- Associated Press - Friday, May 20, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Latest on Arkansas’ special legislative session focused on highway funding (all times local):

1 p.m.

Arkansas lawmakers have approved a measure aimed at protecting Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s use of a veto to save the state’s hybrid Medicaid expansion.

The House and Senate on Friday approved identical versions of a bill to set a Dec. 31, 2021, end date for the program, which uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for the poor.

The House approved the bill on a 68-25 vote and the Senate approved it 24-10. Final votes on the measure are expected Monday.

The bill is aimed at protecting Hutchinson’s decision to veto a portion of the Medicaid budget that would have ended the program on Dec. 31. Hutchinson and legislative leaders devised the line-item veto approach to break a standoff over the program during the fiscal session last month.

Opponents of the line-item veto strategy have predicted it’ll be challenged in court.

___

12:25 p.m.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s highway plan is headed toward a final vote in the Legislature, while a Senate-backed effort to limit the funding for one year appears dead.

The Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee on Friday endorsed Hutchinson’s proposal to use the state’s surplus, investment returns and other funds to raise nearly $50 million for road needs in the coming fiscal year. The House approved the measure earlier Friday, and it’s expected to go before the full Senate on Monday.

A competing plan that would have limited Hutchinson’s proposal to one year was rejected by the House Rules Committee after nobody on the panel moved to recommend its passage. The Senate earlier Friday had approved that measure.

___

10:35 a.m.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s highway plan isn’t going to the same Senate panel that deadlocked over his proposal to raise nearly $50 million for roads in the coming year.

The Senate on Friday voted 19-14 to move the House-backed version of Hutchinson’s proposal from the Transportation Committee to Revenue and Taxation.

The Senate transportation panel deadlocked a day earlier over Hutchinson’s proposal to tap into the state’s surplus, investment returns and other funds for roads. The Senate earlier Friday backed a proposal to limit Hutchinson’s funding plan to one year.

___

10:10 a.m.

A revised version of a publicity rights bill backed by the family of legendary former Arkansas football coach Frank Broyles that was vetoed last year has won initial approval from the state Legislature.

The House and Senate on Friday approved identical versions of the proposal designed to protect a person’s likeness. Gov. Asa Hutchinson last year had vetoed a version of the bill over concerns that it would infringe on First Amendment rights.

The proposal has been revamped to address those concerns and has been backed by the Motion Picture Association of America, who opposed the version that Hutchinson vetoed last year. Hutchinson has said he’ll sign the latest version.

The reworked bill includes clearer exemptions for noncommercial forms of speech, including newspapers, magazines, broadcasts, plays, books and other forms of artwork.

The House approved the bill on 64-21 vote, and the Senate approved it 29-2. Final votes on the measure are expected next week.

___

9:55 a.m.

The Arkansas Senate has approved a highway-improvement plan that would limit the funding to one year.

The measure passed the Senate on an 18-10 vote Friday morning. It now goes to the House, which earlier approved Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s proposal to fund road improvements.

Both proposals are expected to raise nearly $50 million in state funds in the coming fiscal year, and allow Arkansas to receive another $200 million in matching federal funds. Hutchinson’s plan would tap into the state’s surplus, investment returns and other funds to raise money for roads.

___

9:25 a.m.

The Arkansas House has approved Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s proposal to fund highway improvements.

The House voted 75-15 on Friday in support of the governor’s plan, which would tap into the state’s surplus, investment returns and other funds to raise money for roads.

The measure now heads to the Senate, where lawmakers are considering a competing plan that would limit the funding to the coming fiscal year.

Hutchinson says the money is needed to bring in $200 million in additional annual federal matching funds for state roads. His proposal has faced resistance from some lawmakers who say they want to find a longer-term solution for highway funding.

___

6 a.m.

Arkansas lawmakers are taking up competing plans to raise nearly $50 million for the state’s highways, with some balking at Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s proposal to continue the funding beyond the coming fiscal year.

The House on Friday is expected to take up Hutchinson’s plan to tap into the state’s surplus, investment returns and other funds to raise money for roads. The Senate is set to consider a competing proposal that would limit the funding to the coming fiscal year.

Hutchinson says the money is needed to bring in $200 million in additional annual federal matching funds for state roads. His proposal has faced resistance from some lawmakers who say they want to find a longer-term solution for highway funding.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide