Countdown Clocks

Countdown Clocks

Posts tagged "Arkansas"


New restrictions have been popping up in states across the south since the Voting Rights Act was essentially gutted last month.

It’s one more reason why the right to vote needs to be protected:

Which state are you most concerned about?

(via recall-all-republicans)

The Benton County (Arkansas) Republican newsletter contained a call for Republican legislators who voted to expand Obamacare in the state to be shot.

Chris Nogy, the husband of the county Republican Party secretary, was so upset at Republican state legislators that he called for them to be shot in the county party newsletter.

Nogy was outraged because the Arkansas House voted to use privatize their Medicaid expansion, and use the Obamacare health insurance exchanges to expand medical services to the state’s poor.

Nogy was enraged by the use of that well known socialist mechanism, the free market.

It is one thing to be upset about a vote, but to call for state legislators of your own party to be used as “bullet backstops” shows how far off the cliff many on the right have fallen. When they threaten violence over the use of the free market, there is really is nowhere to go from there.

Elected Republican officials really are terrified of the base of their own party, and threats such as these are exactly why. This type of behavior is also why it is impossible for Democrats and Republicans to come together on anything.

The Benton County Republican Committee has condemned the letter, but the damage has already been done.

Republicans are literally governing with threats of guns to their heads. The Republican Party isn’t just broken. Stories like this one suggest that many rank and file Republicans have been driven to the point of mental illness by their insular drumbeat of extremism.

h/t: Jason Easley at PoliticusUSA

ExxonMobil’s recent oil spill dumped some 200,000 gallons into Mayflower, Arkansas, killed wildlife, and caused 22 homes to be evacuated. As the Natural Resources Committee takes up another bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) argued at a hearing that the spill is more evidence the Keystone XL pipeline is a safe bet for Americans. 

In fact, Exxon has been heavily criticized for its public dismissal of the harm and scope of the spill. And thanks to a technicality, the company can avoid paying taxes toward the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund — an exemption that applies to most tar sands crude.


Police And Exxon Mobil Threatening Journalists With Arrests For Reporting On Arkasas Oil Spill

Reporters covering the oil spill from ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline in Mayflower, Arkansas, are reporting that they’ve been blocked from the site and threatened with arrest.

On Friday morning, Inside Climate News reported that an Exxon spokesperson told reporter Lisa Song that she could be “arrested for criminal trespass” when she went to the command center to try to find representatives from the EPA and the Department of Transportation. On Friday afternoon, I spoke to the news director from the local NPR affiliate who said he, too, had been threatened with arrest while trying to cover the spill.

Michael Hibblen, who reports for the radio station KUAR, went to the spill site on Wednesday with state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. McDaniel was in the area to inspect the site and hold a news conference, and Hibblen and a small group of reporters were following him to report on the visit. Upon arrival, representatives from the county sheriff’s office, which is running security at the site, directed the reporters to a boundary point 10 feet away that they should not pass. The reporters agreed to comply. But the tone shifted abruptly, Hibblen told Mother Jones on Friday:

It was less than 90 seconds before suddenly the sheriff’s deputies started yelling that all the media people had to leave, that ExxonMobil had decided they don’t want you here, you have to leave. They even referred to it as “Exxon Media”…Some reporters were like, “Who made this decision? Who can we talk to?” The sheriff’s deputies started saying, “You have to leave. You have 10 seconds to leave or you will be arrested.”

Hibblen says he didn’t really have time to deal with getting arrested, since he needed to file his report on the visit for both the local affiliate and national NPR. (You can hear his piece on the AG’s visit here.) KUAR has also reported on Exxon blocking reporters’ access to the spill site.

Since the spill happened a week ago, cleanup crews have collected 19,000 barrels of oil and water.

Hibblen says county officials seem to be deferring to Exxon when it comes to reporters. “This gets back to who’s really in charge, and it seems like ExxonMobil,” he said. “When you throw the media out, that’s when the media really get their tentacles up.

Edit: The FAA declared a no-fly zone over the spill area, saying that “only relief aircraft operations under direction of [ExxonMobil employee] Tom Suhrhoff” could be over the site. (The no-fly zone was later relaxed.)

Local TV news director Nick Genty says thatExxon is running the show at the site. When we try to get information from local law enforcement, they direct us to the PR from Exxon.“ 


States slowly chipping away at Roe vs. Wade: How far will they go?

The landmark decision Roe vs. Wade of 1973 gave women the right to have an abortion until “viability” (which is defined as when a fetus could live outside the mother) which is generally thought to be after 22-24 weeks, or about 6 months. But in the last few years, and especially, it seems, just in the last month, lawmakers in various states across the country are passing laws that contradict Roe’s standing. While these states are most likely setting themselves up for costly lawsuits in their states, pro-choice activists are afraid that this was their plan along—to bring the fight back to the Supreme Court. Here are some states we should keep our eye on.

Kansas: On Tuesday, a bill was passed in the Kansas house which, among many things, would require doctors to inform their patients of the link between breast cancer and abortions. Here’s the thing, that link is totally bogus. Institutions like the World Health Organization and the American Cancer Society don’t believe in it, and other studies have completely debunked it. Oh, and that same bill? It wouldn’t allow rape and incest victims to get late term abortions. 

Missouri, Texas, Alaska: These states already have some form of law that requires a patient to be informed of that medically-incorrect breast cancer link.

North Dakota: Just this Friday, the North Dakota senate approved a law that would ban abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks (and that’s with an invasive vaginal ultrasound). It’s the strictest proposed abortion ban in the country. The bill is on its way to the Republican governor for signature. The North Dakota legislature is also attempting to further abortion bans by considering a “personhood amendment” which would define life as beginning at conception, which could essentially outlaw abortions altogether.

Arkansas: Just two weeks before the North Dakota legislature, Arkansas instituted an abortion ban after 12 weeks, which is the time when you can hear a heartbeat with an abdominal ultrasound. The Democratic governor vetoed the bill, but his veto was overridden in the legislature. It will go into effect this summer.

Nebraska: In 2010, Nebraska banned abortions after 20 weeks with the claim that fetuses feel pain. That law set off a wildfire, with other states like Oklahoma, Indiana and Louisiana passing similar “fetal pain” bills. Conversely, a judge in Idaho struck down that state’s take on the law just this month.

So why is a debate we had and settled on 40 years ago creeping back into political discourse? And will these states eventually erode Roe v. Wade altogether? And can they legally get away with it? Elizabeth Nash, states issue manager and the Guttmacher Institute, will tell us everything when she stops by “The War Room.” Tune in Wednesday night @ 6E/3P on Current TV for more.

(via reagan-was-a-horrible-president)

Arkansas lawmakers have voted to override Gov. Mike Beebe’s (D) veto of a 12-week abortion ban, ensuring that the legislation will go into effect this spring. SB 134 represents the worst abortion restriction in the nation — cutting off women’s access to legal abortion services well before the point of viability, which is typically around 24 weeks of pregnancy — and it is the first “fetal heartbeat” abortion measure to go into law. Here’s everything you need to know about this egregious attack on Arkansas’ women’s reproductive rights:

1. The governor vetoed it because it is unconstitutional.  But under Arkansas law, legislatures can override their governor’s vetoes with a simple majority vote in each chamber, and that’s what happened this week.

2. This isn’t the first stringent abortion ban that Arkansas Republicans have forced past the governor. Just last week, lawmakers voted to override Beebe’s veto fo a 20-week “fetal pain” abortion ban, ensuring the measure would immediately become law. Beebe also rejected that legislation over concerns about undermining Roe v. Wade, and the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to sue if it went into effect. But that wasn’t enough to stop Arkansas Republicans — and that wasn’t enough to stop them from pushing for an even stricter 12-week abortion ban to supersede the 20-week ban, either.

3. “Fetal heartbeat” bans aren’t rooted in any scientific logic. 

4. Arkansas is now home to the worst abortion ban in the country. Radical heartbeat bills popped up in states around the country at the beginning of this legislative session, but Arkansas and North Dakota are the only states to successfully advance heartbeat measures — and Arkansas is the very first state to actually enact one into law. The original version of the bill sought to ban abortions after just six weeks, and Rapert ended up amending it after a massive outcry. But pushing back the deadline by six weeks is hardly an improvement. Banning abortion services at just 12 weeks still goes much further than the 20-week bans abortion bans on the books in seven other states, making Arkansas’ law the strictest in the nation.

5. Republicans are fully aware they’re inviting a host of legal challenges.

H/T: Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress Health


JUST IN: The Arkansas Senate has overridden Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto of legislation banning most abortions starting in the 20th week of pregnancy. The law takes effect immediately, as the state House voted to override the veto Wednesday, AP reports.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas has vowed to challenge the law, which is based on the disputed claim that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks. Similar laws in other states are facing challenges.

After Republicans won big gains in the Arkansas legislature in the 2012 elections, they’ve wasted no time pushing their anti-abortion agenda in the state. Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (D) has already signed one new abortion restriction into law already, and he hasn’t specifically confirmed whether or not he’ll sign the other proposed anti-choice legislation in the works — including a radical “fetal heartbeat” bill that would ban abortions as early as 12 weeks of pregnancy.

But as RH Reality Check points out, the heartbeat bill could pass regardless of whether Beebe decides to support it. Under Arkansas law, a simple majority in the legislature can override the governor’s veto — so even if Beebe correctly concludes that the legislation is unconstitutional, the state senators who support the bill could vote again to override him. And, assuming that all of the legislators who have already voted in favor of the bill don’t change their minds, there are enough of them to assure its passage into law.

And the bill’s sponsor, Arkansas Sen. Jason Rapert (R), is already hard at work making the legislation more palpable for his fellow lawmakers. After women’s health advocates pointed out that Rapert’s original bill would mandate invasive probes for all women seeking abortions — since a transvaginal ultrasound is the only way to detect a fetal heartbeat in the first trimester of pregnancy — Rapert pushed back the cut-off to ban abortions after the point when a heartbeat can be detected with an abdominal ultrasound, usually around 12 weeks. The GOP lawmaker is also working to remove criminal penalties for the abortion doctors who perform the procedure after 12 weeks, and include additional exemptions in cases when women discover fetal abnormalities.

h/t: Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress Health

(via GOP Lawmaker Rapert Behind Abortion Ban: ‘We’re Not Going To Allow Minorities To Run Roughshod’)

On Wednesday, the Arkansas Senate approved an unconstitutional bill to ban abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. As The Nation’s Lee Fang noted Friday, this is part of a larger strategy by chief sponsor Sen. Jason Rapert (R) to remake America as a arch-conservative country.

Rapert explained his long-term goals in a racist 2011 rant at a Tea Party rally, as he bashed President Obama for hosting a Ramadan celebration:

RAPERT: I hear you loud and clear, Barack Obama. You don’t represent the country that I grew up with. And your values is [sic] not going to save us. We’re going to take this country back for the Lord. We’re going to try to take this country back for conservatism. And we’re not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over what you people believe in! 

2011 and 2012 were both record-breaking years for new abortion restrictions, and abortion opponents are aren’t showing signs of letting up this year. The “personhood” movement to endow zygotes with the full rights of U.S. citizens, effectively outlawing all abortions and even some forms of contraception, has largely been a failure — but that doesn’t mean anti-choice lawmakers are giving up their quest to redefine the medical terms of pregnancy. The push for “fetal heartbeat” bans is the next anti-choice movement to watch.

Fetal heartbeat measures seek to outlaw abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected — which can occur as early as six weeks, before many women even know they’re pregnant — in direct contradiction to Roe v. Wade, which guarantees women’s right to an abortion until the point of viability at about 23 or 24 weeks of pregnancy. Despite the fact that heartbeat bills are much more extreme than the 20-week abortion bans that are already floundering in court for running afoul of Roe v. Wade, anti-choice lawmakers in at least five states are flirting with this type of legislation:

– OHIO: Anti-choice lawmakers in Ohio first advanced a heartbeat bill in 2011. After the measure was stalled in the state senate for over a year, abortion opponents pressured the legislature to take up the issue again during their lame duck session after the 2012 elections. But ultimately, the bill didn’t come up for a vote because the state Senate leader, Tom Niehaus (R-OH), acknowledged it was too controversial even among abortion opponents. Niehaus said he wanted to wait until lawmakers anti-choice community reached consensus on the measure — which means it could be back on the agenda sometime this year.

– MISSISSIPPI: About a week into the new year, GOP lawmakers in Mississippi filed a fetal heartbeat bill virtually identical to the one that failed to make it out of committee during the state’s last legislative session. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) has already made it clear that he would sign such a bill if it ever reaches his desk. At a private anti-abortion event at the beginning of January, the governor confirmed that he supports banning abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected. “It would tell that mother, ‘Your child has a heartbeat,’” Bryant said.

– WYOMING: About two weeks ago, state Rep. Kendell Kroeker (R) introduced a measure to supersede the medical definition of viability. Current state law says abortions are prohibited after a fetus has “reached viability,” and Kroeker sought to replace those words with “a detectable fetal heartbeat.” The Republican lawmaker said the idea for his heartbeat bill just came to him one day because “it became clear that if a baby had a heartbeat, that seemed simple to me that it’s wrong to kill it.” On Monday, a House panel struck down Kroeker’s bill because it was too medically vague. But if Ohio and Mississippi are any indication, this likely won’t be the last time that fetal heartbeat legislation shows up in Wyoming.

– ARKANSAS: Republicans in Arkansas also hopped on the fetal heartbeat train this week, but they went a step further — state Sen. Jason Rapert’s (R) proposed heartbeat bill would prosecute the doctors who perform abortions after the arbitrary cut-off with a Class D felony, punishable by up to six years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. And thanks to the strong Republican majorities in Arkansas’ legislature, this piece of legislation has a good chance of advancing. It easily passed out of committee on Wednesday and is now headed to the state Senate, where 19 of the chamber’s total 35 members have already signed onto it as co-sponsors.

– NORTH DAKOTA: Like Arkansas, the anti-choice politicians in North Dakota want to prosecute the doctors who perform abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected — and their heartbeat ban was part of the “flurry” of anti-abortion bills that lawmakers rushed to introduce around last week’s Roe v. Wade anniversary. A House committee is currently considering the measure, along with an even more radical “personhood” proposal. North Dakota has already imposed some the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the nation, and women’s health advocates in the state warn that the passage of these new bills “would be tantamount to banning abortion” altogether.

Three of the states on this list — Mississippi, Arkansas, and North Dakota — only have a single surgical abortion clinic left in the entire state, which means women already have to overcome significant geographic barriers to obtain an abortion. 

h/t: Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress

The last two nights of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show featured segments on how abortion rights are under attack in 4 states (Arkansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota), both by anti-choice zealots and GOP Governors (Bryant [MS], Dalrymple [ND], Daugaard [SD]) and their legislatures, as part of the War On Women playbook to drastically curtail and/or end abortion rights and to defund Planned Parenthood, to name a few. 

Mississippi’s last women’s health clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, could be closed down due to anti-choice extremist Governor Phil Bryant (R)’s wishes that "Mississippi should be an abortion-free state." If his plan successfully goes through, it would be the 1st state since the highly controversial 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling by SCOTUS to effectively ban abortion. 

Of the four states with only one women’s health service clinic (or abortion provider) left in their respective states, all except Arkansas currently has a GOP Governor running the state. All four of the states listed have both their state Houses and Senates under GOP control.

Full blogpost at Daily Kos

ST. LOUIS • Former KMOV (Channel 4) anchor Vickie Newton apparently left her St. Louis job in part to get away from a cyberstalker.

In an article published in the online magazine “The Village Celebration,” Newton says that she was cyberstalked for the past five years, and that she hoped moving back to her home state of Arkansas would end the abuse.

Instead, Newton said that the harassment has intensified.

“I don’t know who is stalking me and I don’t know what the end game is,” Newton says in the article. “Recently, some of the postings have included key words that describe rooms in my home, family members’ names are included and so the level of the threat is more aggressive.”

Newton says she has contacted the attorney general in Arkansas and the FBI in both Arkansas and St. Louis. She and her parents also hired a technology expert, installed new security systems and changed locks, the story says.

The stalker has described the sterling silver picture frames in her master suite, the article says, and the alarm at her Arkansas lake house was going off while she was in St. Louis at early hours in the morning, but no one was ever found.


LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat and the only announced candidate for governor in 2014, admitted Tuesday that he had an inappropriate relationship with a Hot Springs attorney after court documents were filed alleging they had a sexual affair.

McDaniel, who has been married since June 2009, said he had a relationship with Andrea L. Davis, but would not offer details.

McDaniel announced in June that he would run for governor in 2014, and has already raised more than $1 million for his bid. Tricia Wallace, a spokeswoman for McDaniel, said he did not plan to drop out of the race due to Tuesday’s admission.

McDaniel was first elected attorney general in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010 without any major party opposition.

The admission is a major setback for Democrats, who had hoped to rebound from an election this year where Republicans won control of thestate Legislature for the first time in 138 years. The state GOP had targeted the governor’s race and Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor’s re-election bid as their top prizes in two years.

Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe is term-limited and cannot run for re-election in 2014.

Republicans stopped short of criticizing McDaniel, but indicated they viewed it as an issue in the governor’s race.

"This is just another factor the voters of Arkansas will have to consider as they look to choose their next governor," state GOP spokeswoman Katherine Vasilos said.

Potential rivals also held off on criticizing McDaniel directly over the relationship.

"That’s something he’ll deal with with his family. I don’t really have a response," said Republican state Sen. Johnny Key, who is considering a run for governor in two years.

McDaniel’s campaign last week claimed its internal polling shows the attorney general could defeat former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter or highway commissioner John Burkhalter for the Democratic nomination in 2014, and that a general election race against Republican Asa Hutchinson would be closer.




New Jersey:

North Carolina: