Press Release

Asa Arkansas's Governor

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)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.11.2017

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

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement on the death of Yell County Sheriff’s Deputy Lieutenant Kevin C. Mainhart, who was killed in the line of duty earlier today during a traffic stop west of Dardanelle:

“Tonight, we send our deepest sympathies to the family of Lieutenant Kevin Mainhart of the Yell County Sheriff’s Department, who was shot and killed in the line of duty earlier today. Lieutenant Mainhart’s 25-year career in law enforcement in West Memphis and Yell County made Arkansas a safer place. Our thoughts, prayers and gratitude are with the Mainhart family and all those who put their own lives in danger to serve and protect.” 

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.10.2017

Shandong Ruyi Technology Group to create up to 800 new jobs in Forrest City

China-based textile company will invest $410 million in former Sanyo facility


LITTLE ROCK – Chairman Yafu Qiu (pronounced “Chew”) and leaders of Shandong Ruyi Technology Group (Ruyi) today joined Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and local officials at the State Capitol to announce that the company will invest $410 million in the former Sanyo manufacturing facility in Forrest City, Arkansas.

Ruyi, headquartered in Shandong Province, China, will create up to 800 new jobs at the facility, where Arkansas cotton will be spun into yarn for textile use. This is Ruyi’s first facility to locate in North America.

“Ruyi Group, as the largest textile manufacturer in China, has been expanding globally,” said Chairman Qui. “Our manufacturing facility in Arkansas will become the first milestone of Ruyi’s steps into the United States. We are dedicated to provide the product with cutting edge technology and superior quality.”

Ruyi’s renovations on the former Sanyo building are scheduled to begin in late 2017. The Sanyo facility has been vacant since late 2007 when the company shut down production in Forrest City.

“Ruyi’s decision to locate in Forrest City brings with it up to 800 new jobs along with a significant economic impact on Arkansas’ cotton farmers,” said Governor Hutchinson. “Our business missions to China, along with ongoing work to build relationships with the country’s business leaders, have now resulted in three companies from China’s Shandong Province announcing plans to locate operations in Arkansas. From Sun Paper to Pet Won Pet Products to Ruyi, we have established the state as a leader in foreign direct investment from Asia.”

Ruyi plans on processing more than 200,000 tons of Arkansas cotton annually at the Forrest City facility. Arkansas is the fifth largest cotton producer among all states, producing more than 840 thousand bales in 2016. Production should begin at Ruyi’s Forrest City facility by mid-2018.

“When looking to expand into North America, world-class international companies continue to choose Arkansas,” said Mike Preston, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. “The hundreds of jobs to be created by Ruyi will have an economic impact beyond eastern Arkansas into the entire state. Today’s announcement is further proof of Arkansas’ international momentum.”

“This project is tremendously important to Forrest City and St. Francis County not just for the great jobs it brings to our region, but also for the value to the cash crop on which the Arkansas Delta economy has been based for more than 100 years,” said Kay Brockwell, economic development consultant for Forrest City. “Our cotton already goes around the world to clothe people, and now our growers will have the security of a market for their crop right here at home. There is great significance in the fact that the continuing globalization of the Delta will go hand in hand with our rich and proud agricultural history.”

For more information on Ruyi, visit www.srtgcl.en.china.cn.
 

ABOUT RUYI

Shandong Ruyi Technology Group Co. Ltd, founded in 1972, is the world's leading innovative technology textile enterprise. Shandong Ruyi has become the technological pioneer both in China and abroad. The international influence of Shandong Ruyi has been enhanced through the integration of domestic and international effective resources. At present, Shandong Ruyi owns the two largest comprehensive textiles and garment industry chains in the world. Its business has spread throughout France, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and other countries all over the world, also in Shandong, Chongqing, Xinjiang, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Ningxia and other regions in China. Shandong Ruyi, with a total of 30,000 employees, has two publicly listed companies, as well as 20 wholly owned and holding subsidiaries. Shandong Ruyi Group ranks No. 59 among China’s top 100 multinational companies, and No. 1 in comprehensive competitiveness of the top 500 China textile and garment enterprises.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.10.2017

Gov. Hutchinson to Make Significant Job Creation Announcement This Afternoon

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson will join local officials and company leaders for a significant job creation announcement in the Governor’s Conference Room at the State Capitol in Little Rock:

WHAT:           Gov. Hutchinson to Make Significant Job Creation Announcement Today

WHEN:           2:45 p.m., Wednesday, May 10, 2017

WHERE:         Governor’s Conference Room
                      Arkansas State Capitol
                      Little Rock, AR
 

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.07.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Tours Flood Damage in NEA with U.S. Sec. of Ag and AR Congressional Delegation

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson toured flood-ravaged parts of Northeast Arkansas Sunday afternoon with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, Senator John Boozman, Congressman Rick Crawford and Congressman French Hill. The group, including staff from Senator Tom Cotton’s office and Congressman Bruce Westerman’s office, participated in a flyover tour of Randolph and Lawrence Counties—some of the hardest hit areas in the state—to survey damage to crops and farmland. The tour included parts of White and Pulaski Counties, as well. 

This marks Governor Hutchinson’s second trip to Northeast Arkansas in the last week. On Tuesday, he surveyed damage in Sharp and Randolph Counties from the air and toured parts of Ash Flat and Pocahontas from the ground. In addition, Governor Hutchinson has surveyed damage in parts of Benton, Washington, Madison and Carroll Counties in Northwest Arkansas.

A news conference was held after Sunday’s flyover tour at the State Police Hangar at TAC Air in Little Rock. Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement upon his return:

“Northeast Arkansas crops and farmland have been impacted tremendously by the heavy rains and flooding in the region over the last week, and today’s tour with Secretary Perdue and Arkansas’ federal delegation provided a close look at the damage. 

“Secretary Perdue knows the value of agriculture to our state, and he has committed to expediting the federal government’s response to the damage assessment in Arkansas, and I’m pleased to announce that starting Wednesday, FEMA will be in Arkansas working with our regional teams to assess that damage.”

MEDIA NOTE: You can view the entire news conference HERE. Photos from the tour can be found HERE and may be used by media in their reports. 

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.06.2017

Gov. Hutchinson to Host U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Arkansas Congressional Delegation

On Flyover Tour of NEA Storm Damage; News Conference to Follow

LITTLE ROCK – On Sunday, Governor Asa Hutchinson will host U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, and members of the Arkansas Congressional Delegation, including Senator John Boozman, Congressman Rick Crawford and Congressman French Hill, on a flyover tour of Northeast Arkansas to survey flood damage in the area. Staff from Senator Tom Cotton’s office and Congressman Bruce Westerman’s office will also participate in the tour. A news conference will be held following the tour, details of which are below.
 

WHAT:            News Conference with Gov. Hutchinson, Sec. Perdue, Sen. Boozman, Rep. Crawford and Rep. Hill following flyover tour of NEA flood damage

WHEN:            2:45 p.m., Sunday, May 7, 2017

WHERE:          State Police Hangar (Hangar 8)
                        TAC Air
                        
2401 Crisp Drive
                        
Little Rock, AR

NOTE: Come in on Crisp Drive like you are headed to TAC Air.  Before you get to the old terminal (Central Flying Service), a road will branch off to the right.  State Police will have a marked unit at the intersection, as well as uniformed officers throughout, to guide media to the gate and hangar.  

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

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.06.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Declares 36 Counties, Two Cities Disaster Areas

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has issued disaster declarations for 36 counties and two cities following severe storms that caused heavy flooding and damage throughout much of the state last weekend. Additional counties may be added after damage is assessed. At this time, the 36 counties and two cities can be found HERE.

You can find the latest disaster declaration, DR 17-15, HERE. You can find DR 17-14 HERE, DR 17-13 HERE and DR 17-12, the original, HERE.

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

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.05.2017

​ Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: May 8th – May 13th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, May 8, 2017, through Saturday, May 13, 2017: 

Monday, May 8, 2017:

DANVILLE
Yell County Health Arkansas
10 a.m.
Danville High School
201 E 11th St.
Danville, AR

RUSSELLVILLE
Russellville High School Coding Tour
2 p.m.
Russellville High School, Center for the Arts
2203 South Knoxville Ave.
Russellville, AR

Tuesday, May 9, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
National Association of Career and Technical Education Information
Annual National Conference
8:45 a.m.
Little Rock Marriott
3 Statehouse Plaza
Little Rock, AR

MOUNTAIN HOME
Mountain Home High School Coding Tour
10:45 a.m.
Mountain Home High School
500 Bomber Blvd.
Mountain Home, AR

FLIPPIN
Flippin High School Coding Tour
1 p.m.
Flippin High School
103 Alford St.
Flippin, AR

YELLVILLE
Yellville-Summit High School Coding Tour
2:30 p.m.
Yellville-Summit High School
1124 N Panther Ave.
Yellville, AR

Wednesday, May 10, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
VC FinTech Accelerator 2017 Kickoff
5 p.m.
Little Rock Tech Park
417 Main Street, 6th floor
Little Rock, AR

Thursday, May 11, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Reward School Program Check Presentation
8:30 a.m.
Forest Park Elementary
1600 North Tyler Street
Little Rock, AR

LITTLE ROCK
Junior Achievement Awards
11:40 a.m.
DoubleTree Hotel
Little Rock, AR

LITTLE ROCK
Investiture Ceremony of UA Little Rock Chancellor Andrew Rogerson
3:00 p.m.
Jack Stephens Center, UA Little Rock Campus
2801 S. University Ave.
Little Rock, AR

Friday, May 12, 2017:

CABOT
Cabot High School Coding Tour
9 a.m.
Cabot High School
401 North Lincoln
Cabot, AR

SHERIDAN
Sheridan High School Coding Tour
11 a.m.
Sheridan High School -- McKenzie Auditorium
800 West Vine
Sheridan, AR

PINE BLUFF
Watson Chapel High School Coding Tour
1:30 p.m.
Watson Chapel High School
4000 Camden Road
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
05.04.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Announces Winners of the Nation’s First Governor’s All-State Coding Competition

Verizon announces additional funding and commits to year two


LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson on Thursday attended the nation’s first of its kind Governor’s All-State Coding Competition. Gov. Hutchinson, in partnership with Verizon, announced the winners of the competition at EAST Initiative in Little Rock. 

Gov. Hutchinson unveiled the competition in an announcement at Hall High School in Little Rock during his Computer Science Coding Tour in September 2016. Seventy-five teams from across the state participated in eight regional competitions. The top two teams from each region received invitations to compete in the All-State Competition.

Verizon contributed $40,000 to the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce to sponsor the competition, which awarded a 529 college savings scholarship to each member of the top three teams. Carson Cato, Brandon Cox and Jackson Gregory from the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts placed first and each received a $2,000 scholarship.  Martin Boerwinkle, Brock Davis and Joe Sartini from the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts placed second and each received a $1000 scholarship. The third placed team of Mason Brown, Gregory Maddra and Noah Wehn from Springdale Har-Ber High School each received scholarships of $500. The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, which produced the competition’s winning team, will also receive an award of $20,000. 

At the event, due to the success of year one, Verizon announced it would contribute $50,000 to sponsor the second year of the competition; a portion of those funds will also be used to train and certify computer-science teachers across the state. 

Gov. Hutchinson issued the following statement: 

“I am pleased to announce the winners of the first Governor’s All-State Coding Competition. These students have worked extremely hard and acquired valuable coding experience during this competition. We are lucky to have a great partner like Verizon to join the state in our efforts to provide Arkansas students with computer science and computer coding skills necessary to prepare them to successfully join the 21st century workforce. 

“I am proud of our computer science students, teachers and all those who made this event a success and continue to strive to make Arkansas a national leader in computer science education.”

Leslie Madere, Director of Business Sales for Verizon, issued the following statement: 

“Through Verizon Innovative Learning, Verizon is giving free technology, free access and immersive hands-on learning to kids in need.  We are helping to bring hands-on learning opportunities to youth, inspiring tomorrow's creators to use technology to build brighter futures for themselves, their families and the world.  We need more kids involved in STEM, not just for their benefit, but because the world needs them - their brains, their creativity and their experiences - to create the amazing solutions that will make our world a better place.

“Under the leadership and commitment of Governor Hutchinson, ARCodeKids and the Arkansas Department of Education, we are proud to recognize the accomplishments of all 75 teams from throughout the state who participated in the inaugural All-State Coding Competition.   We need more kids to see the world of possibilities waiting for them and we are happy to be joining today's celebration.”

Photos can be found HERE.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.01.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Addresses Joint Session of the General Assembly Ahead of the Extraordinary Session

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today addressed a joint session of the Arkansas Legislature to mark the opening of the first Extraordinary Session of the 91st General Assembly. 

Video of his remarks can be found HERE

Documents used during the Governor’s speech can be found HERE and HERE.

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

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05.01.2017

Gov. Hutchinson to Survey Storm Damage and Flooding in Northeast Arkansas Tuesday

News Conference to Follow

LITTLE ROCK – On Tuesday, Governor Asa Hutchinson will survey storm damage in Randolph and Sharp Counties following the weekend’s severe storms and heavy flooding. The Governor will hold a news conference in Pocahontas following the tour. 

Details are as follows:

WHAT:           Gov. Hutchinson to Survey Storm Damage and Flooding in Northeast Arkansas Tuesday;
                      News Conference to Follow

WHEN:          11 a.m. | Tuesday, May 2, 2017

WHERE:       Fire Station #4
                      2670 N. Thomasville St.
                      Pocahontas, AR


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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04.30.2017

Governor Declares State of Emergency

NORTH LITTLE ROCK— Governor Hutchinson has declared a State of Emergency for Arkansas in response to the severe storms and flooding throughout the state.  
Arkansas Department of Emergency Management officials are receiving all of the requests from the counties and are responding on order of the Governor.  

“Our prayers go out to the families who lost loved ones in the heavy rain and storms last night.  I also thank our first responders who have worked tirelessly to provide assistance," Governor Hutchinson said. “This afternoon I declared a State of Emergency for Arkansas to ensure that we have in place available resources to assist counties affected by last night’s storms. ADEM continues to coordinate with counties on damage assessments.” 


CONTACT:
Arkansas Department of Emergency Management 
Building 9501 | Camp Joseph T. Robinson | North Little Rock, Arkansas 72199 | (501) 683-6700
Public Affairs: publicaffairs@adem.arkansas.gov
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04.28.2017

Gov. Hutchinson to Join Miss America for Healthy Active Arkansas Announcement

LITTLE ROCK – Gov. Asa Hutchinson will join Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields to make Healthy Active Arkansas announcement Monday. 

Details are as follows:

WHAT:
Gov. Hutchinson to Join Miss America for Healthy Active Arkansas Announcement

WHEN:
9 a.m. | Monday, May 1, 2017

WHERE:
Fulbright Junior High School
5303 SW Bright Road
Bentonville, AR


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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04.28.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule:  May 1st – May 6th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, May 1, 2017, through Saturday, May 6, 2017: 

Monday, May 1, 2017:

BENTONVILLE
Healthy Active Arkansas Press Conference with Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields
9:00 AM
Fulbright Junior High School
5303 SW Bright Rd.
Bentonville, AR

LITTLE ROCK
Governor’s Address for the Extraordinary Session of the 91st General Assembly
2:00 PM
Arkansas State Capitol
500 Woodlane St. 
Little Rock, AR

Thursday, May 4, 2017:

NORTH LITTLE ROCK
Central Arkansas Day of Prayer Breakfast
7:30 AM
Wyndham Hotel
2 Riverfront Pl. 
North Little Rock, AR

LITTLE ROCK
Better Business Bureau of Arkansas Torch Awards for Ethics
11:20 AM
Governor’s Mansion
1800 Center St.
Little Rock, AR

LITTLE ROCK
Governor’s All-State Coding Competition
2:00 PM
EAST Initiative
6215 Ranch Dr.
Little Rock, AR

Friday, May 5, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
ADEQ Environmental Stewardship Award/Technology Award Presentation  
10:00 AM
Governor’s Conference Room
500 Woodland St.
Little Rock, Ark.

Saturday, May 6, 2017:

De QUEEN
UA Cossatot Diversity Fest
11:45 AM
UA Cossatot Amphitheatre
1440 US 70
De Queen, 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
04.27.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement on the Execution of Kenneth Williams

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today issued the following statement on the execution of Kenneth Williams:

"The long path of justice ended tonight and Arkansans can reflect on the last two weeks with confidence that our system of laws in this state has worked. Carrying out the penalty of the jury in the Kenneth Williams case was necessary. There has never been a question of guilt.

In 1999, Williams was serving a life sentence for the murder of 19-year-old Nikki Hurd when he escaped and proceeded to kill again: 57-year-old Cecil Boren, a grandfather and husband to Genie, and a Missouri man, 24-year-old Michael Greenwood. Williams would later confess to the unsolved murder of 36-year-old Jerrell Jenkins, a father and stepfather.

In the last seven days, after decades of waiting, the families of Debra Reese, Christine Lewis, Mary Phillips, Lorraine Anne Barrett, Stacy Errickson, Nikki Hurd, Jerrell Jenkins and Cecil Boren were finally provided the justice they were promised and they also saw that our system of laws have meaning.”

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04.27.2017

Gov. Hutchinson to Hold Media Availability Tomorrow

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson will hold a media availability tomorrow in the Governor’s Conference Room to discuss items on the call for the upcoming special session and the state’s recent executions. 

Details are as follows:

WHAT:
Governor Asa Hutchinson to Hold Media Availability

WHEN:
11:00 a.m., Friday, April 28, 2017

WHERE:
Governor’s Conference Room                          
Arkansas State Capitol                          
Little Rock, AR

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04.26.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement on Record-Low Unemployment, Reduction in Government Positions

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today issued a response to reports from the National Bureau of Labor Statistics that show the state’s unemployment rate dropping to a record low 3.6 percent in March. In addition, there are 59,500 more Arkansans employed today than when Hutchinson took office in January of 2015.

Despite strong growth in the private sector, government employment in Arkansas has continued to fall. Upon taking office, Governor Hutchinson quickly instituted a state-wide hiring freeze. According to the latest estimates, the hiring freeze has resulted in the elimination of approximately 1,400 positions from state agency budgets for the next biennium. These 1,400 positions, if filled, would have cost the state more than $41 million annually.

Governor Hutchinson released the following statement:

“I am pleased that Arkansas’ unemployment rate has again reached a new record-low, while workforce participation continues to rise. At the same time, we continue to reduce the number of employees on government payroll. Our continued momentum in private-sector growth demonstrates that a conservative approach to government can spur job creation and strengthen economic development, while also reducing the overall size of government.

“As Governor, I will continue to focus on streamlining state government and creating an atmosphere that enables the private sector to thrive.”

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04.24.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement on the Execution of Marcel Williams

LITTLE ROCK - Governor Asa Hutchinson today issued the following statement on the execution of Marcel Williams:

“After more than 20 years, justice has prevailed for the family of Stacey Errickson. I reviewed this case thoroughly and determined that clemency should not be granted. I appreciate the patience and long-suffering of the Errickson family through this ordeal. This is a serious and reflective time in our state and it is important for the Errickson family and all Arkansans to know that in this case our laws ended in justice.”

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04.24.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Response to the Execution of Jack Jones

LITTLE ROCK - Governor Asa Hutchinson today issued the following response to the execution of Jack Jones:

“This evening the rule of law was upheld when the sentence of the jury for Jack Jones was carried out after 20 years of review. The victim’s family has waited patiently for justice during that time. The jury sentenced Jack Jones to death, and his sentence was upheld by judges and reviewed thoroughly in courts of appeal at each level. 

“A governor never asks for this responsibility, but I accept it as part of the solemn pledge I made to uphold the law. Jack Jones expressed his willingness to proceed today, and we hope this will help bring closure to the Phillips family.”

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04.21.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement on the Passing of Former Arkansas Congressman, Jay Dickey

LITTLE ROCK - Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement on the passing of former Arkansas Fourth District Congressman Jay Dickey:

“Jay was one of those unique people who loved life and everyone around him. I had the privilege of serving with Jay in Congress, and I have never seen anyone who was so determined to fight for the people in his district. He made friends easily, and he stuck by them. I played basketball with Jay in the House gym, where, like everywhere else in his life, he was a competitor. He will be missed."

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04.19.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement on Arkansas Supreme Court’s Decision to Stay Johnson Execution

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement in response to the Arkansas Supreme Court’s decision to stay the execution of Stacey Johnson:

"I am both surprised and disappointed at the last minute stay by the Arkansas Supreme Court.  When I set the dates, I knew there could be delays in one or more of the cases, but I expected the courts to allow the juries' sentences to be carried out since each case had been reviewed multiple times by the Arkansas Supreme Court, which affirmed the guilt of each. The minority opinion was clear in its dissent, but I know the families of the victims are anxious for a clear-cut explanation from the majority as to how they came to this conclusion and how there appears to be no end to the court's review. I will continue to work with the attorney general as we evaluate our next steps."

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04.17.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement on United States Supreme Court Decision

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today issued a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of the motion to vacate the Arkansas Supreme Court’s stay on the execution of Don Davis.

Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to vacate the Arkansas Supreme Court decision in reference to Don Davis. I am disappointed in this delay for the victim’s family. However, the 8th Circuit decision today overturning Judge Baker’s stay and the Arkansas Supreme Court ruling vacating Judge Griffen’s temporary restraining order mean that the courts have once again cleared the state to proceed with carrying out the sentences of the other inmates. While this has been an exhausting day for all involved, tomorrow we will continue to fight back on last minute appeals and efforts to block justice for the victims’ families.” 

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04.17.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement on Appellate Court Opinions on Executions

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today issued a response to the decisions handed down by the Arkansas Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit.

Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“Once again last minute court rulings have changed the course of justice. Today, the 8th Circuit ruled the state could proceed with the death penalty sentence and expressed no concern over the execution schedule and the legislatively mandated means to carry out the lethal injection protocol.  However, the State Supreme Court went a different direction and ruled that the execution of Don Davis and Bruce Ward could not proceed based upon the potential of some future direction of the U.S. Supreme Court that is unknown at the present time.

“This decision was not unanimous and the dissenting opinions reflect the harm the delays cause the families of the victims and it also expresses my frustration in the continued delayed justice. We have asked the US Supreme Court to overrule the Arkansas Supreme Court and hope to get a decision later tonight.”

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04.15.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Issues Statement on Recent Court Decisions Regarding Scheduled Executions

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement in response to the recent court decisions regarding the scheduled executions:

“When I set the eight execution dates in accordance with the law and my responsibilities, I was fully aware that the actions would trigger both the individual clemency hearings and separate court reviews on varying claims by the death row inmates. I understand how difficult this is on the victims’ families, and my heart goes out to them as they once again deal with the continued court review; however, the last minute court reviews are all part of the difficult process of death penalty cases. I expect both the Supreme Court of Arkansas and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decisions quickly, and I have confidence in the Attorney General and her team to expedite the reviews.

“I’ll be meeting with the Attorney General and the Arkansas Department of Correction on Monday to determine next steps.”

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04.11.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Appointments

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

Gregory Vardaman, Arkadelphia, as Circuit Judge of the Ninth East Judicial Circuit, Division 1. Term begins May 1, 2017 and expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Judge Robert McCallum.

Hugh Finkelstein, Little Rock, as District Judge of Little Rock District Court, Department 1. Term begins May 1, 2017 and expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Judge Alice Lightle.

Johnnie Copeland, Mountain Home, as District Judge of Fulton County District Court, Salem Department. Term begins May 1, 2017 and expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Judge Jim Short.

Tommy Boyer, Fayetteville, to the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas. Appointment expires March 1, 2027. Replaces Reynie Rutledge.

Director Daryl Bassett, Little Rock, to the Board of Trustees of the Arkansas Public Employees’ Retirement System. Appointment expires March 9, 2020. Replaces Artee Williams.

Commissioner Candace Franks, Little Rock, to the Board of Trustees of the Arkansas Public Employees’ Retirement System. Appointment expires March 9, 2019. Replaces William “Bill” Gaddy.

Steve Faris, Hot Springs, to the Board of Trustees of the Arkansas Public Employees’ Retirement System. Appointment expires March 9, 2023. Replaces Ouida Wright.

Dr. Conley Byrd, Jr., Redfield, to the Veterinary Medical Examining Board. Appointment expires March 1, 2022. Replaces Dr. Jim Ralston.

Warner Smith, Sr., Smackover, to the State Board of Collection Agencies. Appointment expires January 1, 2019. Replaces Jimmy Gross.

Edward Vance, Benton, to the State Board of Collection Agencies. Appointment expires January 1, 2020. Reappointment.

John F. Gibson, Monticello, to the Red River Compact Commission. Appointment expires March 31, 2024. Reappointment.

Cassondra Williams-Stokes, Little Rock, to the Arkansas State Independent Living Council. Appointment expires February 1, 2020. Replaces Katy Morris.

Derek Scott, Bentonville, to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission. Appointment expires September 1, 2020. Replaces Dexter Howard.

José Covas, El Dorado, to the Board of Trustees of South Arkansas Community College. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Charles Thomas.

Pat Johnson, Pocahontas, to the Black History Commission of Arkansas. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Replaces Carla Coleman.

Jimmy Bryant, Conway, to the Arkansas History Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2024. Replaces Michael Lindsey. 

Sheriff Tim Helder, Fayetteville, to the State Crime Laboratory Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2024. Replaces Sheriff Bill Gilkey.

Laith Adams, Sheridan, as a Justice of the Peace for the Grant County Quorum Court, District #3. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Louise Lavelle.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04.05.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Intent to Grant Executive Clemency

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced his intent to grant nine pardons. An additional 46 clemency requests were denied and five 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:

David F. Bailey (Eureka Springs): Burglary (B Felony), Theft of Property (B Felony), and Theft by Receiving (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the dates of conviction (1991 – White County; 1993 – Cleburne County; 1993 – 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.

Janet Brezler (Batesville): Possession of Methamphetamine (C Felony), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (C Felony), and Possession of Marijuana (A Misdemeanor).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (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. 

Michael Gamble (Hackett): Theft of Property (A Misdemeanor), Breaking or Entering (D Felony), and Attempted Residential Burglary (C Felony).  

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1998 – 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.

Michael D. Ganus (Steele, MO): Theft by Receiving (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 criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Michael Lambert (Amity, AR): Possession of Marijuana over 1 ounce (Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1972 – 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.

Yashika M. Morris (Pine Bluff): Theft of Property (A Misdemeanor), Fail to Appear for Plea (A Misdemeanor), and Failure to Comply with Court.

This notice is issued based on the dates of conviction (2001, 2002 and 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.

Stewart R. Sears (Cave Springs): Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1987 – 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.

Rebecca Spears Tucker (Charleston): Violation of Arkansas Hot Check Law (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1993 – 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.

Nadine Wood (Bentonville): Forgery in the Second Degree (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1998 – Benton 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. 

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04.04.2017

Governor Hutchinson Comments on Trump-Xi Jinping Meeting

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today issued a response to President Trump’s meeting with President Xi Jinping:

“The work we have done to recruit direct investment from China has resulted in the commitment of more than $1 billion in new capital investments with more than 650 new jobs. We are confident President Trump’s meeting with President Xi Jinping will only strengthen the United States’ relationship with China as they discuss any unresolved trade issues. 

“This relationship is important for the United States as a whole and Arkansas specifically because of the growing level of interest from Chinese companies that are considering doing business in the state. President Trump’s appointment of Governor Terry Branstad of Iowa as Ambassador to China is another positive step in improving relations between our countries. The significant investment China is making in Arkansas will continue to strengthen our position on the global stage.”

Governor Hutchinson led trade missions to China in 2015 and 2016 to recruit foreign investment and to advocate for Arkansas agricultural exports. After his 2015 visit, Sun Paper agreed to invest $1 billion to build a facility in Arkadelphia that will employ 250 people. After a second trade mission in October of 2016, Suzhou Tianyaun Garment Company signed an agreement to invest $20 million to establish a clothing manufacturing facility in Little Rock that will create 400 new jobs.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04.03.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Remarks on the Adjournment of the 91st General Assembly

LITTLE ROCK – With today’s adjournment of the 91st General Assembly, Arkansas has concluded one of the state’s most successful pro-growth and pro-business legislative sessions in recent history.

Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“Over the past 84 days the Arkansas General Assembly has worked hard to institute policies that make our state a better place to live, work and raise a family. I applaud the legislature’s work this session to spur economic development, improve education and raise the quality of life for all Arkansans.

“Our successes this session will have a positive impact on the lives of all those we serve. I am glad that we avoided unnecessary battles and were able to focus our attention on the issues that matter most to Arkansans like improving education, lowering the tax burden and creating an environment that encourages job growth. I am pleased that we can close the 91st General Assembly as one of the most pro-growth legislative sessions in recent memory.”  

Gov. Hutchinson signed into law numerous proposals aimed at job creation and economic growth this session, including Act 165, which coupled with the state’s computer science initiative, will bring financial technology start-ups to the state. Hutchinson also signed two tax relief bills into law earlier this year. Act 78 reduces the tax burden on individuals who make below $21,000 annually and Act 141 exempts military retirement pay from the state income tax. 

In addition to signing Act 280 to establish a funding mechanism for natural gas infrastructure projects, Hutchinson also signed bills lowering Arkansas’s soda tax and reducing sales tax on manufacturing machinery.  

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
03.31.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: April 2nd – April 8th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Sunday, April 2, 2017, through Saturday, April 8, 2017: 

Sunday, April 2, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Mosaic Church 15th Anniversary Celebration
10:45 AM
Mosaic Church
6221 Colonel Glenn Rd.
Little Rock, Ark.

Monday, April 3, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas State FBLA Conference
8:30 PM
Statehouse Convention Center
101 E Markham St.
Little Rock, Ark.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
2017 “Give Us This Day” Prayer Breakfast & Gathering
8:00 AM
DoubleTree Little Rock
424 W Markham St.
Little Rock, Ark.

Thursday, April 6, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Easterseals 2017 Arkansan of the Year
5:00 PM
Statehouse Convention Center
Wally Allen Ballroom
101 E Markham St.
Little Rock, Ark.

Saturday, April 8, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas World War I Centennial Commemoration Kickoff
10:00 AM
Old State House Museum
300 W. Markham St.
Little Rock, Ark.

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
03.27.2017

Legislature Approves Governor Hutchinson’s Full Agenda

LITTLE ROCK– With the signing of SB519, now Act 561, last Tuesday, which separates the Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee holidays, the Arkansas General Assembly has now approved each of the measures included in Governor Hutchinson’s legislative agenda. The Governor laid out his legislative agenda for the 2017 session in a press conference in December of last year. Each of the included priorities reflect the administration’s focus on Economic Development, Education, and Efficiencies and Government Transformation. 

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“I am pleased that the legislature has approved each of the measures included in my legislative priorities for 2017. These initiatives will help drive economic development, increase educational opportunity, ease the tax burden and enable us to more efficiently serve the people of our state. I am confident that these important measures will have a positive impact on our state. I look forward to continued work with the General Assembly to enact policies that benefit all Arkansans.” 

The approved initiatives are as follows:

Economic Development:

  • Retired Military Tax Cut – Act 141 – Signed into law 2/7/2017
  • Accelerator Program – Act 165 – Signed into law 2/15/2017
  • $50.5 Million Income Tax Cut – Act 78 – Signed into law 2/1/2017

Education:

  • ArFuture Grant – Act 316 –  Signed into law 3/2/2017
  • New Higher Education Productivity Funding Formula – Act 148 – Signed into law 2/8/2017
  • Teacher Opportunity Program Redirect (TOPs) – Act 160 – Signed into law 2/13/2017

Efficiencies and Government Transformation:

  • Reform of the State Pay Plan – Act 365 – Signed into law 3/3/2017
  • Repurposing Tobacco Settlement Funds to Decrease the Disability Waitlist – Act 50 –  Signed into law 1/26/2017
  • Consolidation of Select Boards and Commissions – Act 540 – Signed into law 3/20/2017
  • Agency Reorganization and Efficiencies – Signed into law 2/22/2017 
    • Office of Energy to Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality - Act 271
    • Office of Health Information Technology to Department of Health - Act 270
    • War Memorial Stadium Commission to Department Parks and Tourism - Act 269
  • Waste Tire Management Program – Act 317 – Signed into law 3/2/2017
  • Establishing Regional Mental Health Crisis Stabilization Centers – Act 423 – Signed into law 3/8/2017
  • Eliminating the dual holiday status of MLK-Lee Day – Act 561 – Signed into law 3/21/2017

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
03.24.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: March 27th – April 1st

 

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, March 27, 2017, through Saturday, April 1, 2017: 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
18th Annual Cancer Summit
8:30 AM
Holiday Inn Little Rock Airport 
3201 Bankhead Drive
Little Rock, Ark.

Thursday, March 30, 2017:

NORTH LITTLE ROCK
North Little Rock High School Dedication Ceremony
10:00 AM
North Little Rock High School
101 West 22nd Street
North Little Rock, Ark.

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
03.23.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Appointments

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

Bruce Alford, Lewisville, to the Red River Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2024. Reappointment. 

Clayton Sorrells, Amity, to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on National Service and Volunteerism. Appointment expires February 12, 2020. Reappointment. 

Doyle Ray, Pine Bluff, to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on National Service and Volunteerism. Appointment expires February 12, 2020. Reappointment. 

Misty Pitman, Conway, to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on National Service and Volunteerism. Appointment expires February 12, 2020. Reappointment.

Reverend David Hudak, Bella Vista, to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on National Service and Volunteerism. Appointment expires February 12, 2020. Reappointment.

Kristi Davis, Little Rock, to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on National Service and Volunteerism. Appointment expires February 12, 2020. Reappointment.

Charlie Cain-Davis, Little Rock, to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on National Service and Volunteerism. Appointment expires February 12, 2020. Reappointment.

Mayor JoAnne Bush, Lake Village, to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on National Service and Volunteerism. Appointment expires February 12, 2020. Reappointment. 

Ty Roberson, Marble Falls, as Constable for the Dogpatch Township in Newton County. Appointment expires December 31, 2018.

Peyton Clark, Jasper, as Constable for the Mt. Sherman Township in Newton County. Appointment expires December 31, 2018.

Brad Doney, Imboden, as Constable for the Spring River Township in Randolph County. Appointment expires December 31, 2018.

Ricky Middleton, Batesville, as Constable for the Ashley Township in Independence County. Appointment expires December 31, 2018.

Oscar Hoskins, Helena, as a Justice of the Peace for the Phillips County Quorum Court, District #2. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. 

Alicia Deavens, Fayetteville, as a Justice of the Peace for the Washington County Quorum Court, District #7. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. 

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
03.21.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Signs SB 519; Eliminates Dual Holiday Status of Dr. King and Gen. Lee

“I expected a debate that would divide. Instead, we listened to each other, and the conversation brought us together.”

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today signed into law Senate Bill 519, eliminating the dual holiday status and concurrent commemoration of General Robert E. Lee and Dr. Martin Luther King. With his signature, the Dr. King holiday will continue to be celebrated on the third Monday in January, while General Lee’s day of recognition will be moved to the second Saturday of October. 

Senate Bill 519 will also provide, for the first time in Arkansas, a statewide policy of teaching our children about the Civil War. In addition, with this bill we will coordinate instruction about civil rights leaders and Martin Luther King-specific teaching materials with the holiday that bears his name.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“This is a historic day for our state. The legislative support for a separate holiday to recognize Martin Luther King far exceeded my expectations. To be frank, I expected a debate that would divide. Instead, we listened to each other, and the conversation brought us together. We learned that history needs to be viewed—not just from our own lens—but through the eyes and experiences of others.

“Dr. King—his work and sacrifice—deserves, without question, a day of celebration and reflection unto himself. Today, we underscore that point and, by doing so, we show the rest of the country that, in Arkansas, actions speak louder than words. I’m delighted to sign this bill into law, and when all is said and done, I believe this legislation will perhaps be the most meaningful piece passed this session.”

Senate Bill 519 received bipartisan support in both chambers of the legislature, garnering a 24-0 vote in the Senate and a 66-11 vote in the House. 

To view video of the signing, go HERE. Media outlets are welcome to use video. Please attribute credit to the Governor's Office.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
03.17.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Appoints Yessica Jones Director of DIS

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the appointment of Yessica Jones as the Director of the Department of Information Systems (DIS). Jones served as Deputy Director of DIS before being named Interim Director after the departure of Mark Myers in November of last year. 

Governor Hutchinson released the following statement:

“I am pleased to announce Yessica Jones as the Director of the Department of Information Systems. Yessica’s leadership and knowledge of the technology sector has made her a tremendous asset to DIS over the last year, and I look forward to working with her as we continue to improve our state’s digital services. I am confident that she will lead the agency with vision and innovation to meet the demands of the rapidly-evolving technology industry.”

Yessica Jones released the following statement:

“I am honored to be selected by Governor Hutchinson as the permanent director of DIS. I am excited about the future of the agency and what we are going to achieve on behalf of our colleagues in the public sector and the citizens of Arkansas. Each day, I am grateful to work with such a hard-working, dedicated staff of employees. Their support has helped guide my success throughout the months I have served as acting director. I have pledged to work side-by-side with employees in fulfilling the commitments we make to our customers with attention to quality and service.” 

Jones is a member of the Open Data and Transparency Task Force, Arkansas Homeland Security Executive Committee, Arkansas Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Board, Information Network of Arkansas (INA) Board and Arkansas Interoperable Communications Executive Committee.

In 2016, Jones was the recipient of a StateScoop Top 50 Up and Comer Award, and in 2017, StateScoop named her as one of its Top Women in Technology. Prior to joining DIS, Jones was an assistant professor in Harding University’s Department of Management Information Systems, where she taught data management, database design and business applications programming. She has also served as a solutions developer for Little Rock-based Acxiom and as a database developer for Pennzoil. Jones also served as Gov. Hutchinson’s outreach liaison to the Hispanic community.

Jones holds a B.S. in Computer Science and an M.B.A. from Harding University.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
03.17.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: March 20th – March 25th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, March 20, 2017, through Saturday, March 25, 2017: 

Thursday, March 23, 2017:

WYNNE
Crossroads Coalition 12th Annual Banquet
5:00 PM
Delta Center for Technology
1790 N Blvd
Wynne, Ark.

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
03.13.2017

Governor Hutchinson Responds to Unemployment Rate Drop to 3.8 Percent

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today issued a response to news from the National Bureau of Labor Statistics that the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 percent in January.

Governor Hutchinson released the following statement:

“I was pleased to hear that Arkansas again dipped to a record-low 3.8 percent unemployment rate in January. The fact that our unemployment rate is a full point lower than the national average is a great sign that our state is moving in the right direction when it comes to instituting policies that aid economic growth.

“As Governor, I will continue to focus on creating an atmosphere that promotes job creation, spurs economic development and encourages people to move to our state.”

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
03.10.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: March 13th – March 18th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, March 13, 2017, through Saturday, March 18, 2017: 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Governor’s Art Awards Luncheon
11:30 AM
Governor’s Mansion
Little Rock, AR

LITTLE ROCK
Governor’s Conference on Tourism / Henry Awards Luncheon
12:30 PM
Statehouse Convention Center
Wally Allen Ballroom
Little Rock, AR

Wednesday, March 15, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
ASU Bradbury Free Enterprise Scholars Program
5:30 PM
ASU System Office
501 Woodlane Street, Suite 600
Little Rock, AR

Friday, March 17, 2017:

BENTONVILLE
Free File Event
10:00 AM
Bentonville Public Library
Walmart Community Room
405 S. Main Street
Bentonville, Arkansas

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
03.08.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Announces Appointments

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

Dr. Dexter Booth, Little Rock, to the Arkansas State Claims Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2022. Replaces James Simpson.

Jim Phillips, Jr., El Dorado, to the Oil and Gas Commission. Appointment expires February 20, 2023. Reappointment.

Tommy McWilliams, Magnolia, to the Oil and Gas Commission. Appointment expires February 20, 2023. Replaces Chad White.

Charles Wohlford, Fort Smith, to the Oil and Gas Commission. Appointment expires February 20, 2023. Replaces George Carder.

Mike Davis, Magnolia, to the Oil and Gas Commission. Appointment expires February 20, 2023. Reappointment.

Daniel Greenberg, Little Rock, to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2023. Replaces Janet Moore.

James Anderson, Jr., Scott, to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2022. Replaces Christopher Palmer.

Whitney Gass, Magnolia, to the Board of Corrections. Appointment expires December 31, 2023. Replaces Dr. Mary Parker.

Herbert Morales, Rogers, to the Minority Business Advisory Council. Serves at the will of the Governor. Replaces Ivan Hudson.

Lauren Marquette, Fayetteville, to the Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2019. Reappointment.

Dr. James Golden, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training. Appointment expires January 14, 2024. Reappointment.

Sheriff Keith Slape, Compton, to the Criminal Justice Institute Advisory Board for Law Enforcement Management Training and Education. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Reappointment.

Chief Russell White, Alma, to the Criminal Justice Institute Advisory Board for Law Enforcement Management Training and Education. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Reappointment.

Gregory Shapiro, White Hall, to the Criminal Justice Institute Advisory Board for Law Enforcement Management Training and Education. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Replaces Dr. Paul B. Beran.

Sergeant Zachary White, Texarkana, to the Criminal Justice Institute Advisory Board for Law Enforcement Management Training and Education. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Replaces Lieutenant Doug Avery.

Robert Thorne, Marion, to the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion Commission. Serves at the pleasure of the Governor. Replaces Woody Freeman.

Ezell Breedlove, Little Rock, to the Arkansas State Independent Living Council. Appointment expires February 1, 2020. Reappointment.

Thomas Connell, Hope, to the Arkansas State Independent Living Council. Appointment expires February 1, 2020. Replaces Jacqueline Bettis.

Dewey Graves, Jonesboro, to the Arkansas State Independent Living Council. Appointment expires February 1, 2020.

Worthie Springer, III, Little Rock, to the Arkansas State Independent Living Council. Appointment expires February 1, 2020. Replaces Forrest Michael Long.

Charles Johnson, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board. Appointment expires January 15, 2020. Replaces William McIntosh.

James Murphy, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board. Appointment expires January 15, 2020. Replaces Thad Eckolls.

James Gibson, Fayetteville, to the Arkansas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board. Appointment expires January 15, 2020. Replaces Kay Lawrence.

Randy Minton, Ward, to the Arkansas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board. Appointment expires January 15, 2020. Replaces Andrew Vance.

Shannon Mueller, Springdale, to the Arkansas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board. Appointment expires January 15, 2020. Reappointment.

Bobby Neal, Jonesboro, to the Arkansas Home Inspector Registration Board. Appointment expires January 26, 2019. Reappointment.

Bob Downum, Springdale, to the Arkansas Home Inspector Registration Board. Appointment expires January 26, 2019. Reappointment.

Tom Allen, Jr., Beebe, to the Arkansas Home Inspector Registration Board. Appointment expires January 26, 2019. Replaces Anthony Utsey.

Phillip Lea, Russellville, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, Judicial District #5. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Reappointment.

James Davis, Ozark, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, Judicial District #5. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Replaces Paul Turner.

Yulonda Sims, Buckner, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, Judicial District #8 South. Appointment expires January 14, 2021.

Mayor Jon Mark Simpson, Clarksville, to the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2023. Replaces John Pope.

David Burns, Star City, as a Justice of the Peace for the Lincoln County Quorum Court, District #4. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Paul C. Carter.

Thomas Gist, Jr., Marianna, as a Justice of the Peace for the Lee County Quorum Court, District #2. Appointment expires December 31, 2018.

A.J. Kelly, Little Rock, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas. 

CV-16-554 Thomas Jones and Ollye May Robinson Jones v. Kimberly Miller and Gerald Robinson. Replaces Justice Robin F. Wynne, who has disqualified himself from the case. 

Jason Hendren, Rogers, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas. 

CV-16-238 Joshua Kilgore v. Robert Mullenax and Senior Dental Care, LLC. Replaces Justice Robin F. Wynne, who has disqualified himself from the case.

Karen H. McKinney, Little Rock, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas. CV-17-47 Gary Alan Marks and Kristin Schmidt v. Beckie Saville. Replaces Chief Justice John Dan Kemp, who has disqualified himself from the case.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
03.07.2017

Governor Hutchinson Announces Pledger as New Executive Director of AETN

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the selection of Courtney Pledger to serve as the Executive Director of the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN). Pledger will replace former Director Allen Weatherly, who passed away in November of last year. Her start date will be March 20, 2017.

Governor Hutchinson released the following statement:

“First of all, I want to remember former Executive Director Allen Weatherly, who passed away late last year. He served our state with passion for more than 20 years. I also want to thank Tony Brooks for his work as interim director since November and his continued commitment to AETN over the past 16 years.

“Today, I am delighted to announce Courtney Pledger as the next Executive Director of the Arkansas Educational Television Network. Courtney’s extensive experience in television and her executive leadership skills make her the ideal candidate for AETN. Her work to establish the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival as an Oscar-qualifying event demonstrates her outstanding leadership skills. Courtney’s passion for this industry is second to none and I am excited about her vision for this agency.”

Courtney Pledger released the following statement:

“I want to thank Governor Hutchinson for his support of AETN and public television in Arkansas. I am extremely grateful to the AETN Board of Commissioners for the opportunity to lead Arkansas Educational Television Network, here in my home state of Arkansas.

“I will take on this new role with a great deal of excitement about the future of Arkansas’s only statewide public media outlet, as we work to make programs in Arkansas, about Arkansas. As Executive Director, I will work to ensure that AETN continues to serve every inch of our state, rural and metropolitan, our students and educators, and with the help of a growing number of digital platforms, to provide education for all.”

Courtney Pledger has served in numerous roles in the television industry, including as Executive Director of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Executive Producer for DreamWorks Animation and Senior Vice President of Development and Production at Radical Pictures. Pledger worked as a producer and partner at Jigsaw Films, which focused on acquiring and adapting British children’s books to film. She also was a producer on the Golden Globe winning film, A Killing in a Small Town. 

The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival is the oldest all-documentary film festival in North America. During her time as Executive Director of the film festival, Pledger was responsible for the re-emergence of the festival on the national scene. Pledger is a recipient of several prestigious honors and awards, including the Women in Film’s Lillian Gish Producing Award, a Golden Globe and a nomination for a primetime Emmy Award. 

Courtney Pledger's headshot can be found HERE.

To view the photo album of today's press conference, go HERE. To view video of the press conference, go HERE.  

Media outlets are welcome to use photos and video. Please attribute credit to the Governor's Office.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
03.06.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Intent to Grant Executive Clemency

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced his intent to grant 11 pardons and one commutation. An additional 45 clemency requests were denied and five 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:

Cedric T. Albritton (Pine Bluff): Forgery in the Second Degree (C Felony) and Forgery (Probation Revocation) (C Felony). 

This notice is issued based on the dates of conviction (1989 and 1992 – 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.

Donald L. Banks (Pine Bluff): Delivery of a Controlled Substance, five counts (Y Felony) and Possession of a Controlled Substance (C Felony). 

This notice is issued based on the dates of conviction (1993 – Arkansas County 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. The Circuit Judge from Arkansas County has raised objections to the application. 

Earl L. Delaney (Fort Smith): Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon (D Felony). 

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1996 – 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. 

Geneva Hopkins (Ward): Forgery Second Degree (C Felony). 

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2000 – Lonoke 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. 

Alfred Lee Pete Jiles (Tuckerman): Theft of Property (C Felony) and Theft of Property (A Misdemeanor). 

This notice is issued based on the dates of conviction (2004 – Jackson County and 2006 –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. 

Brittany Mayo (Pine Bluff): Disorderly Conduct (A Misdemeanor) and Resisting Arrest (A Misdemeanor). 

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2009 – 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. 

Kristopher P. McDaniel (White Hall): Manslaughter (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1999 – Grant 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 application. 

Lee Morine (Texarkana): Manufacture, Delivery or Possession of a Controlled Substance, Cocaine (C Felony). 

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1990 – 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 Circuit Judge and Prosecuting Attorney have raised objections to the application. 

Kenneth Boyd Proctor (Wynne): Arson, two counts (B Felony) and Theft of Property (D Felony). 

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1989 – Cross 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. 

Jason Sebo (Maumelle): Possession of Methamphetamine (C Felony). 

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2004 – 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. 

Lacey Zimmerman Unruh (Bentonville): Controlled Substance/Criminal Penalties (B Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2003 – 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. 

Governor Hutchinson intends to grant commutation to the following person:

William Scheel (ADC #650919): Manufacture of Methamphetamine, five counts (Y Felony) and Possession with Intent to Deliver Methamphetamine (Y Felony). 

The governor has given notice of his intent to commute the sentence of William Scheel, who was convicted in Saline County in 2003 for the above offenses, from a total of 480 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 501.682.3642)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
03.06.2017

Governor Hutchinson to Seek Changes to Arkansas Works Waiver, Legislation Needed

LITTLE ROCK – At a news conference Monday afternoon, Governor Asa Hutchinson outlined four broad changes he is seeking to make to the Arkansas Works program. The reforms would be the first initiated under the Trump Administration, and they include: capping eligibility at 100 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL); establishing a work requirement; strengthening employer-sponsored insurance; and making Arkansas an “assessment state.” The Governor has directed the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) to take the necessary steps to submit requests to the federal government to amend the Arkansas Works Medicaid waiver. Additional details are below.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“Today I have directed my Department of Human Services to file waiver amendment requests with the Trump Administration that will continue the reform efforts we started last year with Arkansas Works. The amendments will focus on meaningful work requirements, emphasizing employer-based insurance, and reducing the numbers in Arkansas Works to create a stronger and more sustainable program. 

“I have spoken with Secretary Price and the Trump Administration about our plans to file these waiver amendments, and they’ve conveyed to me that the requests are consistent with the overall objectives of reform efforts in Washington.”

The requested waiver amendments include:

  • Capping the financial eligibility of the Arkansas Works program at 100 percent of the FPL. Currently, the financial eligibility limit is 138 percent of the FPL. An estimated 20 percent of the Arkansas Works population is above 100 percent. Once this change is made, individuals in this income bracket would be eligible for federal subsidies through the federal marketplace and could pick their same plan or choose a different one that better suits their needs. Their coverage would still be subsidized as it is today, but only with federal dollars, rather than a combination of federal and state funding. 
     
  • Adding a work requirement for non-disabled adults that aligns with other public assistance programs, such as SNAP. The work requirement—along with employment and training services through the Department of Workforce Services—will be designed to encourage movement up the economic ladder for enrollees through education, training and ultimately better jobs. This raises the level of expectation for non-disabled adults on Medicaid and enables the state to encourage these individuals to use the program as s temporary safety net, rather than a permanent solution.
     
  • Replacing the current Employer-Sponsored Insurance component with a new, more targeted program that focuses only on individuals who are a) working for small employers and b) earning at least 75% FPL.
     
    • The employee will receive the same benefits as their coworkers, with no Medicaid wraparound benefits.
       
    • The state will provide funding to cover premium costs up to the amount the state would have paid for an individual enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan through Arkansas Works. This will cover the entire employee share of the premium and also offset some of the employer portion.
       
    • This program will incentivize employers to offer insurance, which will enhance the stability and productivity of their workforce, and it will incentivize employees to work more hours by eliminating the fear of losing coverage due to an increase in income.
       
  • Moving from a “determination state” to an “assessment state,” which would return control of the eligibility process to the state. Current state law designates Arkansas as a “determination state,” and that allows the federal government to determine eligibility for Arkansas Works and Medicaid enrollees who apply through the federal marketplace. Now that DHS has cleared its backlog of overdue Medicaid casework and the functionality of its eligibility system has improved, there is no longer a need to allow the federal government to make those determinations.

DHS Director Cindy Gillespie said Monday that the agency will immediately begin work on drafting the waiver amendments, and will seek input from providers, insurance carriers, legislators and other stakeholders. The goal is to have the draft amendments complete and out for public comment by April 15 and to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) by June 1 for review.

“We want this to be a very transparent process, and we truly do want input so that we can create something tailored to the needs of Arkansas,” Gillespie said. 

Once the waiver amendments are approved, DHS would promulgate necessary rules between August and November, and the new program requirements would go into effect Jan. 1, 2018.

To view Requested Waiver Amendments, go HERE.

To view the photo album of today's press conference, go HERE. To view video of the press conference, go HERE.  

Media outlets are welcome to use photos and video. Please attribute credit to the Governor's Office.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
03.03.2017

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

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

Monday, March 6, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas School Breakfast Month Press Conference
9:30 AM
Governor’s Conference Room
500 Woodlane St.
Little Rock, Ark.

SHERWOOD
Sherwood Chamber of Commerce Installation and 
Community Awards Banquet
6:45 PM
Sherwood Forest
1111 W. Maryland Ave.
Sherwood, Ark.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
News Conference
10:00 AM
Governor’s Conference Room
500 Woodlane St. 
Little Rock, Ark. 

Friday, March 10, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Political Animals Club
 11:30 AM
Pleasant Valley Country Club
1 Pleasant Valley Dr.
Little Rock, Ark.

Saturday, March 11, 2017:

ROGERS
American Diabetes Association Kiss A Pig Gala
6:00 PM
John Q Hammons Center
3201 Pinnacle Hills Parkway
Rogers, Ark.

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
03.02.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Signs ArFuture Grant into Law

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today signed the “Arkansas Future Grant” (ArFuture) into law, which provides up to two years of tuition and fees at a publicly funded Arkansas community or technical college to any student who enrolls in a high-demand field of study or STEM field, such as computer science or welding. This state-funded grant does not require new general revenue funds and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis to traditional, home school and non-traditional students in Arkansas. 

To view the photo album of today's bill signing, go HERE. To view video of the signing, go HERE.

Media outlets are welcome to use photos and video. Please attribute credit to the Governor's Office.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“The ArFuture Grant is changing the culture of post-secondary education in Arkansas by increasing accessibility and removing the financial hurdles that can keep students from taking the next step in their education. ArFuture makes higher education more affordable and attainable for Arkansas students at no additional cost to taxpayers. This bill will help us meet the needs of our state’s rapidly growing workforce, while also indicating to employers that Arkansas is committed to fostering an environment that supports economic growth and creates high-quality jobs. I am pleased to sign ArFuture into law today.”

Under this grant, key reforms will be implemented to ensure student accountability and success. All grant recipients are required to participate in a mentor program and a community service program. Additionally, upon graduation, the student must work full-time in Arkansas for a minimum of three years. If a student does not complete his or her commitment, the grant will be converted to a loan for repayment to the State of Arkansas. The ArFuture grant will be available for the 2017-2018 school year.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
03.01.2017

Governor Hutchinson to Detail MLK-Lee Bill Wednesday

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson will hold a news conference Wednesday to discuss recently filed legislation regarding history in the classroom and the dual holiday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert E. Lee Day.

Details are as follows:

WHAT:
Announcement on Separation of MLK and Robert E. Lee Holidays 

WHEN:
2:00 pm, Wednesday, March 1, 2017

WHERE:
Governor’s Conference Room
Arkansas State Capitol
Little Rock, AR

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02.27.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule:  February 27th – March 4th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, February 27, 2017, through Saturday, March 4, 2017: 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas Food Hall of Fame
6:15 PM
Ron Robinson Theater
100 River Market Ave.
Little Rock, AR

Wednesday, March 1, 2017:

OSCEOLA
The Grand Opening of Big River Steel
11:00 AM
2027 State Hwy 198
Osceola, AR

LITTLE ROCK
Announcement on Separation of MLK and
Robert E. Lee Holidays 
2:00 PM
Governor’s Conference Room
500 Woodlane St.
Little Rock, AR

Thursday, March 2, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
ArFuture Bill Signing Press Conference 
11:00 AM
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 501.682.3612)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02.24.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Schedule: February 24th – February 27th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Friday, February 24, 2017, through Monday, February 27, 2017: 

Friday, February 24, 2017:

WASHINGTON, D.C.
POLITICO State Solutions Conference - Q&A Session
1:30 PM CST 
Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center
901 K St. NW, 11th Floor
Washington, D.C. 
Available via live stream at www.politico.com/live
Use #POLGovs to follow the conversation via Twitter

Saturday, February 25, 2017:

WASHINGTON, D.C.
NGA Opening Session 
9:00 AM CST (Sessions to last all day)
Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C.
NGA Plenary Session - Meet the Threat: States Confront the Cyber-Challenge
Governor will Co-Chair the Panel
3:15 PM CST
Open to Public

Sunday, February 26, 2017:

WASHINGTON, D.C.
An Evening with the President and First Lady
5:00 PM CST
Closed to Press

Monday, February 27, 2017:

WASHINGTON, D.C.
Governors-Only Meeting with President Trump
Time TBA
Closed to Press

WASHINGTON, D.C.
NGA Closing Media Briefing
Kennedy Caucus Room 
Russell Senate Office Building
2 Constitution Ave. NE
Washington, D.C.
11:00 AM CST
Open to Public

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
02.23.2017

Governor Hutchinson to Host and Chair Governor’s Joint Energy Summit in Washington, D.C. Thursday an

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson, as Chairman of both the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB) and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), will chair the first Governor’s Joint Energy Summit in Washington, D.C. The two-day summit will play host to energy leaders from across the country and the world focusing on topics such as energy security and infrastructure planning and developing.

Governor Hutchinson is scheduled to deliver opening remarks at 12:00 pm CT. Those remarks will be live-streamed on his Facebook page.

Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“Energy is a critical part of our state and national economy. In order to sustain our nation’s energy security and remain competitive abroad, it is paramount that our energy sector continues its development and utilization of diverse energy resources.

“As Chairman of the IOGCC and SSEB, I look forward to discussing innovative energy solutions and bringing together the ideas of national and international thought leaders of the industry. Together, we can strengthen our nation’s diverse energy portfolio and seek productive, fair energy regulations in the modern marketplace.”

For additional updates throughout the two-day conference, follow Governor Hutchinson on Facebook and Twitter, @AsaHutchinson.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02.22.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Signs Efficiencies Bills into Law

War Memorial Stadium Commission to Move Under Parks and Tourism

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today signed into law his legislative package on government efficiencies. This legislation aligns the missions of the War Memorial Stadium (WMS) Commission, the Arkansas Energy Office (AEO), and the Office of Health Information Technology (OHIT) with their respective parent agencies. Additional details on each merger are below.

Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“These realignment and cost-savings efforts continue my focus on making state government more efficient for the citizens of our state. We’ve already seen significant benefits and savings from the agency consolidations of 2015, and I am confident we will achieve even greater savings as we continue to streamline services and responsibly utilize taxpayer dollars.

“As our state takes part in the development and usage of new technologies within government, we need to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of agency operations and services. As governor, I will continue working to ensure that we are consistently seeking out better, more efficient ways of serving the people of Arkansas through innovation and common-sense approaches.” 

Kane Webb, Director of Arkansas Parks and Tourism, issued the following statement regarding the War Memorial Stadium Commission’s move to Parks and Tourism:

“War Memorial Stadium is an Arkansas cultural treasure. First and foremost, it is a monument and memorial to our veterans—indeed, the largest war memorial in the state. Secondly, it holds unforgettable memories for Arkansans of all ages, whether it’s from watching college football games or high school championships or attending a concert. Magic happens in War Memorial. We at ADPT are excited about the challenge and privilege of being a part of the stadium’s future, and we can't wait to get to work.”

Becky Keogh, Director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, issued the following statement on the Arkansas Energy Office’s move to ADEQ:

“ADEQ is excited to be a part of Governor Hutchinson’s focus on identifying efficiency opportunities and effective energy policies for Arkansas. The synergy created by aligning AEO with ADEQ will be beneficial for environmental and energy-valued projects. We look forward to AEO joining us and continuing our advancement of value added services to Arkansas businesses and citizens.”

Dr. Nate Smith, Director of the Arkansas Department of Health, issued the following statement regarding the Office of Health Information Technology’s move to ADH: 

“The Arkansas Department of Health supports this transition of the Office of Health Information Technology. ADH manages other state health care information systems through programs like the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, Immunization Registry, and Cancer Registry. This move will further ensure continuity across programs and that health care providers and public health professionals can access and exchange real-time patient information in accordance with all state and federal privacy and security rules.”

Additional Details: 

The bill includes transferring the WMS Commission to the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism (ADPT), transferring the Arkansas Energy Office from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), and merging the OHIT into the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). 

WMS Commission to ADPT: 

Transferring the WMS Commission to ADPT will help secure the viability and sustainability of the stadium. Under ADPT, War Memorial will have greater access to resources and marketing opportunities that will support the cultural and economic importance of WMS in Little Rock. This move will also provide funding for a nationally recognized stadium consultant study to evaluate War Memorial and make recommendations for the future. 

AEO to ADEQ: 

Transferring AEO from AEDC to ADEQ will better align state agencies managing the Volkswagen settlement funds ($13.7 million), which will go toward improving the air quality, alternative fuel, and energy infrastructure in Arkansas. The move will also create better synergy between our state’s energy and environmental offices, allowing both departments to increase responsiveness and implementation of existing energy efficiency programs.

OHIT to ADH:

Moving OHIT, which had previously been a stand-alone agency, to ADH will provide OHIT with greater administrative and operational support for the sharing of resources at lower costs to taxpayers. OHIT is currently responsible for the State Health Alliance for Records Exchange program, which requires extensive knowledge of public health information and billing that will be a natural fit with the expertise of ADH leadership and staff. 

To view the photo album of today's bill signing, go HERE. To view video of the signing, go HERE.  

Media outlets are welcome to use photos and video. Please attribute credit to the Governor's Office.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02.21.2017

Gov. Hutchinson to Sign Efficiency Bills Into Law at War Memorial Stadium

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson will sign three pieces of legislation into law at War Memorial Stadium Wednesday. These bills will move the War Memorial Stadium Commission under the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, the Arkansas Energy Office under the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Office of Health Information Technology under the Arkansas Department of Health. 

Details are as follows:

WHAT:
Gov. Hutchinson to Sign Efficiency Bills Into Law at War Memorial Stadium

WHEN:
12:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 22, 2017

WHERE:
War Memorial Stadium (on the field)
1 Stadium Drive
Little Rock, AR

Parking will be available on the west side of the stadium. Enter through the Home Team Gate, which will open at 11:30 a.m.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02.20.2017

Governor Hutchinson Announces Creation of Transformation Advisory Board

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the creation of the Transformation Advisory Board, another step toward transforming state government by identifying efficiencies and cost-savings to better serve the Arkansas taxpayer. 

The Transformation Advisory Board will continue to examine the recommendations for potential efficiencies and cost-savings from a report by the Arkansas Policy Foundation released last year. In addition, the advisory board will also be charged with evaluating additional efficiencies within state government and prioritizing the state’s plan of action for transformation.

The advisory board is a volunteer group of citizens from both the public and private sectors, who will make policy recommendations to the state’s Chief Transformation Officer, Amy Fecher. No taxpayer money will be spent on the board. A full list of the advisory board members can be found HERE

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“I am pleased to announce the creation of the Transformation Advisory Board. This advisory board will continue my administration’s efforts in identifying potential efficiencies and cost-savings. Transformation is a key priority of mine, as Governor, and I will continue to maintain that focus as we look for better ways to run state government, reduce bureaucracy and increase the level of savings to the state and taxpayer.”

Greg Kaza, Director of the Arkansas Policy Foundation, issued the following statement:

“Citizen involvement is crucial to increasing efficiency in Arkansas state government.  Today's announcement is consistent with the Efficiency Project's recommendation that citizens should work with the executive branch to advance efficiencies.” 

Since January of 2015, Governor Hutchinson has, among other initiatives, instituted a state-wide hiring freeze, resulting in more than 1,100 fewer state employees; merged four state agencies saving the taxpayer $10 million over the next five years; facilitated the sale of the Department of Health’s In-Home Services Unit to the publicly traded Kindred Healthcare, netting the state $24 million; and instituted an across the board 1% cut to state agencies, saving another $7 million annually. 

In addition, Governor Hutchinson plans to sign three more efficiency bills on Wednesday, including: moving War Memorial Stadium to the Department of Parks and Tourism; moving the Arkansas Energy Office to the Department of Environmental Quality; and moving the Office of Health Information Technology to the Department of Health.  

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02.17.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: February 20th – February 25th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, February 20, 2017, through Saturday, February 25, 2017: 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Hoops for Kids Sake Legislative Basketball Game
7:00 PM
Jack Stephens Center at UALR
2801 South University
Little Rock, AR

Wednesday, February 22, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Public Bill Signing for Efficiency Bills
12:00 PM
War Memorial Stadium
Little Rock, AR
More Details to Come

Friday, February 24, 2017:

WASHINGTON, D.C.
POLITICO's Seventh Annual State Solutions Conference
1:30 PM 
Washington, D.C.
More Details to Come

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
02.16.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Signs Maternity Leave Bill into Law

LITTLE ROCK – Gov. Asa Hutchinson today signed into law a bill to provide paid maternity leave to state workers. SB 125 was introduced by Senator Missy Irvin and Representative DeAnn Vaught. The bill provides for four weeks of paid maternity leave for state agency employees. 

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement: 

“I am pleased that the maternity leave bill passed through the legislature with bipartisan support. Mothers make up a significant portion of our state’s workforce and this bill will ensure that we retain their vital contributions, while also allowing them to take care of their new additions. A fair maternity leave policy is crucial to a state’s ability to retain valuable employees and I am pleased that this is now the law of the state.” 

Senator Irvin issued the following statement: 

“This is a monumental day for women, families and children in Arkansas. In passing Senate Bill 125 we are leading the nation on this important pro-family and pro-woman issue. Senate Bill 125 provides for paid maternity leave for our state employees for births and adoptions by utilizing hours donated by fellow employees without costing taxpayers a dime. It is by far, one of the smartest and most efficient laws we have passed.” 

Representative Vaught issued the following statement: 

“I love that we have finally found a way to help soon-to-be parents that work for state agencies here in Arkansas at no additional cost to taxpayers. Today is a great day for working mothers in our state. As a mother, I am honored to be able to carry legislation that will help our dedicated state employees as they become parents.”

Employees may now take up to four weeks of paid maternity leave within the first 12 weeks after the birth or adoption of a child. The program requires the employee to have been employed by the state for more than one year. The law does not require employees to exhaust sick or annual leave prior to being awarded catastrophic leave for maternity purposes. 

Under the new law, all agency catastrophic leave banks will be eliminated and replaced with a single leave bank for all agencies that will be administered by the Office of Personnel Management. 

It is important to note that the state’s maternity leave program will operate with no additional cost to taxpayers because the hours donated to the catastrophic leave bank are already accounted for as an unfunded liability in the state budget. 

To view the photo album of today's bill signing, go HERE. To view video of the signing, go HERE.  

Media outlets are welcome to use photos and video. Please attribute credit to the Governor's Office.

 

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02.14.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Appointments

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

Ann Hudson, Forrest City, to the Board of Trustees of East Arkansas Community College. Appointment expires December 31, 2022. Reappointment.

Willie Smith, Forrest City, to the Board of Trustees of East Arkansas Community College. Appointment expires December 31, 2022. Reappointment.

Rausch Hodges, Forrest City, to the Board of Trustees of East Arkansas Community College. Appointment expires December 31, 2022. Replaces Frederick McCollum.

Al Miller, Forrest City, to the Board of Trustees of East Arkansas Community College. Appointment expires December 31, 2020. Replaces Steve Hollowell.

Gary Griffis, El Dorado, to the Board of Trustees of South Arkansas Community College. Appointment expires December 31, 2022. Reappointment.

Melissa Jerry, El Dorado, to the Board of Trustees of South Arkansas Community College. Appointment expires December 31, 2022. Replaces James Stephen Cameron.

Kerri Brown, El Dorado, to the Board of Trustees of South Arkansas Community College. Appointment expires December 31, 2022. Replaces David Ross.

Tom Denniston, Scott, to the Arkansas Economic Development Council. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Replaces Mary Beth Brooks.

Gary Sewell, El Dorado, to the Arkansas Economic Development Council. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Replaces Jack McNulty.

Tracey Rancifer, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Economic Development Council. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Replaces Steve Ronnel.

Richard Barrows, Springdale, to the Arkansas Economic Development Council. Appointment expires January 14, 2019. Replaces Philip Taldo.

Carl Miller, Jr., Little Rock, to the State Review Committee for Historic Preservation. Appointment expires June 30, 2020. Reappointment.

Rachel Golden, Little Rock, to the State Review Committee for Historic Preservation. Appointment expires June 30, 2020. Replaces Donna Jones.

Doug Akin, Little Rock, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Cycling. Serves at the will of the Governor.

Jeffery Moore, Sherwood, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Cycling. Serves at the will of the Governor.

Butch Rice, Beebe, to the Arkansas Racing Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2022. Replaces Jimmie McKissack.

Damon Jackson, Garfield, to the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Reappointment.

William Remy, Booneville, to the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Replaces Pete Strozier.

Roy Reaves, Russellville, to the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2024. Replaces Michael Carter.

Robert Howell, Searcy, to the Advisory Committee on Petroleum Storage Tanks. Appointment expires December 31, 2020. Replaces David Zakrzewski.

Jeffery Rutledge, Newport, to the Arkansas Waterways Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2024. Replaces Gay Lacy.

David Lumbert, Maumelle, to the Arkansas Geological Survey. Appointment expires January 14, 2024. Reappointment.

Alice Eastwood, Bentonville, to the Arkansas Ethics Commission. Appointment expires December 31, 2021. Replaces Robert E. McCormack.

Robert Ellerd, Malvern, as a Justice of the Peace for the Hot Spring County Quorum Court, District 3. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Wade Overturf.

Gary Wofford, Jr., Delight, as a Justice of the Peace for the Pike County Quorum Court, District 4. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Ed Jones.

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

Barney Hayes, Rogers, as a Justice of the Peace for the Benton County Quorum Court, District 3. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Mary Jane Comstock.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02.10.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: February 13th – February 18th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, February 13, 2017, through Saturday, February 18, 2017: 

Monday, February 13, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
AdvancED Arkansas, Arkansas STEM Coalition, and the 
Arkansas Out of School Network STEM Summit– Speaking
8:45 AM
DoubleTree Little Rock
424 W Markham St.
Little Rock, AR

Thursday, February 16, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
"A Tribute to 4-H in Arkansas” – Speaking
10:30 AM
Arkansas State Capitol – Second Floor Rotunda
500 Woodlane St.
Little Rock, AR

Friday, February 17, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas High School Slogan-Logo Drug Abuse Prevention 
Campaign Development Awards Ceremony 
10:30 AM
Governor’s Conference Room
500 Woodlane Street
Little Rock, AR

Please be aware of additional bill signing events that may be announced separately throughout the week. 

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02.10.2017

Gov. Hutchinson’s Statement on Amazon’s Decision to Collect Sales Tax in Arkansas Starting in March

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement in response to Amazon’s announcement that the Seattle-based company will begin collecting sales tax in Arkansas beginning in March:

“The announcement from Amazon to start the sales tax collection for Arkansas in March is laudable and good news for the state. Arkansas will join the other 38 states in which Amazon is collecting and remitting sales tax.  This step by Amazon has been voluntary and reflects the new landscape in which retailers recognize the practicality and fairness of sales tax being treated equally between online sales and in person store sales. This decision also shifts the responsibility of sales tax payment from the customer to the retailer at the time of checkout—providing further clarity and efficiency to the current and often misunderstood Arkansas law.

“As everyone knows, lowering our state’s income tax rate has been a priority of mine from day one. This strengthened revenue stream will allow us to continue to make progress in cutting the income tax rate, making Arkansas more competitive with our surrounding states, and putting money back into the pockets of hardworking Arkansans.”

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02.08.2017

Photos & Video of Higher Education Productivity Funding Formula Bill Signing

LITTLE ROCK – Digital media related to today’s public bill signing of the Higher Education Productivity Funding Formula can be found at the following links:

Photos

Video

Media outlets are welcome to use photos and video. Please attribute credit to the Governor’s Office.  

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02.08.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Signs Higher Education Productivity Funding Formula into Law

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today signed into law the Higher Education Productivity Funding Formula. The new funding formula will increase accountability by taking into account student success and program completion, whereas the previous formula was largely based on student enrollment.

Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“When I was elected Governor, I made it a goal for my administration to increase the percentage of Arkansans who attain post-secondary degrees from 40% to 60% by 2025. With the legislature’s passing of the new Productivity Funding Formula, we have taken an important step toward achieving that goal.

“This new formula will be based upon student progress rather than student enrollment. This shift in focus will encourage and empower our students to successfully attain their degree, license or certificate in a timely manner. I am thrilled that the legislature has approved this measure and I look forward to continued work with the Department of Higher Education and our state’s colleges and universities to make Arkansas a leader in student success.”

Productivity-based funding is used to align institutional funding with statewide priorities for higher education by encouraging programs and services focused on results. This model encourages accountability to students and policymakers by focusing on the success of students through educational progress and degree attainment.  

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02.07.2017

Gov. Asa Hutchinson to Sign Higher Education Productivity Funding Formula into law Wednesday

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson will sign HB1209 tomorrow in the Governor’s Conference Room. This new Higher Education Productivity Funding Formula for Arkansas’s colleges and universities will be based upon student progress rather than student enrollment.

Details are as follows:

WHAT:
Gov. Hutchinson to Sign Higher Education Productivity Funding Formula

WHEN:
11:15 a.m. | Wednesday, February 8, 2017

WHERE:
Governor’s Conference Room
Arkansas State Capitol
Little Rock, AR 72201

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02.07.2017

Gov. Hutchinson signs Military Retired Pay Tax Cut into Law

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today signed into law a bill to eliminate state income tax on military retirement pay. Hutchinson initially laid out this tax cut as a part of his package for the 2017 legislative session. 

Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“I am pleased that the General Assembly has approved this bill to eliminate state income taxes on military retiree pay. Arkansas currently exempts active duty military pay from state income taxes and beginning in January will also exempt military retirement pay.

“This initiative will make Arkansas a more military friendly retirement destination and will encourage veterans to start their second careers or open a business right here in the Natural State. I am confident that adding these highly skilled and educated veterans to our workforce will spur economic development and benefit all Arkansans."

House Bill 1162 passed through the General Assembly with wide bi-partisan support in both chambers. The law will go into effect in January of 2018. 

To view the photo album of today's bill signing, go HERE. Media outlets are welcome to use photos. Please attribute credit to the Governor's Office.

To view video of the tax cut signing, go HERE.  

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02.06.2017

Gov. Hutchinson to Sign Military Retired Pay Tax Cut Into Law Tuesday

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson will hold a bill signing for HB1162, the Military Retired Pay Tax Cut, tomorrow in the Governor’s Conference Room. This tax cut initiative will serve to recruit new military retirees to the state by eliminating the tax on military retirement pay. 

Details are as follows:

WHAT:
Gov. Hutchinson to Sign Military Retired Pay Tax Cut into Law Tuesday

WHEN:
11:00 a.m. | Tuesday, February 7, 2017

WHERE: 
Governor’s Conference Room
Arkansas State Capitol
Little Rock, AR

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02.03.2017

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

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Women's Primary Suffrage Centennial Day Ceremony – Speaking
12:00 PM
Arkansas State Capitol - Capitol Steps
500 Woodlane St.
Little Rock, AR

Thursday, February 9, 2017:

SPRINGDALE
Don Tyson School of Innovation Dedication Ceremony
8:30 AM
Don Tyson School of Innovation
2667 Hylton Road
Springdale, AR

Friday, February 10, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas Business Hall of Fame
6:30 PM
State House Convention Center - Wally Allen Ballroom
101 E Markham St.
Little Rock, AR

Please be aware of additional bill signing events that may be announced separately throughout the week. 

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02.03.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Intent to Grant Executive Clemency

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced his intent to grant six pardons, one restoration of firearms rights only and one commutation. An additional 42 clemency requests were denied and three 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:

Dawn Shirley Heymach (Ward): Theft of Property (B Felony). 

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 Circuit Judge has raised objections to the application.

Reginald M. Johnson (Leesville, LA): Breaking and Entering, seven counts (D Felonies) and Theft of Property, three counts (B Felonies).  

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1996 – 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.

Harold Jones, Jr. (Little Rock): Theft of Property (C Felony) and Forgery in the 1st Degree (B Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1979 – Chicot 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.

Bradford J. Martin (Batesville): Possession of a Controlled Substance, Methamphetamine (C Felony), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (C Felony) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia with Intent to Use (C Felony). 

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2002 – 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.

David L. Ramsey (Cottonton, AL): Theft of Property (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1978 – 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.

Jeremy Yeager (Van Buren): Burglary, three counts (B Felony), Theft of Property, three counts (C Felony), Theft by Deception (C Felony) and Possession of Methamphetamine (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the dates of conviction (1992 and 1996 – Crawford County, 1994 and 1995 – Sebastian County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. The Crawford County Sheriff and the Sebastian County Prosecutor have raised objections to the application.

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

Carl U. Atkins (Nashville): Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, Marijuana (C Felony). 

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. 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 commutation to the following person:

Jimmy D. Doyle (ADC #131654): Criminal Attempt to Manufacture Methamphetamine (A Felony), Possession of Methamphetamine (C Felony), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, two counts (C Felony), Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Deliver, two counts (Y Felony), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia with Intent to Manufacture Methamphetamine, two counts (B Felony), Criminal Conspiracy to Manufacture Methamphetamine (A Felony), Simultaneous Possession of Drugs/Firearms (Y Felony) and Possession of Ephedrine (D Felony). 

The governor has given notice of his intent to commute the sentence of Jimmy D. Doyle, who was convicted in Randolph County and Lawrence County in 2004 for the above offense, from a total of 960 months to serve in the Arkansas Department of Correction to being immediately parole eligible. The Randolph County Sheriff has raised objections to the application.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02.01.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Signs $50 Million Tax Cut Proposal into Law

LITTLE ROCK – Gov. Asa Hutchinson today signed into law the $50 million tax cut he laid out as a part of his package for the 2017 legislative session.

The tax cut signed into law today represents Governor Hutchinson’s second round of reductions to the state income tax. While Hutchinson’s first tax cut targeted middle income levels, his second round of cuts focuses on the state’s lower income levels by providing tax relief to Arkansans who earn less than $21,000 annually.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement: 

“I appreciate the legislature’s overwhelming bipartisan support for my $50 million tax cut, and I am proud to be able to sign this bill into law today. With today’s actions, we will have provided $150 million in substantive income tax relief to nearly 1.3 million Arkansans in the past year. In fact, 90% of the state’s individual income taxpayers will have benefited from substantive tax relief legislation since I took office in 2015. 

“While I know some were hoping for much larger tax cuts, it is clear that this is the most responsible and conservative reduction that we could make at this time. I look forward to working with the legislature and the task force to identify how we can responsibly lower the burden on Arkansans and make us more competitive with our surrounding states.”

To view the photo album of today's tax cut signing, go HERE. Media outlets are welcome to use photos. Please attribute credit to the Governor's Office. 

To view video of the tax cut signing, go HERE.  

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.31.2017

Gov. Hutchinson’s Statement on President Trump’s Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson released the following statement upon President Donald Trump’s announcement of Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States:

"I am both excited and encouraged to hear that the President has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch is an accomplished conservative with impressive credentials, whose adherence to our constitution is rock steady. I look forward to his confirmation in the coming days."

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.27.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: January 30th – February 4th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, January 30, 2017, through Saturday, February 4, 2017:
 

Monday, January 30, 2017:

EL DORADO
AEDC Announcement
10:00 AM
El Dorado, AR

EL DORADO
AEDC Announcement
11:30 AM
El Dorado, AR


Wednesday, February 1, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail Induction Ceremony
12:00 PM
Ron Robinson Theater
1 Pulaski Way
Little Rock, AR


Thursday, February 2, 2017:

EL DORADO
El Dorado Promise 10th Anniversary Celebration
5:00 PM
El Dorado Conference Center
311 South West Avenue
El Dorado, AR

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.26.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Appointments

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

Lona McCastlain, Austin, to the Parole Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2024. Replaces James Wallace.

Ray Dillon, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Forestry Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2026. Reappointment.

Dee Holcomb, Pine Bluff, to the Arkansas Real Estate Commission.  Appointment expires December 31, 2019.  Replaces Monica Freeland.

Bob Walker, Jacksonville, to the Arkansas Real Estate Commission.  Appointment expires December 31, 2019.  Replaces Lesia Johnson Ford.

Eric Jackson, Hot Springs National Park, to the State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2023. Replaces LeRoy Dangeau.

John Gill, Little Rock, to the State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2023. Reappointment.

David Bazzel, Little Rock, to the State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2023. Replaces Jay Bunyard.

Dr. Steven Cathey, North Little Rock, to the Arkansas State Medical Board. Appointment expires December 31, 2022. Reappointment.

Dr. Sylvia Simon, Monticello, to the Arkansas State Medical Board. Appointment expires December 31, 2022. Replaces Joseph Beck.

John Newcomb, Osceola, to the Board of Trustees of Arkansas Northeastern College.  Appointment expires December 31, 2022.  Reappointment.

Clifton Chitwood, Osceola, to the Board of Trustees of Arkansas Northeastern College.  Appointment expires December 31, 2022.  Reappointment.

Dr. Thomas Westbrook, Blytheville, to the Board of Trustees of Arkansas Northeastern College.  Appointment expires December 31, 2022.  Reappointment.

Dr. John McAllister, Little Rock, to the Board of Trustees of the Arkansas School for the Blind and the Arkansas School for the Deaf.  Appointment expires January 14, 2022.  Replaces Mary Weeks.

David Leech, Stuttgart, to the State Banking Board. Appointment expires December 31, 2021. Replaces Elizabeth Bowles.

Dr. William Hewat, Fayetteville, to the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission. Appointment expires on January 14, 2024. Replaces Monty Henderson.

Mayor Mike Gaskill, Paragould, to the State Aid Street Committee. Appointment expires December 31, 2020. Replaces Mayor Mark Stodola.

Michael Hocutt, Little Rock, to the Contractors Licensing Board. Appointment expires December 31, 2021. Reappointment.

Larry Brewer, Conway, to the Arkansas Fire Protection Services Board. Appointment expires on October 14, 2019. Reappointment.

Dr. Vern Green, Jonesboro, to the Arkansas State Board of Registration for Professional Soil Classifiers. Appointment expires November 1, 2021. Replaces John Harrington.

Dr. John Fleming, Little Rock, to the Department of Human Services State Institutional System Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2018. Replaces Douglas Kidd.

Thomas Wofford, Jr., Jonesboro, to the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics. Appointment expires November 9, 2021. Replaces William Morgan.

James Dawson, Clinton, to the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics. Appointment expires on November 9, 2021. Replaces William McKenzie.

Barry Ball, Blytheville, to the Blytheville-Gosnell Regional Airport Authority. Appointment expires November 1, 2022. Reappointment.

Russell Crowell, Manila, to the Blytheville-Gosnell Regional Airport Authority. Appointment expires November 1, 2022. Replaces Oscar Ford.

Thomas Spillyards, Rogers, to the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Development Finance Authority.  Appointment expires January 14, 2021.  Reappointment.

Gregory Stanfill, Rogers, to the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Development Finance Authority.  Appointment expires January 14, 2021.  Reappointment.

Katelyn Busby, Monticello, to the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Development Finance Authority.  Appointment expires January 14, 2020.  Replaces Sarah Capp.

Stephanie Ellis, Russellville, to the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Development Finance Authority.  Appointment expires January 14, 2021.  Replaces Charley Baxter.

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

Robert Moore, Arkansas City, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Cycling. Serves at the will of the Governor.

Dr. Michelle Smith, North Little Rock, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Cycling. Serves at the will of the Governor.

David Roberts, Maumelle, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Cycling. Serves at the will of the Governor.

Joseph Jacobs, Little Rock, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Cycling. Serves at the will of the Governor.

David Knight, Little Rock, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Cycling. Serves at the will of the Governor.

D. Jim Dailey, Little Rock, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Cycling. Serves at the will of the Governor.

Michael Chaffin, Little Rock, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Cycling. Serves at the will of the Governor.

Dr. Jennifer Conner, Portland, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Cycling. Serves at the will of the Governor.

Paxton Roberts, Fayetteville, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Cycling. Serves at the will of the Governor.

Cherry Stewart, Hope, as a Justice of the Peace for the Hempstead County Quorum Court, District 2. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Billy Rook.

Kandice Bell, White Hall, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas. CV-16-435 Samuel A. Perroni v. David Sachar, Executive Director. Replaces Justice Karen Baker, who has disqualified herself from the case.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.26.2017

Gov. Hutchinson, ADE Launch Reading Initiative

LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Education are excited to announce the R.I.S.E. (Reading Initiative for Student Excellence) Arkansas reading initiative. R.I.S.E. Arkansas will build a culture of reading through stakeholder collaboration and provide additional instructional support to current and future teachers. 

"Reading and literacy skills are vital for success in the classroom and life in general,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “For students looking toward a degree or new career path, high-level literacy skills are essential. For these reasons, I am pleased to support Commissioner Key and the Department of Education's R.I.S.E. Arkansas campaign to increase student success and build a culture of reading throughout Arkansas."

Based on 2015 ACT Aspire results, 48.6 percent of Arkansas' students in grades three through 10 were proficient in English language arts. A total of 39 percent of Arkansas’ graduating seniors met reading readiness benchmarks on The ACT in 2015. Nationally, Arkansas ranks in the lower third of states in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The goal of the campaign is to increase the number of students in grades three through eight who meet the ACT Aspire reading readiness benchmark by 10 percent within three years; rise above the bottom third in state comparisons within five years on the fourth-grade NAEP reading assessment; and increase the number of graduates meeting The ACT reading readiness benchmark by 10 percent within five years.

The R.I.S.E. Arkansas campaign will enhance and expand existing efforts by the Arkansas Department of Education and school districts to support literacy in schools. Many secondary schools across the state have adopted Literacy Design Collaborative practices as an instructional model. High schools also are providing transitional courses for students who need additional support in rigorous course work prior to graduation. Arkansas has adopted new English language arts and literacy standards for grades kindergarten through 12 and continues to provide support and additional resources for educators.

The state recognizes the need to do more in the area of literacy to accomplish these goals. R.I.S.E. Arkansas emphasizes the importance of building a culture of reading, educating parents about the importance of reading, and increasing access to books at home. In addition, the campaign will focus on increasing the depth of knowledge for teachers in the science of reading and expanding their understanding of phonics and phonological awareness, as well as how that knowledge impacts fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and writing. The science of reading, going beyond the five components outlined in the National Reading Panel Report 2010, provides educators with the scientific research and knowledge of how a student actually learns to read.

“I was blessed to be raised in a home where reading was emphasized and encouraged, and to this day I love to read,” ADE Commissioner Johnny Key said. “Reading opens doors to knowledge and enjoyment. Reading opens doors to our past, helps us understand our present and guides us to our future. Reading opens doors to a richer life. Through this initiative, we are committed to helping every student obtain the reading skills necessary to achieve success in school, but beyond that, giving them the opportunity to realize that richer life. Through placing the highest priority on reading instruction, teacher development and strengthening our partnerships, we will build a strong culture of reading in Arkansas and transform the state to lead the nation in student-focused education.”

Reading Conference

In addition to partnering with other stakeholders to promote a culture of reading, ADE is hosting its 2nd Annual Reading Conference: A Focus on Dyslexia and the Science of Reading in Hot Springs. The free conference for educators will be held March 6-7 at the Hot Springs Convention Center. Districts are encouraged to send a team of educators. To learn more, visit http://www.arkansased.gov/events/498/2017-ade-reading-conference-for-arkansas-schools.

R.I.S.E. Academy

Teachers in the primary grades must have an in-depth understanding of phonics and phonemic awareness to support beginning readers. Intermediate level teachers also need this knowledge to provide support to struggling readers and help independent readers decode multi-syllabic words and have a basis for understanding the English language. Reading professional development has focused on a general scope of basic reading skills; however, a strong foundation in phonics is necessary to move students forward in their reading. Students will rely on these foundational phonics skills, especially in the intermediate grades, to read fluently and comprehend complex text.

This summer ADE will launch the R.I.S.E. Academy to support kindergarten through second-grade teachers for the 2017-18 school year. Education service cooperatives and several school districts will host the academies. ADE is currently providing training to more than 80 literacy specialists to assist with the academies this summer. Forty of these specialists will become lead trainers who will facilitate the academies and provide support for approximately 1,000 educators who teach grades kindergarten through second for the 2017-18 school year. ADE specialists, higher education representatives, and state and district literacy specialists will provide regional support networks for each cohort group.

This year-long blended learning professional development will provide educators with in-depth information related to the science of reading, evidence-based instructional strategies and how to make data-based decisions for students. Participants will receive coaching and opportunities for collaboration with other educators. 

The R.I.S.E. Academy will expand to train educators in grades three through 12 in 2018-19. The academy also will include an administrator training. The administrator training will focus on reading supports and resources necessary to implement an effective reading program within the school, building foundational knowledge related to the science of reading and instructional components that should be evident during classroom observations. 

Continued Collaboration

ADE will continue to collaborate with community, business and education partners, including higher education, to improve instruction for future teachers to promote a deeper understanding of the science of reading. ADE also will collaborate with the DHS Early Childhood Division to promote the importance of early literacy instruction for students in preschool before entering kindergarten. 

Literacy is not only for those in education but also for all Arkansans. Business and community partnerships are critical to promoting the culture of reading within the state and providing access to books in the home. 

School districts are encouraged to begin planning local reading campaigns. Additional materials and resources will be provided this spring to school districts so they can launch their own campaign or build upon an existing reading campaign this fall.

For more information about R.I.S.E. Arkansas, visit www.arkansased.gov and #RISEArkansas. 

Click HERE to view R.I.S.E. Arkansas Fact Sheet.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612), Kimberly Friedman (kimberly.friedman@arkansas.gov or (501) 683-4788)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.25.2017

Gov. Hutchinson to Hold News Conference to Announce R.I.S.E. Arkansas Initiative

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson, along with Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key, will announce the R.I.S.E. (Reading Initiative for Student Excellence) Arkansas initiative tomorrow. R.I.S.E. Arkansas will focus on building a culture of reading through stakeholder collaboration and provide additional instructional support to current and future teachers. The announcement will be attended by second-grade students from MLK Magnet Elementary School who will each receive a book provided by the Dept. of Education. 

Details are as follows:

WHAT:             Gov. Hutchinson, Dept. of Education to Announce Reading Initiative 

WHEN:            11:30 a.m. | Thursday, January 26, 2017

WHERE:          Governor’s Conference Room
                         Arkansas State Capitol
                         Little Rock, AR 72201

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.20.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: January 22nd – January 28th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Sunday, January 22, 2017, through Saturday, January 28, 2017: 

Sunday, January 22, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
39th Annual March for Life
2:00 PM
Arkansas State Capitol – Capitol Steps
500 Woodlane Street
Little Rock, AR

Thursday, January 26, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Reading Initiative Press Conference 
11:30 AM
Arkansas State Capitol - Governor's Conference Room
500 Woodlane Street
Little Rock, AR

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.18.2017

National Guard to Provide Fire Protection at Arkansas National Guard’s 188th Wing in Fort Smith

Governor Hutchinson Applauds National Guard Announcement to Provide Crucial Fire Protection at Arkansas National Guard’s 188th Wing in Fort Smith

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today applauded the decision of Lieutenant General L. Scott Rice, Director of the Air National Guard, to base 15 firefighters at the Ebbing, ANG base in Fort Smith to provide 24-hour structural fire protection for Ebbing facilities.  Championed by Senator John Boozman and Congressman Steve Womack since the 188th lost fire protection capabilities after the Wing's primary mission changed from A-10s to remotely piloted aircraft in fall 2014, the decision will reinstate adequate fire protection capabilities at the 188th.  Firefighters will begin working at Ebbing, ANG base as soon as they can be hired and properly trained. 

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“I am delighted by Lieutenant General Rice’s decision to provide 15 firefighters to support Arkansas’s 188th Fighter Wing. This is great news for Fort Smith, and I applaud the diligence and leadership exhibited by Senator Boozman, Congressman Womack and Adjutant General Berry in working to resolve this critical issue. There’s no doubt this resolution will greatly improve the safety and emergency preparedness at the 188th.”

Senator Boozman issued the following statement:

“I am very appreciative to the U.S. Air Force Secretary Deborah James, Chief of Staff General David Goldfein, Director of the Air National Guard Lieutenant General Rice and Arkansas National Guard Adjutant General Mark Berry for their persistence in helping the Arkansas delegation resolve this issue. The delegation, along with local and state officials, have been working for a long time to find a solution to this issue. Following countless meetings and discussions, I am pleased that we have now identified a path forward which preserves the 188th Wing’s long-admired presence in the Fort Smith community and addresses the concerns of the Fort Smith Regional Airport—both of which are vital to the community and our nation.”

Congressman Womack issued the following statement: 

“I’m grateful to Lieutenant General Rice for his hard work to preserve the capabilities at the 188th Fighter Wing.  The men and women of the 188th are performing some of the most important missions fighting terror around the globe, and this is not only a huge victory for them, but for City of Fort Smith and the entire state.  As a member of the Defense Subcommittee on Appropriations, I’m honored to have a seat at the table when important decisions about the future of our military are made and am very appreciative to the rest of our delegation, specifically Senator Boozman, for their support of this solution.”

CONTACT: Governor Hutchinson’s Office: press@governor.arkansas.gov, 501.682.3612 | Senator Boozman’s Office: patrick_creamer@boozman.senate.gov, 202.701.6433 | Congressman Womack’s Office: claire.burghoff@mail.house.gov, 202.225.4301

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.18.2017

Gov. Hutchinson to Make Job Creation Announcement at SHOT Show

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson will join company leaders for a job creation announcement at the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) in Las Vegas.

Details are as follows:

WHAT:           Gov. Hutchinson to make job creation announcement at SHOT Show

WHEN:          12:00 p.m. (CST) | Wednesday, January 18, 2017

WHERE:       Booth #11053
                      SHOT Show
                      Sands Expo Center
                      201 Sands Avenue
                      Las Vegas, NV

To watch this announcement via a Facebook live feed, visit Governor Hutchinson’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/asaforarkansas/) at noon on Wednesday, January 18.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.13.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: January 15th – January 21st

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

Monday, January 16, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
King Holiday Interfaith Prayer Breakfast
7:00 AM
Saint Mark Baptist Church - Family Life Center
5722 W. 12th Street
Little Rock, AR

Wednesday, January 18, 2017:

LAS VEGAS, NV
Jobs Announcement
12:00 PM (CST)
SHOT Show
Las Vegas, NV

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.13.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Appointments

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

Stephen Edwards, Marianna, to the Arkansas State Police Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2024. Replaces Frank Guinn, Jr., Paragould.

Therral Story, Magnolia, to the Board of Trustees of Southern Arkansas University. Appointment expires January 14, 2022. Reappointment.

Price Gardner, Roland, to the Board of Trustees of Arkansas State University. Appointment expires January 14, 2022. Replaces Howard Slinkard, Rogers.

Eric Burnett, Fort Smith, to the Board of Trustees of Arkansas Tech University. Appointment expires January 14, 2022. Replaces John Ed Chambers, Danville.

Rev. Everette Cornell “E.C.” Maltbia, Conway, to the Board of Trustees of the University of Central Arkansas. Appointment expires January 14, 2024. Replaces Victor Green, Conway.

Ross Whipple, Arkadelphia, to the Board of Trustees of Henderson State University. Appointment expires January 14, 2024. Reappointment.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.10.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Addresses the 91st General Assembly

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today delivered his State of the State address to the 91st General Assembly in the House Chambers at the Arkansas State Capitol.

You can view the video of the Governor’s address HERE and the full transcript of his speech HERE. Photos from today can be downloaded HERE. Please attribute all photos the Governor’s Office.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.09.2017

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

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

Tuesday, January 10, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Governor Hutchinson Addresses the 91st General Assembly
10:30 AM
Arkansas State Capitol – House Chamber
500 Woodlane St.
Little Rock, AR

Thursday, January 12, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas Municipal League Winter Conference – 
Volunteer Community of the Year Awards Luncheon
12:30 PM
Statehouse Convention Center - Wally Allen Ballroom
101 E Markham St.
Little Rock, AR

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.05.2017

Gov. Hutchinson to Appear on Arkansas Radio Network to Answer Questions from Call-in Listeners

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson will join with Bob Steel on KARN Newsradio to answer questions from statewide call-in listeners during the Ask the Governor show on Friday morning.

Details are as follows:

WHAT:           Gov. Hutchinson to Appear on Arkansas Radio Network to Answer Questions from Call-in Listeners

WHEN:           9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., Friday, January 6, 2017

WHERE:         KARN Newsradio 102.9 FM

Listeners can call toll free statewide: 1-866-275-8255 or 1-866-275-TALK
Local listeners can call: 501-433-8255 or 501-433-TALK

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.05.2017

Gov. Hutchinson and Facebook Announce Arkansas & Facebook Techstart Partnership

Facebook to Provide Technology, Resources to Arkansas Schools
 

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the details of an agreement with Facebook, Inc. to launch the company’s Techstart program in Arkansas high schools. The Arkansas & Facebook Techstart Partnership is a first-of-its-kind partnership with the social media giant. Under the agreement, Facebook will donate 500 Virtual Reality (VR) classroom kits, including computers, cameras and the Oculus Rift equipment necessary to administer the Techstart program.  

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.  

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:  

“Arkansas continues to lead the nation in computer science education and this partnership with Facebook’s Techstart program will make us even stronger in that regard. Facebook’s generous donation will both excite and empower Arkansas students to sharpen their computer science skills and to explore STEM careers. Students who utilize this incredible platform will be positioned to succeed in our increasingly technology driven economy.”  

According to the agreement, Facebook will donate 500 VR kits to the state that will be distributed to approximately 250 schools, educational co-ops and STEM education centers. These donations will primarily target high schools that contain a high percentage of low-income students. Under the agreement, distribution and facilitation of these resources would be administered through the Arkansas Department of Education Computer Science Division and the Arkansas Public Resource Center. 

Erin Egan, Facebook’s Vice President of U.S. Public Policy, issued the following statement:  

“Facebook aims to inspire the next generation to be involved in and excited about computer science. With 500,000 open computing jobs in this country and just 50,000 computer science graduates every year, the opportunity is clear. Given Governor Hutchinson’s commitment to computer science education and establishing coding opportunities to Arkansas classrooms, bringing Techstart to the Natural State just made sense. We are thrilled to launch this first-of-its-kind partnership and look forward to seeing all the exciting projects students here will build.”  

This Facebook Computer Science Education program will give students the opportunity to learn about careers in technology, connect with engineering professionals, participate in coding and other technology-minded workshops and gain exposure to virtual reality using the Facebook- provided Oculus VR kits.

CONTACT: Governor’s Office: J.R. Davis (jr.davis@governor.arkansas.gov or 501.682.3612)
                   Facebook: Andy Stone (astone@fb.com or 202.329.1108)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.04.2017

Governor to Hold News Conference with Facebook to Announce Arkansas & Facebook Techstart Partnership

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson, along with representatives from Facebook, Inc., will announce the Arkansas & Facebook Techstart Partnership, a first-of-its-kind educational partnership with the social media company. The partnership is a result of the Governor’s computer science initiative passed in 2015. This announcement will have a positive impact on schools throughout the state.   

Details are as follows:

WHAT:
Gov. Hutchinson, Facebook to Announce Educational Partnership

WHEN:
1:40 p.m. | Thursday, January 5, 2017

WHERE:
Little Rock Central High School Auditorium
1500 S Park St.
Little Rock, AR 72202

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.04.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Intent to Grant Executive Clemency

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced his intent to grant eight pardons and no commutations. An additional 49 clemency requests were denied and three 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

Kevin D. Brandon (Hot Springs): Delivery of a Controlled Substance, Marijuana, two counts (C Felony)

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2005 – 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.

Michelle R. Cox (Fort Smith): Delivery of Methamphetamine, Reduced (A Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2005 – 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.

Clinton Ethridge (Tuckerman): Possession of a Controlled Substance, Methamphetamine (C Felony).

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.

Dwight D. Hale (Weir, KS): Conspiracy to Deliver a Controlled Substance, Cocaine, two counts (A Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1990 – Washington 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 application.

Nicole Turner Litty (Mountain Home): Commercial Burglary (B Felony) and Theft of Property (B Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2005 – Baxter 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.

Robbie W. Mitchell (Searcy): Possession of a Controlled Substance, Methamphetamine (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2006 – 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.

Robert Owens (Quitman): Possession of a Controlled Substance, Methamphetamine (C Felony).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2003 – Stone 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.

Thaddeus Spraggins (Little Rock): Manufacture, Delivery or Possession of a Controlled Substance (Y Felony).

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. 
 

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.04.2017

Gov. Hutchinson Approves Plant Board’s Amendment to the Pesticide Use and Restriction Regulation

Tasks Board to Provide Clear Rules on Approval Process for New Technologies

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today sent a letter to the chairman of the Arkansas State Plant Board approving the board’s proposed amended regulation entitled Pesticide Use and Restriction. 
The Governor closely analyzed the three following issues as they were the most frequently referenced in his meetings and in public comments: (1) whether the Plant Board should completely ban dicamba due to its susceptibility to volatility and drift; (2) whether the Plant Board should allow for the use of XtendiMax with VaporGrip technology as approved by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”); and (3) whether the EPA’s testing and approval is sufficient for the on-label use of VaporGrip technology in Arkansas.
After careful evaluation, Governor Hutchinson came to the following conclusion taken from an excerpt of his letter to the Plant Board:

“In conclusion, it is my position that the Plant Board’s proposed regulation will not unnecessarily burden businesses. Pursuant to Executive Order 15-02, I approve the promulgation of the Plant Board’s proposed amendment. However, the methods that are used and the research on which the Plant Board relies in approving new technologies must be more clearly defined in order to provide more certainty to all companies attempting to introduce these technologies in Arkansas.  To this end, I am tasking the Plant Board to submit a solution to me within forty-five (45) days, which provides clear rules to industry as to what the Plant Board expects in terms of prior study and testing by independent third party research.”

A copy of the Governor’s letter can be found HERE.  


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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.03.2017

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: January 1st – January 7th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Sunday, January 1, 2017, through Saturday, January 7, 2017: 

Sunday, January 1, 2017:

CAMDEN
National Guard Deployment Ceremony
2:50 PM
Southern Arkansas University Tech
6415 Spellman Rd.
East Camden, AR

Wednesday, January 4, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Southern Arkansas Regional Alliance – Press Conference
11:00 AM
Governor’s Conference Room
Arkansas State Capitol

Thursday, January 5, 2017:

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas Superintendent Symposium – Speaking
11:45 AM
DoubleTree Hotel
424 W Markham St.
Little Rock, AR

LITTLE ROCK
Education/Computer Science Announcement
1:45 PM
TBA
Little Rock, AR

Friday, January 6, 2017:

NORTHEAST ARKANSAS
Northeast Arkansas Political Animals Club - Speaking
12:00 PM
TBA
Northeast Arkansas


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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12.20.2016

Gov. Hutchinson Lays Out Agenda for 2017 Session

LITTLE ROCK – In a news conference Tuesday morning, Governor Asa Hutchinson laid out his full list of priorities for the 2017 legislative session. Each of the announced initiatives fall into one of three categories, consistent with the Governor’s priorities: Economic Development, Education, and Efficiencies and Government Transformation. They are as follows:

Economic Development:

  • Retired Military Tax Cut
  • Accelerator Program
  • $50.5 Million Income Tax Cut

Education:

  • ArFuture Grant
  • New Higher Education Productivity Funding Formula
  • Computer Science Part 2
  • Teacher Opportunity Program Redirect (TOPs)
  • $3 million in Quality Pre-K Funding
  • Reading Initiative

Efficiencies and Government Transformation:

  • Reform of the State Pay Plan
  • Ongoing Improvements to Address Foster Care
  • Repurposing Tobacco Settlement Funds to Decrease the Disability Waitlist
  • Consolidation of Select Boards and Commissions
  • Agency Reorganization and Efficiencies (Energy to ADEQ; OHIT to ADH; War Memorial to Parks and Tourism)
  • Waste Tire Management Program
  • Establishing Regional Mental Health Crisis Stabilization Centers

In addition to the above-mentioned initiatives, Governor Hutchinson has been a long-time supporter of separating the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert E. Lee holiday. This will once again be a priority for the Governor in the 2017 session.

Additional information on each initiative can be found HERE.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“This comprehensive list represents my agenda for the 2017 legislative session. Each initiative is in line with my administration’s three-pronged approach to thoughtful and conservative governing. We must drive economic development, further educational opportunities—including an emphasis on computer science—and identify better ways to serve Arkansans through meaningful reforms and efficiencies. These are the parameters that shape my priorities as Governor, and I look forward to working with the legislature to make each one a reality.”

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12.19.2016

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces District and Circuit Judge Appointments

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

Meredith Switzer Rebsamen, Hot Springs, as District Judge of the Garland County District Court, First Division. Term begins on January 1, 2017 and expires on December 31, 2018. Replaces Judge David Switzer. 

Meredith Switzer Rebsamen has served at the Office of the Arkansas Attorney General since 2009. She currently serves as Deputy Attorney General, State Agencies Department, but previously served as Assistant Attorney General, Agencies Division. Prior to her time at the Office of the Arkansas Attorney General, Meredith Switzer Rebsamen was Associate Attorney, Litigation Division for five years at the Rose Law Firm. She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. 

Spencer Singleton, El Dorado, as Circuit Judge of the Thirteenth Judicial District, Second Division. Term begins on January 1, 2017 and expires on December 31, 2018. Replaces Judge Michael Landers. 

Spencer Singleton has served as Career Law Clerk for the Honorable Bobby E. Shepherd, United States Circuit Judge, since October 2006. Prior to his time serving under Judge Shepherd, he was Pro Se Law Clerk for the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. He also spent two years at the United States Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit, where he served as Staff Attorney. Spencer Singleton is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. He currently lives in El Dorado with his wife and two sons.

Steven Porch, Monticello, as Circuit Judge of the Tenth Judicial District, Fourth Division. Term begins on January 1, 2017 and expires on December 31, 2018. Replaces Judge Don Glover. 

Steven Porch has served as Managing Public Defender for the 10th Judicial District since 2008. Prior to this, he was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the 10th Judicial District. Steven Porch is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Law. He lives in Monticello with his wife, Apprilla.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12.19.2016

Gov. Hutchinson Announces Intent to Appoint Philip Taldo to Highway Commission

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced his intent to appoint Philip Taldo of Springdale as the next commissioner of the Arkansas Highway Commission. Taldo will replace Frank Scott, Jr. whose term will expire on January 14, 2017.

Complete details are as follows:

  • Philip Taldo, Springdale, to the Arkansas Highway Commission. This is a 10-year appointment and will expire January 14, 2027.  Replaces Frank Scott, Jr., Little Rock.

Governor Hutchinson made the announcement at a Rotary Club meeting in Springdale Monday afternoon and has released the following statement upon the announcement:

“Few understand my vision for the state—from an economic development standpoint and beyond—better than my friend, Philip. That’s why I’m pleased to announce my intention to appoint him as the next commissioner to the Arkansas Highway Commission. 

“Philip has served our state well in his current role on the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Just as significantly, Philip has been involved in major infrastructure projects in Arkansas from his service on the Northwest Arkansas Council as well as the Northwest Arkansas Airport Authority.

“Our economy and our highways go hand-in-hand, and I have no doubt he will bring his experience and continue to provide the same thoughtful insight to this new role and responsibility.”

Philip Taldo issued the following statement:

“I am both excited and equally humbled by the opportunity and the trust Governor Hutchinson has given me. The Governor has consistently exhibited thoughtful leadership and a conservative approach to government while in office, and I am delighted to continue my service in his administration.

“I understand the key role our highways play in the economic growth and overall future of our state. This connection is vitally important, and I look forward to working with this already stellar group of commissioners to strengthen and improve Arkansas’ roadways, economy and quality of life for years to come.”

Taldo is Broker & Co-Owner Griffin Realtors Commercial Division and Weichert Griffin Realtors in Northwest Arkansas. He is also the President of One Springdale, Inc., a development corporation and Partners Construction, LLC, a residential building company. He is a member of the Northwest Arkansas Council, Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport Authority and UAMS Northwest Advisory Board, among others. Taldo lives in Springdale. He is currently a commissioner on the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12.13.2016

Gov. Hutchinson Details $50 Million Tax Cut; Focuses on Lower Income Arkansans

Income Tax on Military Retiree Benefits to be Eliminated

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today laid out the details of his income tax cut of more than $50 million. The Governor’s plan will focus on lower income Arkansans who earn between $0 and $20,999 annually. The plan will also reduce the lowest rate in the middle income tax table in order to alleviate the “cliff” effect that occurs when an increase in a taxpayer’s income causes a shift to the middle income table. 

The total price tag for the tax cut is $50,517,296—the bulk of which (approximately $46 million) will substantively affect an estimated 657,000 Arkansans. Of that 657,000 (44% of the roughly 1.5 million individual income taxpayers in the state), approximately 120,000 taxpayers in the lowest bracket will be taken off the tax rolls completely. See the breakdown below or HERE.

Bracket                       Current Rate              Reduced Rate            Revenue Reduction

$0 - $4,299                  0.90%                          0.00%                          $ 22,283,558
$4,300 - $8,399           2.40%                          2.00%                          $ 7,508,244
$8,400 - $12,599         3.40%                          3.00%                          $ 5,617,899
$12,600 - $20,999       4.40%                          3.40%                          $ 10,898,058

An additional $4,290,537 will go towards bridging the lower income brackets with the middle income brackets to prevent the cliff effect.

Total Income Tax Cut                                                                        $ 50,517,296

In addition to his tax cut proposal, Governor Hutchinson also announced Tuesday afternoon his support for exempting all retirement benefits of retired military service members from state income tax—a $13 million reduction in General Revenue. This exemption, consistent with the Governor’s approach to additional tax reductions, must be offset with the repeal of other tax exemptions as outlined by the Governor, HERE. 

Gov. Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“I am excited to unveil this new round of tax cuts as a part of my continued commitment to flattening the state income tax. This cut moves the state toward that goal by removing the tax burden on the lowest income Arkansans.

“In addition, this plan also eliminates the tax on the retirement benefits of our retired service men and women. I believe that reducing the tax burden on our veterans is the right thing to do, provided that we can make up for the loss of revenue. That is why I am asking the legislature to take action to make the necessary offsets so that these cuts are budget neutral. I am confident that this conservative approach to tax cuts will increase fairness and spur economic development by keeping more money in the pockets of the everyday Arkansans who need it the most.”

In 2015, Governor Hutchinson proposed—and the legislature passed—his $100 million Middle Class Tax Cut, the largest income tax cut in Arkansas history. That tax cut provided substantive tax relief to approximately 688,000 Arkansans (46% of the state’s individual income taxpayers). If this latest proposal is passed, approximately 90%—or 1.3 million—of the state’s individual income taxpayers will have benefited from substantive tax relief legislation since 2015. 


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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12.12.2016

Gov. Hutchinson Signs MOU with Microsoft for Strategic Digital Alliance

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the signing of an MOU with Microsoft Corp. to implement a Digital Alliance intended to promote STEM education and economic development, statewide. Under this relationship, Microsoft is committed to hosting a DigiCamp and YouthSpark Live event for students and a BizSpark training session. In addition, Microsoft will work with the Arkansas Department of Education to grow the TEALS Initiative, which pairs computer science professionals with computer science teachers to teach high school computer science courses. 

These events and programs will take place throughout Arkansas and will provide participants the opportunity to learn about careers in technology, connect with STEM industry professionals, participate in hands-on computer and technology workshops, connect local businesses with current digital solutions and more. The Digital Alliance will support students, teachers and administrators, entrepreneurs, and other community members across the state.

The Arkansas Department of Education will continue to work with Microsoft to finalize additional details. You can find the MOU in its entirety on the Governor’s website, HERE.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“Technology influences almost everything we do today, from recreation to education to professional development. This alliance with Microsoft will continue to empower Arkansans with digital skills essential to almost every facet of life in the 21st century. I am delighted that this Digital Alliance will provide Arkansans with additional opportunity to gain experience with coding and computation, which only helps to further my initiatives to support STEM education and economic development in the state.”

Corporate vice president of U.S. Government Affairs for Microsoft Fred Humphries issued the following statement:

“Microsoft is committed to supporting the workforce of today — and growing the workforce of the future — by ensuring that all students, regardless of economic background, have the opportunity to learn computer science and computational thinking. These skills are needed in every industry. This digital alliance builds on Arkansas’s commitment to increase access to computer science education and help close the skills gap. I thank Governor Hutchinson for his continued leadership in K-12 computer science education and for embarking on this new partnership with Microsoft.”

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12.12.2016

CORRECTED TIME: Gov. Hutchinson to Sign Digital Alliance MOU Between Microsoft and the State

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson will hold a news conference today to sign a Digital Alliance memorandum of understanding between Microsoft Corporation and Arkansas.

Details are as follows:

WHAT:
Digital Alliance MOU Signing with Microsoft

WHEN:
2:00 p.m. | Monday, December 12, 2016

WHERE:
Governor’s Conference Room
Arkansas State Capitol
Little Rock, AR

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12.09.2016

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Public Schedule: December 12th – December 17th

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of public appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson from Monday, December 12, 2016, through Saturday, December 17, 2016:  

Monday, December 12, 2016:

LITTLE ROCK
Club de Madrid – P80 Little Rock Accord
Reunion Proceedings
Opening Session – Speaking 
8:30 AM
Robinson Center
426 W. Markham St.
Little Rock, AR

LITTLE ROCK
Digital Alliance MOU
Between Microsoft and the State of Arkansas
(Corrected Time) 2:00 PM
Arkansas State Capitol – Governor’s Conference Room
500 Woodlane St.
Little Rock, AR

Wednesday, December 14, 2016:

FORT SMITH
AEDC Announcement 
2:00 PM
TBA
Fort Smith, AR

Thursday, December 15, 2016:

LITTLE ROCK
Arkansas Foster Children Christmas in the Capitol
Press Conference
11:30 AM
Arkansas State Capitol – Old Supreme Court Room
500 Woodlane St.
Little Rock, AR

Friday, December 16, 2016:

LITTLE ROCK
103.7 The Buzz Christmas Celebrity Karaoke
7:00 PM
Statehouse Convention Center
101 E Markham St.
Little Rock, AR

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12.09.2016

Gov. Hutchinson Appoints Chris Palmer as Employer Representative to Workers’ Compensation Commission

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Hutchinson today appointed Chris Palmer of Little Rock as Employer Representative to the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (AWCC). AWCC Commissioners are appointed to serve for a 6-year term. Palmer replaces outgoing Commissioner, Karen McKinney.  

Governor Hutchinson released the following statement:

“I am pleased to announce Chris as the newest addition to the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Chris brings a wealth of experience to an already stellar group of commissioners, and his knowledge of Arkansas law will benefit the state and our people.

“I want to thank Karen McKinney, who’s done an outstanding job in her role on the commission. She’s served our state and this commission with honor and distinction, and I wish her the very best.”

Chris Palmer is currently a Partner at Dodds, Kidd and Ryan law firm in Little Rock. In his 30 years of practice, Palmer has represented a number of significant employers and employees in workers’ compensation cases. He has also overseen numerous cases from the perspective of prosecution, defense and as a circuit judge. 

Palmer has extensive experience before the state and federal bar. Chris is a certified mediator, a member of the Pulaski County Bar Association; Arkansas Bar Association; American Bar Association; Tennessee Bar Association; Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; Association of Trial Lawyers of America; and the William Overton and Henry Woods Inns of Court.  He received his education from Hendrix College (B.A., 1981) and from the University of Arkansas School of Law (J.D., 1985).

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12.08.2016

Gov. Hutchinson Introduces New ArFuture Grant

Pays Full Cost of Tuition for Community and Technical College

LITTLE ROCK – Gov. Asa Hutchinson today announced the creation of the “Arkansas Future Grant” (ArFuture) for traditional, home school and non-traditional students in Arkansas. This state funded grant would be available on a first come, first serve basis and would provide two years of tuition and fees at an Arkansas community or technical college to any student who enrolls in a high demand field of study, such as computer science or welding. 

ArFuture grants will not require new general revenues. The price tag will be covered by repurposing $8.2 million in general revenue funds from the state’s WIG and GO! grants. (The GO! grant program currently has a 77% non-completion rate.) In addition, key reforms will be implemented to address important factors such as student accountability.  

For example, under the ArFuture grant, all recipients are required to meet monthly with a program mentor. This measure will increase the likelihood of the student success. Additionally, upon graduation, the student must work full-time in Arkansas for a minimum of three years. If a student does not complete his or her commitment, the grant will be converted to a loan for repayment to the State of Arkansas.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement: 

"Through the new ArFuture Grant, we are ensuring that all Arkansans have access to affordable higher education. This plan will not only increase access to post-secondary education by removing the financial hurdles that keep many from enrolling, but it will also incentivize our students to better themselves by providing an opportunity to climb the economic ladder, while serving their communities.”

“ArFuture will send a clear message to prospective employers that the state is committed to building the 21st century workforce that will attract industry and allow the Arkansas economy to thrive.”

ArFuture Grant Information:

To be eligible for the ArFuture Grant, students must be a high school graduate with established residency, including those students that were home schooled or received their GED. This does not include high school students that are taking concurrent credit courses. Prospective students must also apply for a Federal Pell Grant. There is no grade point average prerequisite to receive the grant. Recipients of the grant may enroll as full-time or part-time students at any in-state community college. They must also complete 8 hours of community service per semester. The ArFuture grant is stackable with the Arkansas Lottery and other state scholarships. If passed, the ArFuture grant will be available for the 2017-2018 school year.

2017 Education Initiatives:

Governor Hutchinson’s ArFuture grant program is a component of his comprehensive education plan for the upcoming 2017 Legislative Session, which focuses on meeting the needs of Arkansas’s rapidly changing workforce by making post-secondary education more affordable, accessible, and attainable. Other components of the Governor’s education initiatives are as follows:

Higher Education Productivity Funding Formula:

The Higher Education Productivity Funding Model places the priority on accountability, student success and program completion as opposed to the previous formula, which places priority on student enrollment. Additionally, the Governor demonstrated his support for the new funding method in October by announcing an additional $10 million increase to higher education funding conditioned on the reform’s passage. If the new funding model is adopted, Arkansas will become only the fifth state to make significant progress toward funding higher education based on similar productivity models – joining Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, and Oregon.

You can read more on the Governor’s proposed Higher Education Productivity Funding Formula HERE.

Additional $3 million in Pre-K funding:

Governor Hutchinson is committing an additional $3 million a year to improve the quality of pre-kindergarten programs in the Arkansas Better Chance (ABC) program. Governor Hutchinson is recommending new grant programs to improve and reward teacher quality and encourage and enhance innovation. 

Currently, Arkansas ranks 12th nationally in the percent of 4 year-olds enrolled in state-funded Pre-K, 3rd in the percent of 3 year-olds enrolled in state-funded Pre-K, and 22nd in the amount of per pupil funding. Additionally, Arkansas’ Pre-K program meets 9 out of the 10 benchmarks measuring Quality by the National Institute for Early Education Research (National Institute for Early Education Research).

Amending the Teacher Opportunity Program (TOP):

This proposal would amend the current Teacher Opportunity Program (TOP) that currently provides scholarships for teachers that are seeking further degrees. Under this proposed change, teachers that are pursuing degrees and/or certifications in Computer Science or STEM fields, Literacy, Pre-Kindergarten or Special Education would be given priority for these scholarships over teachers pursuing degrees and/or certifications in other areas.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12.07.2016

Gov. Hutchinson to Roll out Education Initiatives for 2017 Session Thursday

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson will hold a news conference tomorrow outlining his education initiatives for the 2017 legislative session.  

Details are as follows:

WHAT:
Press Conference to Announce Education Initiatives for 2017 Session 

WHEN: 
11:30 a.m. | Thursday, December 8, 2016

WHERE:
Governor’s Conference Room
Arkansas State Capitol
Little Rock, AR

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