ARLeg Passes Arkansas Works;
Faulkner County Splits Vote
Faulkner County lawmakers split their votes on Thursday at the Legislature’s special session on Governor Hutchinson’s “Arkansas Works” Medicaid expansion plan. As expected, the Governor’s plan, which required a 51% approval, passed the Legislature. On Thursday the Arkansas House approved its measure 70-30 and the Arkansas Senate vote was 25-10.
Voting against HB1001 were Faulkner County Republican Representatives David Meeks, Stephen Meeks, and Josh Miller; in favor were Republican Representatives Doug House, Joe Farrer, and Democrat Steve Magie. In the Senate, Faulkner County Republican Senator Missy Irvin voted against the identical Senate measure (SB1), while Republican Senators Eddie Joe Williams and Jason Rapert were in favor.
Friday’s companion votes were only slightly different, and only one Faulkner County lawmaker voted differently on Friday than on Thursday. HB1001 passed the Senate with the same votes: 25-10.
However, the Senate’s SB1 passed the House on a 68-27 vote. On Friday, Republican Representatives Donnie Copeland and Trevor Drown — “no” votes on the House bill on Thursday — were marked as “non-voting,” while Republican Representative Laurie Rushing — who also voted “no” on Thursday — was “present.” Democrat Representative John Walker and Faulkner County Republican Representative Williams — both “yes” votes on Thursday — were shown as “non-voting” on Friday.
The changed voting landscape from Thursday to Friday is a forecast. Even though the Legislature passed the Governor’s plan to extend Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in Arkansas, if lawmakers refuse to approve funding in the upcoming fiscal session — as some are speculating — the bill is dead and the program will be dismantled.
— EDITED 04/09/16 to show both Thursday’s votes and Friday’s companion votes.