Audio – Senator Keith Ingram Reporting News From 91st General Assembly
December 20th, 2018 • News

December 20, 2018

  • If you made a list of the top Arkansas news stories of 2018, you would have to put the November election results at the top of the list.
  • But the most important result was not the election or re-election of any candidate.
  • In terms of its potential to dramatically boost the economy of east Arkansas, voter approval of the casino amendment will bring more long-term benefits than the election of any individual candidate or political party.
  • The Southland track is already laying the groundwork for investments that will make the facility a tourist and entertainment destination for the entire region.
  • Voters also approved a measure that raises the minimum wage. It will go up in stages, from $8.50 to $9.25 per hour in 2019, then to $10 per hour in 2020. Finally it will increase to $11 per hour in 2021.
  • Another ballot measure approved in November will require voters to present a photo ID in order to get a ballot.
  • Many of its provisions overlap the requirements in current election law. The major impact is that from now on, changes to voter ID requirements will be much more difficult to change.
  • A couple of ongoing lawsuits have the potential to impact the quality of life in Arkansas. Our version of the affordable care act, known as Arkansas Works, is being challenge in court.
  • It provides Medicaid coverage to more than 100,000 Arkansas families and thankfully, the program is still in place. But judicial rulings may force the state to make radical changes.
  • Also in 2018, all 75 counties and the vast majority of cities and towns joined in a lawsuit against distributors of prescription painkillers. Arkansas is being flooded with addictive narcotics because of a lack of controls over how the drugs are manufactured and marketed.
  • Finally, Arkansas schools were ranked at the top of the class in in 2018.
  • A non-profit organization called Information Superhighway ranked our schools first in the nation in rankings of high speed Internet capacity. With diligence and dedication, we can maintain our first place ranking in this very important category.
      Click to Listen - Audio Recording from December 20, 2018