Bart Hester

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signs a slew of bills passed during the special legislative session held from Sept. 11-14, 2023, in Little Rock. (John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate)

Arkansas officials’ security records shielded from public under altered FOIA law

BY: - September 14, 2023

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a law Thursday altering the state’s Freedom of Information Act, one of her stated goals of the special legislative session she called for this week. Senate Bill 10, which passed the Senate on Wednesday and the House on Thursday, shields from public access all records and communications concerning the […]

Jimmie Cavin, right, is escorted from the Senate State Agencies & Governmental Affairs Committee meeting by a State Capitol Police officer after being told to leave by committee chairman Sen. Blake Johnson, R-Corning.

Lawmakers offer narrower change to Arkansas FOIA after bipartisan pushback

BY: - September 12, 2023

After two days of bipartisan backlash against proposed changes to Arkansas’ Freedom of Information Act, lawmakers late Tuesday filed narrower legislation to exempt information related to security services provided to the governor and other state officials. It’s the third attempt in as many business days to alter the state’s 1967 public records law. The first […]

Arkansas Senate President Pro Tempore Bart Hester speaks to people waiting to speak on a bill on Sept. 11, 2023.

Tidal wave of opposition swamps Arkansas governor’s FOIA battleship

BY: - September 11, 2023

UPDATE: Senate President Pro Tempore Bart Hester late Monday night introduced a new version of the bill to add exemptions to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. It can be read here. Proposed new exemptions to Arkansas’ Freedom of Information Act drew strong opposition across the political spectrum over the weekend, forcing legislative leaders to scramble […]

Lawmakers, public await promised replacement for controversial Arkansas FOIA legislation

BY: - September 11, 2023

UPDATE: Senate President Pro Tempore Bart Hester late Monday night introduced a new version of the bill to add exemptions to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. It can be read here. This week’s special session of the Arkansas Legislature, expected to be a smooth-sailing three days, hit a major snag on day one when […]

Sen. Breanne Davis of Russellville, lead sponsor of Senate Bill 294, which would enact the governor’s education program, looks at Education Secretary Jacob Oliva, right, as he answers questions about the bill during a meeting of the Senate Education Committee Wednesday morning, Feb. 22, 2023, in Little Rock. (John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate)

Arkansas attorney general seeks stay in LEARNS Act restraining order

BY: - May 30, 2023

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin on Tuesday asked the state Supreme Court to lift a lower court’s ruling blocking implementation of the LEARNS Act. A Pulaski County circuit judge on Friday issued a temporary restraining order for Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ signature education law. The state quickly filed a notice within hours.  Tuesday’s filing by […]

Arkansas panel rejects appeals from complainants against Bureau of Legislative Research

BY: - May 8, 2023

The Arkansas Legislative Council’s executive subcommittee voted to affirm the findings of an investigation into the Bureau of Legislative Research on Monday after two employees filed complaints, though no details about the complaints were made public. The eight-member subcommittee heard testimony in two executive sessions from each complainant and from Bureau Director Marty Garrity. After […]

Arkansas lawmakers conclude work following approval of tax cuts, education legislation

BY: and - April 7, 2023

From the state’s first female governor to an overhaul of the state’s education system, the 94th General Assembly brought unprecedented change to Arkansas. After three months of work, lawmakers adjourned Friday and plan to return on May 1 for the official end of the legislative session. “It started with a slow trot and ended with […]

Brian Hester speaks with two women inside Farmington High School

ON THE TRAIL: Republican Brian Hester wants to “try something different” with education

BY: - October 13, 2022

Republican Brian Hester faces incumbent state Rep. David Whitaker, a Democrat, in the race to fill the newly created House District 22. You can find a story about Whitaker here.  FARMINGTON — It’s election season, but it’s also volleyball season for Brian Hester, the Republican candidate for House District 22. His daughter plays for Farmington […]