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Minimum wage plan meets initial signature count

Minimum wage plan meets initial signature count
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A proposal to gradually raise Arkansas' minimum wage is one step closer to appearing on the November ballot after petitions for the measure passed an initial signature count. Secretary of State Mark Martin said Wednesday an initial count found that 64,000 signatures were submitted for the proposed initiated act backed by Give Arkansas a Raise Now. The group needs 62,507 signatures from registered voters to qualify for the ballot. The office is now checking to make sure the signatures are from registered voters. Clearing the initial count means supporters of the measure can have 30 more days to gather additional signatures if they fall short during the verification stage. The proposal would raise Arkansas' minimum wage from $6.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour by 2017. (Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Law change creates possible public auction deals

Law change creates possible public auction deals

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - There's a boost coming to public auctions pushing to get tax money back from delinquent properties.

The state's biggest public sale arrives Tuesday at Verizon Arena.

A recent change in the law starts bidding at how much is owed in taxes, not assessed value.

Commissioner of State Lands, John Thurston, said that it's changing the crowd at the sale.

"And it's bringing more folks out. People that may not have had as deep a pocket can actually come out and be involved in the bidding," said Thurston.

Bidding can begin possibly thousands of dollars lower, but be aware, even if you pay a small amount at the auction, there are still several possibly steep expenses that come with tax delinquent property.

 

Affordable Care Act enrollment down

Affordable Care Act enrollment down

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - As of February, more than 4.2 million people have signed up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

With less than a month to hit enrollment targets, federal data released on Tuesday shows that signups slowed last month, with fewer than 950,000 people choosing a plan.

And, less than 50 percent of eligible Arkansans have selected a plan.

The state health department believes the low numbers may be because of confusion.

The most common misconception comes from eligible people thinking they're automatically covered, but you must enroll in order to get coverage.

Here's the four things you need to sign up:

Impasse over Arkansas Medicaid expansion drags on

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Legislation continuing Arkansas' first-in-the-nation plan to use Medicaid funds to purchase insurance for the poor has failed before the state House for a fourth day in a row.

The House voted 71-18 Friday to reauthorize funding for the "private option," four votes shy of the 75 needed to continue the program that was approved last year as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health care law.

The Senate on Thursday voted to approve the legislation.

Arkansas was the first state to win federal approval for such a plan, and several other Republican-leaning states are exploring or pursuing similar models.

House leaders have said they'll continue to vote on the measure until it passes.

More headlines:

Lawmakers tackle 'Private Option'

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The Arkansas legislature will meet on Monday to begin the state's third fiscal session.

One of the biggest decisions they face - is whether to fund what's known as the "Private Option".

State Representative John Burris joined THV's Alyse Eady with more.

DHS officials told lawmakers on Tuesday that there's no time restriction for the state to end the "private option" that was approved last year as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health care law. Under the private option, Arkansas is using federal Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for thousands of low-income residents.

Opponents of the plan have questioned whether the federal waiver for the program complies with the state law authorizing it.

Arkansas lawmakers approve insurance exchange funds

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas lawmakers have narrowly approved federal funding to continue operating the insurance marketplace under the federal health care law, despite objections from some Republican legislators over the overhaul's rocky start.

The Arkansas Legislative Council on Friday approved the $10.6 million grant for the insurance exchange. The insurance exchange is an online marketplace set up under the federal law where consumers can shop for policies. The panel approved the grant on a 21-18 vote.

The grant was approved after some GOP members of the committee vented frustration with the start of the exchange, including Internet glitches that prevented many from signing up for coverage when it launched in October.

Arkansas is operating its exchange in partnership with the federal government.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Carter appoints health insurance board

Carter appoints health insurance board

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas House Speaker Davy Carter (District 43-Cabot) announced three appointments to the Board of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace.

The 89th General Assembly passed Act 1500 which creates the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace.  The legislation also creates the Board of Directors which will plan and administer a new online site designed for individuals to find health coverage.  The Board will hire the Executive Director and necessary staff.

          The Act requires the Speaker of the Arkansas House to appoint three individuals to the Board.  Speaker Carter has appointed Sherrill Wise of Little Rock, Dr. Jerry Jones of Cabot, and Greg Hatcher of Little Rock.