Arkansas Capitol Almanac

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Associated Press

Posted on April 2, 2013 at 12:06 PM

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Ark. House speaker tries to court gun makers unhappy with new restrictions in other states

House Speaker Davy Carter is wooing a pair of gun manufacturers to Arkansas, telling the companies they should look at the state if they're concerned about new firearms restrictions elsewhere.

Carter's office on Monday released letters the Republican from Cabot sent to the chief operating officers of Beretta USA Corp. and Magpul Industries Corp., encouraging the manufacturers to look at Arkansas if they're interested in relocating.

Colorado-based Magpul has vowed to begin making ammunition magazines elsewhere after that state approved sweeping new gun control laws. Beretta is based in Maryland, which is considering an assault weapons ban.

Carter told both companies in the letters that Arkansas would be a "friend" to their industry.

Republican lawmakers in several other states have made similar pitches to the companies.

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Ark. House, Senate leaders say they back 'private option' for expanding health insurance

Leaders of the Arkansas House and Senate say they support a proposal to expand health insurance to low income workers by purchasing private coverage with federal Medicaid money.

House Speaker Davy Carter and Senate President Pro Tem Michael Lamoureux said Monday they support the so-called private option lawmakers are considering as an alternative to expanding Medicaid enrollment under the federal health care law.

Under the proposal, the private coverage would be purchased through an exchange created under the federal law.

Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe has urged the Republican-led Legislature to approve the proposal, saying it will help low-income workers and cut down on hospitals' uncompensated care costs. Carter and Lamoureux are Republicans.

Beebe has also said the savings from the proposal could help pay for some tax cuts Republicans support.

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Ark. steel mill proposal gains key endorsements as some conservatives object to subsidies

Gov. Mike Beebe's plan to provide $125 million in state financing to help a new company build a steel mill in Mississippi County is gaining bipartisan support among legislators. But some conservatives still object to having the government help fund one of Arkansas' largest economic development projects.

Beebe's proposal received a significant boost last week when leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature expressed support for Big River Steel's plan to construct a $1.1 billion mill along the Mississippi River in Osceola.

But opponents have also emerged, and as committee votes approach this week it is not clear whether state funds will back the project. A conservative political action group and an existing steel company each have mounted campaigns against Beebe's plan.

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Arkansas lawmakers give final approval to bill naming Springdale world's poultry capital

Why did SB949 cross the Arkansas Capitol? To get to the governor's desk.

A proposal to name Springdale the "Poultry Capital of the World" is poised to become law in Arkansas after winning final approval from the Legislature Monday. The House approved the measure on an 85-0 vote.

The Senate unanimously approved the bill last week. A spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe said he'll likely sign the bill into law.

Sen. Jon Woods of Springdale has said he proposed the bill as a way to help promote the city where Tyson Foods Inc. is headquartered.

The name would be written into a section of state law that names Arkansas' official flower, motto and bird, among other matters. It does not require any state funding.

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