Bill to freeze enrollment in Arkansas Works advances

LITTLE ROCK — A House committee on Tuesday advanced a bill to freeze enrollment in the state’s Medicaid expansion program.

The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee gave a “do pass” recommendation to House Bill 1465 by Rep. Josh Miller, R-Heber Springs, which would require the state Department of Human Services to seek a federal waiver or waivers allowing it to stop enrolling people in the program known as Arkansas Works, formerly the private option, on July 1.

The bill goes to the House.


Proposal to limit civil lawsuits advances

LITTLE ROCK — A Senate committee on Tuesday advanced a modified version of a proposed constitutional amendment to cap certain types of damages in civil suits at $500,000, cap attorneys’ contingency fees at one-third of the net amount recovered by a client and allow the Legislature to set court rules.

Senate Joint Resolution 8 by Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View, previously passed in the Senate but was later amended in the House to raise the proposed cap on damages from $250,000 to $500,000. The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee concurred in the amendment Tuesday and sent the bill to the Senate.

If the Senate concurs in the amendment, the measure will be referred to the November 2018 ballot.


Senate votes to ban life without parole for juvenile offenders

LITTLE ROCK — The Senate on Tuesday approved a bill to ban life sentences without possibility of parole for crimes committed by people under age 18.

The Senate voted 28-0 to approve Senate Bill 294 by Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View. The bill goes to the House.