Category Archives: State government

School boards head to the big ballot

Alabama, blue wave, school boardsIf you’re like most voters in Arkansas, you rarely if ever cast a ballot in school board elections. This May and November, that will start to change.

That’s because the Legislature last year voted to require school districts to choose between holding elections to coincide either with the May primaries or the November general elections. Because of that, school board candidates are filing for office now alongside candidates in other races.

Previously, school elections were in September, when few voters were interested or often even realized elections were occurring.

Continue reading School boards head to the big ballot

What’s the purpose of college?

The answer to “What’s the purpose of college?” is longer than the 280 characters Twitter allows per tweet. But you can at least start a conversation in that amount of space.

Such a conversation was started last week when Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, tweeted a picture of a University of Arkansas at Little Rock billboard featuring a dance major. He commented that higher education doesn’t need extra funding if this is how it would be spent. Instead of dance, the university should be encouraging computer science degrees and math teachers, he wrote.

The tweet drew a response from Savvy Shields. If you don’t recognize her name, you certainly recognize the title: Miss America 2017, and before that, Miss Arkansas. The art major disagreed, arguing that the arts can inspire people and change society. Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Berryville, tweeted in support of Hester’s position, and then there was a minor social media firestorm that since has been forgotten.

College: Job skills or life skills?

Now that the Twitter argument has slipped into the recesses of cyberspace, the question remains: “What’s the purpose of college?”

Continue reading What’s the purpose of college?

Your pharmacist doesn’t want to see you now

If your pharmacist doesn’t look happy to see you the next time you visit, it’s probably because she’s losing money filling your prescription.

The problems are occurring with two groups of patients. The largest are those covered by Arkansas Works, which uses Medicaid dollars to purchase private health insurance for 285,000 low-income Arkansans. The other problem patients are the 68,100 Arkansans who purchase their health insurance through the online Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace. Like Arkansas Works, the Marketplace was created by the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

Who are the pharmacy benefit managers?

Pharmacists say that, in those plans, they aren’t being fairly reimbursed by their pharmacy benefit managers. Those PBMs act as middlemen between pharmacists and insurance companies, which in Arkansas are Blue Cross, Ambetter and QualChoice. Continue reading Your pharmacist doesn’t want to see you now

Mark Moore’s law

vote, Mark MooreWant to run for office as an independent – not as a Republican, Democrat or anything else? Thanks to Mark Moore, you’ve just been given two more months to submit your signatures.

Moore, of Pea Ridge, won a lawsuit Jan. 25 where U.S. District Judge James Moody declared the state’s March 1 deadline for independent candidates unconstitutional and issued an injunction on Moore’s behalf.

Moore had sued the state in 2014 because he wanted to run for lieutenant governor as an independent. He believed the law was stacked in favor of Republicans and Democrats. Under current law, independent candidates must collect signatures over 90 days and submit them to the secretary of state’s office by March 1, the end of the candidate filing period. Republicans and Democrats must submit party filing fees by that date but won’t hold their primary elections until May 22.  Continue reading Mark Moore’s law