to grant 13 pardons. An additional 45 clemency requests were denied and 3 had no action taken upon them. These include requests from both inmates and non-inmates.

The applicants intended for pardons have completed all jail time, fulfilled all parole and probationary requirements and paid all fines related to their sentences. There is a 30-day waiting period to receive public feedback on the notices before final action is taken.

Governor Hutchinson intends to grant pardons to the following people:

Pinkey Brooks (Jonesboro): Delivery of Marijuana (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1994 – Mississippi County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further Arkansas criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Javier Espinoza (Hebron, Kentucky): Failure to Appear (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2002 – Pope County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Tommy L. Fields (Solgohachia): Manufacturing a Controlled Substance (C Felony) and Unauthorized Use of Another Person’s Property to Facilitate Certain Crimes (B Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (2002 – Van Buren County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Javan Fuller, Jr. (Smackover): Conspiracy to Deliver Cocaine (A Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1994 – Union County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Mike Garner (Jonesboro): Breaking or Entering (D Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1994 – Greene County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Jesse L. Green (Arnold, Missouri): Burglary (Felony) and Grand Larceny (Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (1959 – Jackson County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Kevin K. Lindley (Hot Springs): Possession of a Controlled Substance, Cocaine (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2005 – Benton County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Christopher P. McCrary (Hot Springs): Possession of a Controlled Substance-Schedule I/II, To Wit: Oxycotin (C Felony), Controlled Substance/Criminal Penalties (A Misdemeanor), and Drug Paraphernalia (A Misdemeanor).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (2005 – Faulkner County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

Ginger Smith Clancy (Atkins): Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, Marijuana (C Felony), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (C Felony), and Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, Methamphetamine (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (1996 – Boone County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

Joe A. Puckett (Greenbrier): Harassing Communications (A Misdemeanor) and Terroristic Threatening in the 1st Degree (D Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (2000 – Van Buren County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. The Prosecuting Attorney has raised objections to the applicant’s request.

Chris Ramsey (Little Rock): Breaking of Entering (D Felony) and Theft of Property (C Felony); Breaking of Entering (Revocation) (D Felony), Theft of Property (Revocation) (C Felony), and Theft by Receiving (C Felony); Failure to Appear (A Misdemeanor).

This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1990, 1991 and 1995 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further felony criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Christina Weathersby (Rogers): Theft of Property (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2005 – Polk County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Scott A. McConnell (Mountain Home): Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, 1 count (C Felony) and Delivery of a Controlled Substance, Marijuana, 6 counts (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (1995 – Baxter County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further felony criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Contact: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07.01.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Response to Overnight Shooting in Little Rock, Injuring 17

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement in response to an overnight shooting at a Little Rock nightclub injuring 17 people:  

"First and foremost, my thoughts are with the victims and their families this morning, and the First Lady and I are praying for their quick recovery. I also want to thank the first responders who no doubt saved lives with their quick action. 

"Little Rock's crime problem appears to be intensifying. Every few days it seems a high profile shooting dominates the news, culminating with this morning's event.  I have spoken this morning with Mayor Stodola and I have offered both my heart felt concern over this senseless violent tragedy and state assets as needed to address the continued threat of violence in our community.

“We are still gathering facts, but it is clear that we need to have a comprehensive enforcement strategy in place that helps take the violent threats off the streets. The state will participate and bring assets to the table to support local law enforcement efforts."

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06.27.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Applauds EPA Administrator Pruitt’s Proposal to Rescind 2015 Clean Water Rule

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today issued a statement applauding a proposal from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt and the Army Corps of Engineers to rescind the 2015 Clean Water Rule and return to the previous regulatory status. 

In 2015, under President Obama, the EPA instituted new rules clarifying which bodies of water could be regulated by the federal government under the Clean Water Act. Known as the Clean Water Rule, these guidelines significantly increased the EPA’s authority to regulate small waterways.

“Arkansas is a state that supports clean water and has taken great strides to protect and enhance our natural environment,” Governor Hutchinson said. “As communicated in my recent letter to Administrator Pruitt, I support clear and efficient regulations and a more balanced partnership with the states. I commend the EPA, Administrator Pruitt, and the Army Corps of Engineers for withdrawing the burdensome requirements and federal overreach of the 2015 Clean Water Rule.”

A ruling from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals had halted implementation of the Clean Water Act after determining that the rule likely constituted regulatory overreach. If the rule is officially rescinded, the power to regulate ponds, wetlands and other non-navigable bodies of water would return to the states.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06.23.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule:  June 26th – July 1st

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, June 26, 2017, through Saturday, July 1, 2017: 

Monday, June 26, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas Public Safety Communications Conference 
1 p.m.
Embassy Suites
11301 Financial Centre Parkway 
Little Rock, AR

Tuesday, June 27, 2017:

STUTTGART
Stuttgart Rotary Club
Noon
Grand Prairie Center
2807 Highway 165
Stuttgart, AR

Wednesday, June 28, 2017:

BENTONVILLE
Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Open Call 
8 a.m.
Walmart Home Office
702 SW 8th Street
Bentonville, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson).

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06.23.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Announces Cost-Saving Move for Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission

Cut in Unnecessary Spending Nets Taxpayers More Than $70,000

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (AWCC) announced today that the AWCC will not renew its lease of space for executive offices on the 26th floor of the Regions Building and will instead relocate those three commissioners to the Workers’ Compensation building nearby, at no additional cost to the state. This move will save Arkansas taxpayers more than $70,000 a year and additional savings in utility costs. 

The current five-year lease was signed in 2012 and will end June 30, 2017. The full Commission offices have been on the 26th floor of the Regions Bank building for 30 years. These executive high-rise offices are separate from the state-owned Commission building at 324 Spring Street, which currently serves as the office for all Little Rock employees of the agency.  

“As Governor, one of my top priorities has been to streamline state government to eliminate unnecessary costs for taxpayers,” Hutchinson said. “The decision to house Workers’ Compensation Commissioners within the Workers’ Compensation building is great news in that regard. This common-sense move to unite the three commissioners’ offices with their staff will save Arkansas taxpayers more than $70,000 per year.

“It is encouraging to see our agencies taking a deep look at spending to determine how to better serve the people of our state. I encourage other agencies to follow the lead of the AWCC, and I look forward to continued work with our legislature, state agencies and the Office of Transformation to find more ways to cut unnecessary spending and improve state government.” 

This change was a result of the Hutchinson administration’s continued focus on finding efficiencies and driving down the cost of state government. 

“Shortly after the Governor’s inauguration in 2015, the Governor asked me to look into the high-rise executive offices leased by the full Commission,” said S. Dale Douthit, chairman of the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission. “In 2015, we had approximately two and a half years on the five-year lease. As a result of reduction in staff due to natural attrition, our state-owned facility at 324 Spring Street now has more than enough office space for the full Commission. The full Commission has given notice to Regions that we will not be exercising another lease. Beginning July 1, 2017, the full Commission will move into its existing state-owned building at 324 Spring Street. The move into vacant space will require no major renovation. This is in line with Governor Hutchinson’s directive for more efficient state government.”

In 2015, the Commission had 104 employees; that number now stands at 89 employees. 

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06.21.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Announces Appointments

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

Lori Griffin, Van Buren, to the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Appointment expires May 1, 2022. Replaces James von Gremp. 

Keven Anderson, Rogers, to the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Appointment expires May 1, 2023. Replaces Bob Crafton.

Al Brodell, Jonesboro, to the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Appointment expires May 1, 2023. Replaces Ben Pickard.

Randy Sims, Conway, to the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Appointment expires May 1, 2022. Replaces Florine Milligan. 

John Shepherd, El Dorado, to the Commission on Uniform State Laws. Appointment expires April 30, 2021. Replaces Carolyn Witherspoon. 

Jerald McKinney II, Benton, to the Commission on Uniform State Laws. Appointment expires April 30, 2021. Replaces Elisa White. 

David Nixon, Fayetteville, to the Commission on Uniform State Laws. Appointment expires April 30, 2021. Replaces Lynn Foster.

Joseph Roberts, Benton, to the Arkansas Sentencing Commission. Appointment expires May 15, 2022. Replaces Alvin Bradley.

Holly Meyer, Heber Springs, to the Arkansas Sentencing Commission. Appointment expires May 15, 2022. Replaces Henry Boyce.

Representative Sonia Eubanks Barker, Smackover, to the Southern Regional Education Board Legislative Advisory Council. Serves at the Will of the Governor.

Representative Grant Hodges, Rogers, to the Southern Regional Education Board Legislative Advisory Council.  Serves at the Will of the Governor.

Representative Mark Lowery, Maumelle, to the Southern Regional Education Board Legislative Advisory Council.  Serves at the Will of the Governor.

Judge Shannon Blatt, Fort Smith, to the Arkansas Sentencing Commission. Appointment expires May 15, 2019. Replaces Judge Berlin Jones. 

Dr. Jason Richey, Paris, to the Health Services Permit Commission. Appointment expires April 9, 2021. Replaces Dr. Kimberly Curseen.

David Deaton, Fairfield Bay, to the Health Services Permit Commission. Appointment expires April 9, 2021. Replaces Johnny Hodges.

Eugenia Brown, Mountain View, to the Advisory Council of the Arkansas Arts Council. Appointment expires June 30, 2021. Reappointment.

Remica Gray, Texarkana, to the Advisory Council of the Arkansas Arts Council. Appointment expires June 30, 2020. Reappointment. 

Bruce Alford, Lewisville, to the Red River Levee District No. 1. Appointment expires May 10, 2023. Reappointment.

Dewey McDonald Jr., Lewisville, to the Red River Levee District No. 1. Appointment expires May 10, 2023. Replaces William Goza.

Jammy Turner, Gillett, to the State Plant Board. Appointment expires March 17, 2019. Reappointment.

Kyle Baltz, Pocahontas, to the State Plant Board. Appointment expires March 17, 2019. Reappointment. 

Michael Lejong, Greenwood, to the State Board of Architects, Landscape Architects and Interior Designers. Appointment expires April 26, 2022. Replaces David French. 

James Mardis III, Rogers, to the Arkansas-Oklahoma Arkansas River Compact Commission. Appointment expires February 1, 2018. Replaces Michael Carter. 

Mark Pearson, Little Rock, to the Baby Sharon’s Children’s Catastrophic Illness Grant Program Committee. Appointment expires May 1, 2021. Reappointment. 

Julie Mullenix, Hot Springs, to the Capitol Zoning District Commission. Appointment expires May 1, 2019. Replaces Darrell Brown. 

Vickie Strickland, Jonesboro, to the Old State House Commission. Appointment expires March 19, 2026. Replaces Mary Abramson. 

Connie Timmons, Hamburg, as a Justice of the Peace for the Ashley County Quorum Court, District 5. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Robert Barnes.

Sherrie Sanders, Ozark, as a Justice of the Peace for the Franklin County Quorum Court, District 5. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Chad Haberer.

Lonnie Taff, Waldron, as a Justice of the Peace for the Scott County Quorum Court, District 7. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces William Lutrell.

Donald Ragland, Marshall, as a Special County Judge in the County Court of Carroll County, Arkansas. Carroll County Court Case Number 2016-02 Michael and Robin Phillips, et al. vs. Ryan Wilson. Replaces Carroll County Judge Sam Barr, who has disqualified himself from the case. 

Judge Doug Erwin, Lonoke, as a Special County Judge in the County Court of Boone County, Arkansas. Boone County Court Case Number 05CC-2016-5 North Arkansas Medical Services, Inc. v. Karen Hardesty, in her official capacity as Boone County Assessor. Replaces Boone County Judge Robert Hathaway, who has disqualified himself from the case. 

Robert Veach, Russellville, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas. CV-17-103 Air Evac EMS, Inc. v. USABLE Mutual Insurance Co. d/b/a Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Replaces Chief Justice John Dan Kemp, who has disqualified himself from the case. 

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06.16.2017

Arkansas Unemployment Falls to Record 3.4 Percent

LITTLE ROCK – The unemployment rate continued its record-setting decline in May, dropping to 3.4 percent from 3.5 percent in April, Arkansas’ Department of Workforce Services announced Friday. This is the lowest rate in Arkansas’ history.

“Arkansas’ unemployment rate has fallen, once again, to an all-time low at 3.4 percent,” Governor Asa Hutchinson said. “The state’s labor force participation continues to increase with more jobs being added to the private sector, and the total number of Arkansans employed since January 2015 has risen to 74,500, up from 70,200 from last month.

“These are terrific reminders that our economy is on the right track. As we continue to attract new industry and expand existing employers, we will have a greater need for effective work-force education efforts. I am confident we can meet the ongoing needs of employers. ”

The state’s unemployment rate beat the national rate, which is 4.5 percent.

The unemployment rate in April 2015, the year Governor Hutchinson took office, was 5.5 percent. A year later, it had fallen to 3.9 percent in April 2016.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06.16.2017

State Now Accepting Applications for Regional Crisis Stabilization Units, Gov. Hutchinson Announces

Interested Governmental Entities Encouraged to Apply

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Hutchinson today announced that the application process for Crisis Stabilization Units is now open. Crisis Stabilization Units (CSU) were a major part of Governor Hutchinson’s 2017 legislative agenda after they were recommended by the Criminal Justice Task Force. 

Act 423, establishing the CSU pilot program, received strong bipartisan support in both houses of the legislature and was signed into law by Governor Hutchinson on March 8, 2017.

CSUs are short term clinical facilities that provide assessment and treatment services for individuals with behavioral health conditions. The goal of these centers is to reduce the number of mentally ill and others with behavioral health conditions who enter jails and emergency rooms; these facilities are not designed or equipped to handle individuals with these conditions. Appropriate care will result in better outcomes for these individuals, and, in addition, it will decrease the strain and cost on our county jails.

Governor Hutchinson encouraged eligible governmental entities who are interested in establishing CSUs to visit the Governor’s website, HERE, to submit an online application. Submissions will be presented to the Criminal Justice Oversight Task Force, which will review all applications and make the selections. Applications must be submitted no later than midnight on June 30, 2017, to be considered. Three applicants will be selected for the pilot program.

Arkansas governmental entities selected to participate will be required to provide an appropriate physical site to operate a CSU with adequate space and proximity to both the county’s criminal-justice institutions and to a partnering behavioral-health facility. The agency also must prove it can cover the cost to maintain the facility.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612) 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06.15.2017

President Grants Gov. Hutchinson’s Request for Federal Disaster Declaration

LITTLE ROCK – President Trump today granted Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request for a major disaster declaration for the state of Arkansas as a result of damages due to severe storms, tornadoes and flooding during the period of April 26 to May 19, 2017. The declaration will allow residents and governmental bodies in the affected areas0who meet certain criteria to apply for assistance.

Individual Assistance (IA) for individuals and households will be available in Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Faulkner, Fulton, Jackson, Lawrence, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Washington and Yell counties.  Additional designations may be added to the declaration if requested by the state and warranted by results of further damage assessments. ADEM encourages citizens affected in these counties to apply for assistance by calling 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) or at www.disasterassistance.gov

“This morning my office received notification from the Trump administration that it has granted my request for a federal disaster declaration for the Arkansas counties ravaged by the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding in April and May,” Governor Hutchinson said.

“This is welcome news for the Arkansas families and businesses who have been waiting patiently for relief from these disasters. These emergency funds will provide much needed relief that will help those coping with the aftermath of these storms to recover, rebuild and get back on their feet. I am especially appreciative of our federal delegation and their support and assistance during this process.” 

A.J. Gary, Director of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, said Thursday: “I received the call from FEMA Region 6 this morning that President Trump approved the declaration. The approved disaster declaration is a direct result of the dedicated and hard work of the ADEM team, FEMA, county judges and emergency managers, and the leadership of Governor Hutchinson.”

Public Assistance (PA) for emergency work and repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities will be available in Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Cleburne, Conway, Craighead, Cross, Faulkner, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Mississippi, Montgomery, Newton, Ouachita, Perry, Poinsett, Prairie, Randolph, Saline, Washington, White and Woodruff counties.

Through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, funds will be available for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards for all areas of the state.

Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials will soon announce plans to open offices throughout the affected areas to accept assistance applications.

CONTACT: J.R. Davis, Governor’s Office: press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612); ADEM Public Affairs: publicaffairs@adem.arkansas.gov or 501.683.6700

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06.13.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Orders Arkansas Flag to Fly at Half-Staff in Memory of Fallen Newport Police Officer

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has ordered the flag of the state of Arkansas to be lowered to half-staff in tribute to the memory of Lieutenant Patrick Weatherford, a Newport police officer, who was killed in the line of duty on Monday, June 12, 2017. The flag will be flown at half-staff from June 13, 2017, to the day of interment. The full proclamation can be found HERE.

Governor Hutchinson released a statement earlier Tuesday on the death of Lieutenant Weatherford, and that statement can be found HERE.

If you would like to receive updates from the Governor's Office regarding when to fly the Arkansas and the United States flags at half-staff, sign up for Citizens Alerts.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06.13.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement on Newport Police Officer Killed in the Line of Duty

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement on the death of Newport Police Officer, Lieutenant Patrick Weatherford, who was killed in the line of duty on Monday:

"I was saddened to hear that Lt. Patrick Weatherford was shot and killed in the line of duty yesterday afternoon. Lt. Weatherford's 15-year career at the Newport Police Department demonstrates his bravery, selflessness and commitment to serving his community. He will be remembered for his courage and dedication to serve and protect the people in and around the Newport area. We are forever indebted to men and women like Lt. Weatherford, who put their lives on the line every day to keep others safe. Our hearts go out to his family, the law enforcement community and the Newport Police Department during this difficult time.” 

Contact: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06.13.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement on Newport Police Officer Killed in the Line of Duty

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement on the death of Newport Police Officer, Lieutenant Patrick Weatherford, who was killed in the line of duty on Monday:

"I was saddened to hear that Lt. Patrick Weatherford was shot and killed in the line of duty yesterday afternoon. Lt. Weatherford's 15-year career at the Newport Police Department demonstrates his bravery, selflessness and commitment to serving his community. He will be remembered for his courage and dedication to serve and protect the people in and around the Newport area. We are forever indebted to men and women like Lt. Weatherford, who put their lives on the line every day to keep others safe. Our hearts go out to his family, the law enforcement community and the Newport Police Department during this difficult time.” 

Contact: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06.09.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: June 12th – June 17th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, June 12, 2017, through Saturday, June 17, 2017: 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Press Conference
10:30 a.m.
Governor’s Conference Room
500 Woodlane St.
Little Rock, AR

Thursday, June 15, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
83rd Annual Convention AR Municipal League
11:15 a.m.
State House Convention Center – Wally Allen Ballroom
101 E Markham St
Little Rock, AR

Friday, June 16, 2017:

HOT SPRINGS
Arkansas Bar Association 119th Annual Meeting 
10:15 a.m.
Hot Springs Convention Center
134 Convention Blvd.
Hot Springs, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson).

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06.09.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Appoints Mary Robin Casteel Director of Alcoholic Beverage Control

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has appointed Mary Robin Casteel as Director of the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control. Casteel has served as interim director since the departure of former director, Bud Roberts, in May.  

“The ABC faces a number of challenges in the near future, and continuity of leadership will help ensure the success of the agency,” Governor Hutchinson said. “Mary Robin has proven herself a capable leader and an authority on ABC operations. We’re glad she’s agreed to stay on.”

Casteel, a licensed attorney, had previously submitted her resignation and planned to return to private practice. The former director, Bud Roberts, resigned May 26th, and Casteel agreed to serve as interim director at that time.

Casteel, 38, joined ABC in 2013. The ABC regulates the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in Arkansas, and currently oversees more than 5,000 permit holders in the state. Under the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, which voters adopted in November, the ABC will also regulate licensed dispensaries and cultivation facilities.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do in the coming months related to medical marijuana, as well as the always busy work of regulating alcohol,” Casteel said. “But we have a good team, and I’m glad to remain a part of it.”

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06.05.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Submits Formal Federal Disaster Declaration Request for 31 Storm-ravaged Counties

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today submitted his formal request for a federal disaster declaration to the Trump administration for 31 Arkansas counties affected by severe storms, flooding and tornadoes in April and May.

“With the completion of the thorough damage assessment by FEMA and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, I am now formally requesting that President Trump issue a federal disaster declaration for the the state of Arkansas as a result of the severe storms and flooding that devastated 31 counties and caused more than $13 million in damage. 

“I am hopeful that this request will result in some relief for those still reeling from the damage caused by the storms of the last two months.”  

Governor Hutchinson requested the declaration for Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Cleburne, Conway, Craighead, Cross, Faulkner, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Mississippi, Montgomery, Newton, Ouachita, Perry, Poinsett, Prairie, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Washington, White, Woodruff and Yell counties.

Governor Hutchinson declared the affected counties as state disaster areas earlier in May. Due to the extensive nature of the flooding and the inaccessibility of certain areas, the in-depth damage assessment for the federal declaration of emergency took longer to complete.

Governor Hutchinson’s letter to President Trump can be found HERE.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06.05.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Intent to Grant Executive Clemency

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced his intent to grant three pardons, one restoration of firearm rights only, and one commutation of a sentence. An additional 53 clemency requests were denied and four had no action taken upon them. These include requests from both inmates and non-inmates. 

The applicants intended for pardons have completed all jail time, fulfilled all parole and probationary requirements and paid all fines related to their sentences. There is a 30-day waiting period to receive public feedback on the notices before final action is taken.

Governor Hutchinson intends to grant pardons to the following people:

Roger Garner, Jr. (Searcy): Burglary, 2 counts (B Felony), Theft of Property, 1 count (C Felony), and Theft of Property, 1 count (A Misdemeanor).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2000 – White County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law-enforcement objections to the application.

Marcus J. Martin (Morrilton): Possession of Methamphetamine (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2002 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law-enforcement objections to the application. 

Rickey W. Owens (Waldron): Possession of a Controlled Substance (C Felony) and Possession of Instruments of Crime (A Misdemeanor).

This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (1998 and 2012 – Scott County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law-enforcement objections to the application. 

Governor Hutchinson intends to grant the restoration of firearms right only to the following person:

Andy W. Hogg (Dierks): Robbery (B Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1995 – Sevier County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. The Sheriff of Howard County has signed the Recommendation of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer as required by law. There are no law-enforcement objections to the application. 

Governor Hutchinson intends to grant a commutation of sentence to the following person:

Jimmy E. Nelson (ADC #092971): Possession of Drug Paraphernalia with Intent to Manufacture Methamphetamine (Habitual Offender) (B Felony), Possession of Ephedrine (Habitual Offender) (B Felony), Possession of Marijuana (Probation Revocation) (D Felony) and Failure to Appear (C Felony).

The governor has given notice of his intent to commute the sentence of Jimmy E. Nelson, who was convicted in Benton County in 2001 and in Washington County in 2004 for the above offenses, from a total of 636 months to serve in the Arkansas Department of Correction to 360 months in the Arkansas Department of Correction with all counts concurrent. The Washington County Sheriff and Prosecuting Attorney and the Benton County Sheriff and Prosecuting Attorney have raised objections to the application.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06.02.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: June 5th – June 10th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, June 5, 2017, through Saturday, June 10, 2017: 

Monday, June 5, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
International Economic Development Council (IEDC) 
2017 Economic Future Forum
8:30 a.m.
Little Rock Marriott
3 Statehouse Plaza
Little Rock, AR

LITTLE ROCK
Computer Science Enrollment Competition Press Conference
10 a.m.
Governor’s Conference Room
500 Woodlane St.
Little Rock, AR

Wednesday, June 7, 2017:

MARSHALL
Ozark Highlands Innovative Readiness Training Mission
2:30 p.m.
Marshall High School – Gym
952 Hwy  65
Marshall, AR

Saturday, June 10, 2017:

WARREN
All Tomato Luncheon
12 p.m.
First Baptist Church – Activities Center
310 S. Main Street
Warren, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson).

Contact: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.31.2017

ICYMI: Gov. Hutchinson Talks Health Care Reform on PBS NewsHour; Says States Need More Flexibility

LITTLE ROCK – Yesterday Governor Asa Hutchinson joined Lisa Desjardins on PBS NewsHour to discuss health care reform—the ongoing debate in Washington and what the country’s governors would like to see. Click HERE to watch to the full interview. See below for the full transcript.
 

May 30, 2017 – 5:30 p.m. CST

LISA DESJARDINS: As part of our ongoing look at what’s at stake in health care for those closest to the problem, we’re now joined by Asa Hutchinson, the Republican governor from Arkansas.

Our viewers will recall that Arkansas was, of course, one of the states to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.

Governor Hutchinson, thank you for joining us.

Now, you’re in an interesting position. You have opposed the Affordable Care Act, but also you and your predecessor, as we just said, supported the expansion. And because of those things, we have seen uninsurance rates in your state get slashed in half under the Affordable Care Act.

What do you think of the Affordable Care Act right now? Does it need full repeal?

GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON: Well, we need to change what we have. It doesn’t work completely.

For example, we wanted to reform the Medicaid expansion in Arkansas with a simple work requirement, just like we have on the SNAP program, but under Obamacare, the previous administration wouldn’t give us that requirement.

We needed to control the cost more. We’re unable to do that whenever it’s mandatory that you cover everybody up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. And so we’re trying to concentrate limited resources in Arkansas. We don’t have the flexibility we need under the current program.

So, yes, I supported a change in it, and I applaud the House for starting the debate with passing a repeal and a replacement. But we need to obviously do more, and I’m looking for the Senate to — they’re starting over. They’re drafting it. I hope they listen to the governors to provide the flexibility that’s needed, and I hope they take some ideas from Arkansas as to some of the good things we have done in terms of reform, controlling costs, but also expanding health care coverage.

DESJARDINS: One of the items of flexibility that House Republicans would give you is the ability to waive out of some things like essential benefits or a cap on the costs for people who have preexisting conditions.

Are those things that you would want to waive out of?

HUTCHINSON: Not necessarily, but we have got to be able to have the flexibility and options for the states.

And, for example, on the health care benefits, I think the state should be able to give more flexibility in terms of coverage. Not everybody wants every essential health benefit. They might want to have different options and a menu of options that suit their particular needs.

Let’s give the states the option to enhance coverage, to make sure there are health care options that are out there, but also the ability to control costs. And so we want to look at a menu of options. We take two options right now in terms of reform.

We want to be able to reduce it from 138 percent of the federal poverty level down to the poverty level, so we can concentrate our limited resources on those that need it the most, shift more to the exchange, where they will have support and coverage, but it will be a cost-saving measure, both for the state and the federal government.

These are types of reforms and flexibility that will make sense. The work requirement is important to encourage people to have the training they need to move up the employment ladder, to make more money, but, at the same time, have some support for health care. These are the reforms we want to put into place.

DESJARDINS: Governor, House Republicans would offer you more flexibility, as you say, but they would also cut some of the Medicaid funding you get from the government, and it seems they are increasing uncertainty.

Insurers need to set their rates for the next year, and they aren’t sure if they are going to get the subsidies that the president and Congress control. What does that uncertainty feel like, and are you worried about funding cuts?

HUTCHINSON: Yes, that’s one of the big faults of the House bill is that it’s a cost shift to the states.

We have to absorb more of the cost to maintain the same level of coverage. We don’t need that cost shift to the states. We need to continue a good federal-state partnership. So, I’m looking to the Senate to rewrite that portion of it, so the flexibility is good, but you cannot accompany that with a massive cost shift to the states that would leave more and more uninsured, because the states cannot absorb that kind of a burden. But the flexibility is an important part of it to be able to manage it.

Two points. Under Obamacare, they underestimated the number that was going to go on Medicaid. Too many went on Medicaid. They overestimated those that would go on the exchange, and there are too few on the exchange. We want to reverse that.

And under Arkansas’ plan, you’re going to restrict those that are on the Medicaid portion of it, shift more to the exchange, and that’s the original design that makes it more cost-effective for the states.

DESJARDINS: I see. Governor Asa Hutchinson, Republican of Arkansas, thank you so much for joining us.

HUTCHINSON: Great to be with you.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.30.2017

Gov. Hutchinson, ADHE Launch ArFuture Grant for 2017-2018 School Year

Application Deadline is July 1st

 

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Higher Education have announced the official launch of the Arkansas Future (ArFuture) scholarship program. 

Starting today, prospective college students, including any graduate of an Arkansas high school, Arkansas homeschool, GED program, or anyone with a high school diploma who has lived in Arkansas for the past three years, may fill out an application for the ArFuture Grant online at https://www.ark.org/adhe_financialaid/login.aspx

Students must enroll in a high-demand or STEM program and cannot have earned a bachelor’s degree. Students must also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and apply through ADHE’s online YOUniversal scholarship portal.

“I am pleased that the ArFuture grant application process is now officially open,” Governor Hutchinson said. “Through the ArFuture Grant, we are ensuring that all Arkansans have access to affordable higher education. This will increase our degree and certificate attainment rates by removing the financial hurdles that keep many from enrolling. Increasing access to education and creating a more skilled workforce is the best way to strengthen economic development and increase opportunities for all Arkansans.”

Governor Hutchinson introduced the idea of the ArFuture grant in December 2016, and in the 2017 general session, it was among his priorities that legislators approved.  This program was created to promote higher education, increase the skills and education of Arkansas’ workforce, and attract students to high-demand, high-wage occupations. This scholarship will cover tuition and fees for eligible students in qualifying Associate’s and Certificate programs at public institutions of higher education.

The scholarship program includes requirements for mentoring and community service.  Students who are engaged in their professional fields and communities have a greater chance of success, research shows. 

ArFuture will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The application period has been extended until July 1. Deadlines for other programs, such as the Arkansas Challenge Scholarship, have been extended until June 15.  

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov – 501.682.3612) 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.26.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule:  May 29th – June 3rd

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, May 29, 2017, through Saturday, June 3, 2017: 

Monday, May 29, 2017:

FAYETTEVILLE
Memorial Day Commemoration Ceremony
9:45 a.m.
Fayetteville National Cemetery
700 S Government Ave, 
Fayetteville, AR

Tuesday, May 30, 2017:

HOPE
Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs District 8 Veteran Service 
Office Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
1 p.m.
Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs
District 8 Veteran Service Office
205 Smith Road, Suite A
Hope, AR

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

SEARCY
American Legion Auxiliary Arkansas Girls State Inauguration
7 p.m.
Harding University – Benson Auditorium
S. Blakeney
Searcy, AR

Thursday, June 1, 2017:

GLENWOOD
Caddo River Forest Products Grand Opening
3 p.m.
Caddo River Forest Products
229 South Spur 8
Glenwood, AR

CONWAY
American Legion Boys State Governor General Assembly
7 p.m.
University of Central Arkansas – Ida Waldran Auditorium
201 Donaghey Ave. 
Conway, AR

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.26.2017

USDA Designates 23 Arkansas Counties Disasters Following Severe Flooding

Loss Assessment Reports Determine ‘Sufficient Production Losses’

LITTLE ROCK – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared 23 Arkansas counties disasters in the wake of spring flooding, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Friday. This designation is separate from the Presidential Disaster Declaration, which the Governor has requested. FEMA is still assessing the damage before a Presidential Disaster Declaration can be made.

Governor Hutchinson learned of the Secretarial natural disaster designation in a letter from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

“The USDA reviewed the Loss Assessment Reports and determined that there were sufficient production losses to warrant a Secretarial natural disaster designation,” Secretary Perdue said. “Therefore, I am designating … 23 counties … as primary natural disaster areas.”

Secretary Perdue visited Arkansas in early May. “I want to thank Secretary Perdue and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for granting my request to declare 23 Arkansas counties as disaster areas,” Governor Hutchinson said. “The secretary saw firsthand the damage our state suffered due to flooding, including the destruction of thousands of acres of cropland. The disaster declaration will give our farmers access to emergency loans that will help them get back on their feet after last month’s devastating storms.”

In addition to the 23 counties declared primary natural disaster areas, Secretary Perdue also designated 23 Arkansas counties as contiguous disaster areas. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) considers each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses on the farm and the security and repayment ability of the operator. 

A Secretarial disaster designation qualifies farm operators in primary counties and in contiguous counties to be considered for certain assistance from FSA provided they meet eligibility requirements. For more information on FSA Disaster Assistance Programs, click HERE, or contact local FSA offices, which can provide affected farmers with further information.

Secretary Perdue’s letter can be found HERE, as well as a map of the affected counties HERE.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.26.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Names Mary Robin Casteel Interim Director of Alcoholic Beverage Control

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Friday that Mary Robin Casteel, an attorney with the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control, has agreed to serve as interim director of the agency. Casteel is currently a staff attorney with ABC but had planned to resign and enter private practice. At the request of the governor, she has agreed to serve as interim director until a permanent director is hired.

“I have a great deal of respect for Mary Robin, and I am confident that her knowledge and leadership will serve the agency well during this time of transition,” said Governor Hutchinson. “The ABC serves an important role for the state, and I am glad she has agreed to help out and lead the organization as interim director.”

Casteel, 38, joined ABC in 2013. The ABC regulates the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in Arkansas and currently oversees more than 5,000 permit holders in the state.

CONTACT: Governor’s Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov – 501.682.3612) or Jake Bleed, DFA Communications Administrator (jake.bleed@dfa.arkansas.gov – 501.682.5339)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.19.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: May 22nd - May 27th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, May 22, 2017, through Saturday, May 27, 2017:

Monday, May 22, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Academic Signing Day
1:30 p.m
Governor's Mansion
1800 Center St.
Little Rock, AR

Tuesday, May 23, 2017:

MALVERN
Department of Corrections GED Graduation Ceremony
2 p.m.
Ouachita Regional Unit
100 Walco Ln.
Malvern, AR

Wednesday, May 24, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Governor's Awards for Excellence in Global Trade
11:30 p.m.
Governor's Mansion
1800 Center St.  
Little Rock, AR

Thursday, May 25, 2017:

HOT SPRINGS
Arkansas Rural Development Conference Luncheon
Noon
Hot Springs Convention Center
134 Convention Blvd.
Hot Springs, AR
 

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.19.2017

Unemployment Rate Falls to Record Low for Fourth Straight Month

'On the Right Track,' Gov. Hutchinson Says 


Labor Force Participation Climbs; State Adds 11,000 Jobs


LITTLE ROCK – For the fourth month in a row, Arkansas' unemployment rate has dropped, setting a record low of 3.5 percent for the state. The rate in March was 3.6 percent. In addition, the state added 11,000 jobs in April, and the labor force participation increased from the previous month. 

“I was pleased to see that Arkansas’ unemployment rate has fallen to an all-time low for the fourth time in as many months.” Governor Hutchinson said after the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services released the figures on Friday. “Our 3.5 percent unemployment tells us that we are on the right track in terms of implementing conservative policies that spur job creation and put Arkansans to work.

“Our unemployment rate is even more impressive when you consider that the number of employees on the government payroll is shrinking, while private sector employment and the labor force participation rate continue to climb. 

“In fact, there are now 70,200 more Arkansans employed than when I first took office in 2015. Arkansans want to work. As Governor, I will continue to pursue policies that increase opportunities for Arkansans to work and raise the quality of life in our state.”

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.18.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Launches ‘MyIdea’ Transformation Project; Requests Public Participation

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson launched the state’s MyIdea project at a news conference on Thursday, a direct line to state agencies that will give Arkansans a chance to contribute ideas for ways to improve services, increase efficiencies and streamline state government. 

Starting today, Arkansans may submit ideas online at www.myidea.arkansas.gov or by phone at (844) 7MY-IDEA or (501) 683-IDEA. The process is quick and easy, and while contact information will be requested for any necessary follow up, MyIdea will accept anonymous suggestions.

Current employees of the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) will staff the MyIdea telephone line and website. DFA will determine which agency is best equipped to assess an idea, then forward it to the head of that agency. The governor has directed each agency to report back on an idea within 30 days. DFA and the Chief Transformation Officer, housed in the Governor’s Office, will track the responses.

“I am truly excited about the launch of MyIdea,” said Governor Hutchinson. “This is a great opportunity for the customers of state government to be heard. I encourage everyone with an idea, however large or small, to submit suggestions to streamline state government and to maximize the efficient use of their tax dollars. I want to lead the way in reducing the cost of state government, and what better source of ideas than the taxpayers who will benefit. By working together, we can cut costs and improve state government for all Arkansans.”
 

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.16.2017

Governor Hutchinson Requests Rental Aid for Flood-Ravaged Counties

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has requested that the Arkansas Development Finance Authority secure money for residents forced from their homes by the recent floods.

In a letter the governor sent to ADFA President Aaron Burkes on Tuesday, he asked Burkes to secure up to $5 million through the U.S. Housing and Urban Development-administered HOME Investment Partnerships Program.

“A subset of this program provides Tenant-Based Rental Assistance to individuals who meet certain income guidelines,” the governor wrote. “I am requesting that the board of the Arkansas Development Finance Authority approve a resolution to authorize the disbursement of up to $5 million …”

The letter can be found HERE

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)
 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.12.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: May 15th – May 20th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, May 15, 2017, through Saturday, May 20, 2017: 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017:

NORTH LITTLE ROCK
NF Night with Children’s Tumor Foundation & Arkansas Travelers Ball Team
6:30 p.m.
Dickey-Stephens Park
400 W Broadway
North Little Rock, AR

Thursday, May 18, 2017:

LONOKE
Kick Start Lonoke Strategic Plan Unveiling
10 a.m.
Lonoke Chamber of Commerce
117 Front Street NW
Lonoke, AR

LITTLE ROCK
Transformation Announcement
1:30 p.m.
Governor’s Conference Room
500 Woodlane Street
Little Rock, AR
Friday, May 19, 2017:

PINE BLUFF
Delta Conference
12 p.m.
Pine Bluff Convention Center
1 Convention Center Plz,
Pine Bluff, AR

Schedule is subject to change. For further updates from Governor Hutchinson, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@AsaHutchinson).

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.12.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Follows Up with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in Letter

Regarding Rice Replanting and USDA Assistance


LITTLE ROCK – Today, Governor Asa Hutchinson sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue regarding dates for replanting rice and the state’s need for assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the wake of recent heavy rains and floods. 

In the letter, which can be found HERE, the governor thanks the secretary for his recent visit to the state “to see firsthand the devastating flooding that is taking a significant toll on our producers across the state.”

The governor asks Secretary Perdue’s assistance in loosening new insurance-company rules that require rice farmers to replant their crop by June 9 in order to remain eligible for insurance.

The governor noted that scientists and consultants have said that planting in June reduces the yield by 30 percent or more.

“The problem is compounded by the lack of desirable rice varieties available by the time replanting could start,” Gov. Hutchinson wrote. 

Producers must be free to base their replanting schedule on advice from consultants and experts that is specific to local conditions, not an arbitrary date set by a crop insurance program, he wrote.

“Excessive, additional financial hardship will be placed upon producers already facing significant challenges if this needed flexibility is not provided,” Gov. Hutchinson wrote.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.12.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Orders Arkansas Flag to Fly at Half-Staff in Memory of Lt. Kevin C. Mainhart

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has ordered the flag of the State of Arkansas to be lowered to half-staff in tribute to the memory of Lieutenant Kevin C. Mainhart, a Yell County Sheriff’s Deputy, who was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, May 11, 2017. The flag will be flown at half-staff from May 12, 2017, to the day of interment. The full proclamation can be found HERE.

Governor Hutchinson released a statement Thursday on the passing of Lieutenant Mainhart, and that statement can be found HERE

If you would like to be notified when Governor Hutchinson orders the Arkansas and the United States flags to be flown at half-staff, sign up for Citizens Alerts.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3642)