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Arkansas Week

Watch Friday nights at 7:30 p.m. on AETN (Repeats Sundays at 11:00 a.m.)

"Arkansas Week" highlights a dedicated, distinguished group of Arkansas journalists and political scientists who discuss issues in the news.

"Arkansas Week" is hosted by Steve Barnes. Barnes has been on the air in the Natural State since 1968 when he started as a copy boy on weekends at KTHV-TV Channel 11 in Little Rock. His adept hand at leading journalists and others in a discussion of current events complements his encyclopedic knowledge of the state, its players and its past. Barnes has not only become one of the most recognizable and respected people within Arkansas, but has connected with a national audience through work published in the New York Times, fed to the Reuters news service and shown on networks ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and PBS. He has been a recipient of the University of Arkansas’ journalist of the year award, as well as receiving first prize for television documentary awarded by the Society of Professional Journalists.

AETN welcomes viewers to submit suggestions for discussion topics through e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter.

Arkansas Week Title Graphic

Most Recent

  • Arkansas Week July 31, 2015
    (Common Core) A contentious curriculum debate, Is rebranding the answer? (Highways) Some relief from Washington, three months's worth. (P.P.) Unsurprising unanimity on fetal tissue… (2Q) …and some not unexpected yet still welcome news about the economy.
  • Arkansas Week July 24, 2015
    (DT/HRC) Two major candidates from two parties in two nights, but they saved the news for elsewhere. (JB/TC) Two U.S. Senators of one party from one state, and a difference on one foreign policy question. (Act 137) One state, one statute, but others in play and cities going their own way. (Jobs) And a crucial index continues to inch toward the better.
  • Arkansas Week July 17, 2015
    (Understaffed) Arkansas's child welfare system: too many cases and not enough workers. (Overcrowded) Arkansas's prison population: growing fast, among other problems. (Underwhelmed) The deal with Iran: the state's congressional leaders aren't impressed. (Overflowing) And 2016, the presidential campaign comes to Arkansas.
  • Arkansas Week July 10, 2015
    (Same-Sex Marriage) Two weeks after a Supreme Court ruling, the ramifications continue, (Ten Commandments) A display approved by the legislature has others calling for their own, (ACT) After being rejected last month, a change in standardized testing is approved, (Clinton and Trump) And two presidential hopefuls are heading to Arkansas.
  • Arkansas Week July 3, 2015
    (The Fallout) Ripple effects in Arkansas from last week's historic ruling on same-sex marriage. (The Court) Two more 5-4 rulings from the Supremes on executions and energy. (The Fight) The attorney general takes on the EPA over water. (The Trail) And GOP candidate jumps in while Clinton counts the money.
  • Arkansas Week June 26, 2015
    (SCOTUS) A major court ruling on same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act. (PARCC) Despite a board vote, the Governor says he can withdraw the state from an assessment test. (Confederate Flag) Is it a symbol of hate or southern pride? (Highways) And a first meeting by a group working to find a solution for highway funding. 
  • Arkansas Week June 19, 2015
    (On Alert) A shooting at the Little Rock Air Force Base leaves one man dead and lots of questions. (Standing Down) An embattled state Legislator says he won't seek re-election. (Standing Up) Ahead of an historic ruling, the Baptists won't budge. (On Tour) The governor's working European vacation.
  • Arkansas Week June 12, 2015
    (PARCCed?) He's the governor's education director, but it's not yet the governor's board. (Abroad) It is the governor's economic development program, and he's taking it across the pond. (Same-sex) If it cooled to a simmer, it's back to a boil. (Duggars) As are the troubles of an Arkansas family, their advocates, and those simply trying to sort it out.
  • Arkansas Week June 5, 2015
    (DF&A) The revenue report, good news for the new administration. (Dollars) The economy that produced the good news. How secure is its footing? (Trade) As far as farm exports, it's again Cuba si, Cotton no. (GOP) And the governing party. How painful its growing pains?
  • Arkansas Week May 29, 2015
    (Session) Ninety-million in bonds, an earlier primary and a reorganization. (Highways) Potholes and a stopgap proposal for patching them. (Abortion) An appellate court rules as expected, but with a cautionary. (Outlook) But first, industry, incentives and the workforce.
  • Arkansas Week May 22, 2015
    (Bonds) Eighty-Seven million plus of course, interest. What's the return? (2016) The primaries, March windiness, April appropriations. (HRC, MH) A former governor avoids Iowa, a former First Lady avoids reporters. (Oversight?) And those drug busts, do they raise a larger public policy question?
  • Arkansas Week May 15, 2015
    (Bonds) How big the bonds? The total will exceed the thousands. (‘16) Another issue looms when Arkansas votes. (LGBT) A city votes, putting a state law at issue. (TPP) And on another matter, our GOP senators side with our Democrat President.
  • Arkansas Week May 8, 2015
    (DF&A) April '15 was not the cruelist month, but is fiscal '17 frowning? (LGBT) If one supreme court is waiting on another, some local governments are moving ahead. (MH/HRC) Our two presidential candidates, one differentiating, the other doubling down. (LRSD) But first, the state and the state's largest school district, is there a way forward?
  • Arkansas Week May 1, 2015
    (P.O.) The Private Option. How to end it without ending it? (Dollars) Against that question, some additional encouraging numbers. (Milligan) It's tenure at the four-month mark, some confusion in the state treasurer's office. (LGBT) And will local governments pick up where the state left off?
  • Arkansas Week April 24, 2015
    (LGBT) The Little Rock directors and human rights, is litigation with the state around the corner? (LRSD) The Little Rock schools, they're the state's responsibility. Is there a way forward? (XOM) A fine and a pledge in the Pegasus pipeline spill… (DHS) …and yet another if expected investigation of state human services.
  • Arkansas Week April 17, 2015
    (SCOARK) Three new justices for one new case and now what? (LGBT) Arkansas capital city, on a collision course with state law? (SBE) A report card from the state on local schools. (HRC) A campaign at long last official.
  • Arkansas Week April 10, 2015
    (Medicaid) The sessino may be over but several issues linger, one in particular. (Workforce) Prepping Arkansans for a changing economy. Some serious steps? (Barack y Fidel) How soon can an old U.S. adversary become a new Arkansas customer? (SCOARK) But first, a state Supreme Court openly at war with itself.
  • Arkansas Week April 3, 2015
    (90th) A legislative session that began smoothly grinds to a close. (1228) Was the state damaged, and if so, how much? (Overview) We'll ask leaders of both chambers and both parties to sum up the session. (JPH) And we'll note the passing of an Arkansas political pioneer.
  • Arkansas Week March 27, 2015
    (Florida) A new economic development leader from the Sunshine State. (Alabama) A closer look at DHS via Alabama. (Texas) Some state inmates will bumk in Texas. (Arkansas) And an Arkansas AG goes to Washington to fight the EPA.
  • Arkansas Week March 20, 2015
    (Payday) Paydirt? Or just and proper compensation? (50%) Capital gains. A disappearing exemption reappears. (Harris) Re-homing. The legislation and the legislator. (4/3) But first, A divided state Supreme Court and the death penalty.
  • Arkansas Week March 13, 2015
    (Adoption) Controversy, contention, on. (Schools) A busy session for education. Will it be a good one? (Cotton) Evidently unshaken, the freshman from Arkansas sets off a stir. (HRC) And her party's presumptive nominee, does she presume too much?
  • Arkansas Week February 27, 2015
    (Three Gs) It's not a wireless speed, it's the culture clash at the Capitol. (Highways) With a signal from the governor, the general fund is off limits, for now. (Lottery) A new branch of DF&A, but does that address the problem? (Dial-up?) And speaking of the Internet, the bandwidth of the Arkansas delegation.
  • Arkansas Week February 20, 2015
    (ADC) The governor's plan for prisons, how much help will 32 million dollars buy? (Schools) A new district, how to create one? ...or not. (Fluoride) Local control, a concept that seems increasingly elastic. (Wal-Mart) And Arkansas's global giant makes a billion dollar decision.
  • Arkansas Week February 13, 2015
    (Overflow) Too many inmates and too little space. I'm trying, says the governor. (Lottery) Turning it over to another state agency. Could that be the ticket? (Civil?) Two momentous figures, one holiday, no resolution. (Core) And another task force. Lighting a fuse, or cutting one?
  • Arkansas Week February 6, 2015
    (Asa-care) All that political bloodshed we predicted. What do we know? (60?) The short sweet session everyone always wants, not so wild a dream. (Dollars) The recovery seems to be gaining momentum, if you have a job. (Asphalt) But somewhere down the road, roads.
  • Arkansas Week January 30, 2015
    (Asa-care) Health care reform, a governor with the wind at his back. (5.2 Billion) His budget for his first fiscal year. Spare to begin with now 10 million tighter. (LRSD) The state's largest school district, under new management. Or is it? (5.7 Percent) And another signal of an improving Arkansas economy.
  • Arkansas Week January 23, 2015
    (AsaCare) It was the private option, now it has another name. (3/4) And now the task of getting the legislative majorities, it needs to continue. (Taxes) Getting a new governor's revenue program through the general assembly seems the snap it was predicted, even with a surprise amendment. (LRSD) And a looming decision for the state education board and the state's largest school district.
  • Arkansas Week January 16, 2015
    (46) The oath, the address, some appointments, some executive orders. (Dollars) His tax program, if approval is a given, what about his budget? (Shakeout) Personnel changes in other offices as well, as well as in higher ed. (Maggio) And the judicial scandal centered in Faulkner County what's next?
  • Arkansas Week January 9, 2015
    (Taxes) That campaign promise? Full speed ahead (Highways) Asphalt and concrete? On hold for the moment. (Same-sex) A new Supreme Court, a pending appeal. (LRSD) And the state's largest school district. What's the state to do?
  • Arkansas Week December 19, 2014
    (Cuba) A breakthrough for Arkansas commerce, but how big the political collision? (Ruble) Arkansas drivers smiling, Russian bankers fainting. (2016) Oh, yes, the season's underway, and we're not talking Christmas. (Adieu) And a tip of the hat to the newsmakers and newspeople who left us in the year ending. 
  • Arkansas Week December 12, 2014
    (Same-sex) The Supreme Court in a holding pattern, with Fayetteville changing course. (pre-K) Cash from the feds where the state doubts it can tread. (Entergy) A billion-collar purchase by the state's largest power provider… (M.D.) …but first, how healthy is Arkansas, and how to make it healthier.
  • Arkansas Week December 5, 2014
    (Asa) The governor-elect, shaping his government, lobbying for his tax program. (Roads) The lame duck incumbent, a plug for a continuing highway tax. (Gas) Cheaper fuel and grateful drivers. More dollars for asphalt? (Prisons) And incarceration, more talk of cheaper options.
  • Arkansas Week November 28, 2014
    (Same-sex) A federal judge rules for the plaintiffs, the state court contemplates. (Asa) The governor-elect shapes a government in waiting with some familiar names. (Crime) Another prison? It didn't seem likely and even less likely now. (GOP) And the economy… Can the nice national numbers trickle down?
  • Arkansas Week November 21, 2014
    (Asa) A governor-elect and the government he's forming. The first decisions. (Pre-K) The big one, of course, is the budget. Could one of the smaller items suggest what's to come? (Marriage) Oral arguments in two Arkansas courtrooms on a polarizing issue… (D.C.) …and Washington, ah Washington.
  • Arkansas Week November 14, 2014
    (Fiscal Year 2016) A lame duck urges restraint. Should his successor retrain his urges? (Red/Blue) The next legislature, how much 'bi-' in bipartisan? (Pardons) Absolution, a difficult, sometimes delicate matter. (2016) And a former governor who well understands takes a harder look at the big prize.
  • Arkansas Week November 7, 2014
    (2014) It's safe to turn on your television again, if that turns you on. (2014) There were few safe places on Tuesday for Arkansas Democrats. (2014) What happened and why, (2015) ...and what it means for the governors and the governed.
  • Arkansas Week October 31, 2014
    (Senate) If it's not down to the wire, the nominees are pretty good actors. (Governor) Endorsements, more endorsements. How much of a difference if any? (Arkansas Districts 1, 2, 3, and 4) Will the composition of the congretional delegation change? (90th General Assembly) And the next General Assembly, the Stakes. Trick or Treat? Take your pick.
  • Arkansas Week October 24, 2014
    (Tom/Mark) A Republican says he's rolling in dough. A Democrat says he's rolling out new voters. (Asa/Mike) Two nominees and public education, would school consolidation again be on the table? (Leslie/Nate) Downballot, an theics inquiry and an endorsement. (Bruce/James Lee) And with election day approaching, no more nice guy. 
  • Arkansas Week October 17, 2014
    (Senate) Obama and the billionaires, not a rock group but there was rock-and-roll. (Governor) Obamacare, the private option, tax cuts and a Chinese communist. (Lt. Gov.) An office that's vital to the survival of the free world. (Attorney General) An office that's vital to everything else. (3rd Quarter) And is it still the economy, a little? And if it is, how's it doing?
  • Arkansas Week October 10, 2014
    (Senate) The two least known candidates may have had a better week than the two best known. (Governor) The major Party nominees again meet face-to-face, but did the needle move? (FY '16) For both statehouse candidates and the legislature a warning, another, from the outgoing governor. (Crittenden) And a bankrupt hospital, who knew what and for how long?
  • Arkansas Week October 3, 2014
    (2014) The political buzz, it shifts from the Senate race to one a bit farther down ballot. (Debates) The Cotton-Pryor contest, the face-to-face details are finally done. (SCOARK) Oral arguments in a case that could make a difference in a tight race. (Parole) And a savage killing keeps the spotlight on the dynamics of early release.
  • Arkansas Week September 26, 2014
    (2014) The polls, the spots, the spending, an update. (Tension) Oh, and the sparks, and there's more of that to come as well. (SCOARK) And the lawsuits, with issues they're inevitable… (Training) …and jobs, how to equip Arkansans to fill them?
  • Arkansas Week September 12, 2014
    (PO/GAO/ACA) The cost of health care, do the numbers match the premise and the promise? (Issues) The minimum wage and statewide booze, will the numbers withstand a challenge? (2014) The state and district campaigns, highly debatable. (LRSD) And a state that thought it saw the end of state assistance might should think again.
  • Arkansas Week September 5, 2014
    (The Ballot) Two key questions go up for a vote. How does that affect the rest of field? (The Supremes) Action in two cases set the stage for big rulings by the state’s high court. (The Race) How health care reform is shaping this fall’s marquee match-ups. (The Debt) The former lieutenant governor, paid in full.
  • Arkansas Week August 29, 2014
    (2014) The campaigns, Senate and the Statehouse. We'll have an update. (P.O.) There's some good news on the affordable care front, but is it sustainable? (PSE/ASE) There's another insurance problem in Arkansas and no news is not good news. (Broke-rages) And turmoil for some Delta farmers, could it be that government isn't big enough?
  • Arkansas Week August 22, 2014
    (GOPower?) A who's who of the Republican establishment parachutes in for the ticket. (Demo-graphics) Can the party under siege count on its one-solid constituencies? (Issues) Can items that may or may not be on the ballot shape the outcome? (3 Million) And how would you like to be the one to run a state lottery?
  • Arkansas Week August 15, 2014
    (Motivation) Labor Day's just around the corner and the campaigns are trying to round it. (Litigation) Two big cases to follow, both with real money at stake and real implications for public policy. (C6) Reducing it, sure; but not everyone is sure how to do it and how fast. (H20) And could a proposed publid-private partnership save a trillion gallons?
  • Arkansas Week August 8, 2014
    (12.4 percent) Some health insurance numbers to crow about, and there was some crowing. (GOP) What does it mean for some Republicans in the legislature and on the stump? (AR-GOV) In the race for the statehouse we'll update the rhetoric and perhaps the reality... and have a tea-leaf look at the economy the winner will inherit.
  • Arkansas Week August 1, 2014
    (Health) In a new fiscal year and with a new school year at hand, new rates for insurance. (Dow-n) Amid the good economic news, some new and old probleams conspire. (AR) In the race to reach the state Capitol, is anyone really ahead? (DC) And in the race to leave the nation's capitol, was anything actually accomplished?
  • Arkansas Week July 25, 2014
    (The Cost) Two courts throw a key component of health reform in question, and in Arkansas, we weigh the cost. (The Toll) Is it time to start charging drivers on I-40? And what’s the future of highway funding in the state? (The Proposal) One ballot proposal gets more time, but another draws more opposition. (The Campaign) Courting constituents on the farm as November looms.
  • Arkansas Week July 18, 2014
    (Votes) We're watching the Arkansas Senate race, but our eyes are all on Washington. (Dollars) Does Money spell Winner? (Debates) More debates but do they matter? (Revenues) Wither the lottery.
  • Arkansas Week July 11, 2014
    (Minimum Wage) Petition signatures are now being verified by the state. Will there be enough to get on the ballet? (Pryor) The incumbent senator removes footage from a campaign ad after being accused of politicizing a tragedy. (Cotton) His Republican opponent meanwhile is facing criticizism privately from those within his own party. (Session) And moving forward with the issues that brought lawmakers together last week.
  • Arkansas Week June 27, 2014
    (Session) Teacher health insurance and criminal justice - three days and cut? (E-games) In or out this time, another issue not likely to die. (IT-ussle) Another conflict, another special session? (Tea-d off) And the mood in Dixie, the Tea Party wins one but loses another.
  • Arkansas Week June 20, 2014
    (A fix?) The cost of health insurance, teachers and administrators getting antsy. (P.O.) The Arkansas adaptation, should the enrolled get ready to pay? (HRC) Twice a former first lady, thrice an author, does the latest book mean twice the candidate? (John Miller) And an appreciation of a legendary Arkansas Legislator.
  • Arkansas Week June 13, 2014
    (Runoffs)  The second primary and the victor, spotlight GOP.  (P.O.) One race in particular what will it mean for the private option and the January session.  (Schism) Will Arkansas republicans follow the regional trend?  (Premiums)  With time running short is there a way out on teacher health coverage?
  • Arkansas Week June 6, 2014
    (Tuesday) The runoff is days away, we'll have a rundown of the races. (Senate) For Democrats the long march to November isn't getting shorter. (Grass roots) Yet another attempt at medical marijuana, has anything changed? (Session?) And teacher insurance, is a solution at hand, and for how long?
  • Arkansas Week May 30, 2014
    (P.O.) Enrollment touches 170,000, how much higher? (V.A.) A health care story of a different kind, with its own political dynamic. (11/14) In the two big statewide races, on to November. (M&A) And in business, two Arkansas giants get gianter.
  • Arkansas Week May 23, 2014
    (Re-cap) The primary shakeout, and a handful of runoffs, we'll run through them. (P.O.) The private option, a first read of the January tea leaves. (Stayed) Gay marriage, what to expect after the expected stay? (Growth) And the business of Arkansas, how much bigger?
  • Arkansas Week May 16, 2014
    (Same-sex) Gay and lesbian marriage in Arkansas, it's the Supreme Court's case. (Fallout) It's a case filled with political implications, for candidates in all three branches. (Senate) An issue in another race suddenly isn't, at least to the nominees... (Judges) ...and the same court that's hearing the same-sex case ends the suspense in another.
  • Arkansas Week May 9, 2014
    (2014) Arkansas is voting, the first ballots of the primaries. (UA) Lobbying for higher ed, a bi-partisan approach. (Obama) The President in Arkansas, unavoidably political? (M and A) But first, banking in Arkansas, is it swallow or be swallowed?
  • Arkansas Week May 2, 2014
    (SCOARK) Three new justices for a seven-member court and a warm potato. (i.d.) With early voting about to begin and the primaries at hand, we'll have the latest, maybe. (Reed) A resignation, a leave of absence, and more questions. (Twisters) But first, the storms did their frightful work, did the response mechanism do its job?
  • Arkansas Week April 25, 2014
    (i.d.) Show your card before voting? Maybe not, but it's not over. (P.O.) The Arkansas approach, are the numbers behind the numbers cause for concern? (Senate '14) Arkansas's marquee contest, has the incumbent found his footing? (A.C.A.) And could Obamacare, somehow, some way, have a role in it?
  • Arkansas Week April 18, 2014
    (Senate '14) The challenger demands satisfaction, not one duel but several. (1Q Dollars) The political money, in the Senate race and the others. (Overdues) Will, or when will, the judicial question reach the Justices, and which Justices? (Blind?) But first, how apolitical can justice in Arkansas be?
  • Arkansas Week April 11, 2014
    (Arrears) The Arkansas judiciary and just dues, are they just dues? (Maggio) An ever murkier situation in the case of one judge, a judge with no cases. (2014) And with the prospect of another red tide, how much difference can lunchbucket issues make for state Democrats?
  • Arkansas Week April 4, 2014
    (Ballot?) The judges of Arkansas, will some of them get their just dues? (Baker) Judging it was time to go, a university lobbyist PACs it in. (Dollars) Five of nine judges open the campaign finance door yet wider. (DFandA) While the new numbers make the state's picture a bit brighter.
  • Arkansas Week March 28, 2014
    (Maggio) The political blurs the judicial, so much so the state Supreme Court benches a judge. (Rapert0Tyler) Senatorial prerogrative: does it signal a trened in legislative politics? (Snags?) There's potiential trouble on two rivers, where they meet and below. (Slick) And a year after Mayflower discovered Pegasus - what now?
  • Arkansas Week March 21, 2014
    (Sine Die) Barring any emergencies that's it for this year, though not the fiscal year. (Fracked) Regarding the fiscal, a veto and an easy override. (Strikedown) That abortion law from the previous session? The toughest part falls. (D.C.) And a call to Congress for action from Arkansas's public and private sector.
  • Arkansas Week March 14, 2014
    (Recess) All that's left to do is sine die, and of course manage. (2015) A new team arrives next year with new leadership. However, to confront what? (Salaries) Perhaps teacher pay, in the long shadow of Lake View. (Scandal) And with the primaries upon us and November around the corner, public officials behaving badly.
  • Arkansas Week March 7, 2014
    (76) It took five tries but the Private Option survived with one vote to spare. ('15) Next year, though, will its supporters have the votes they need? (122M) In the meantime, how much to spend and how much for the cookie jar? ('14) And this year's ticket, suggesting what for next year's politics?
  • Arkansas Week February 28, 2014
    (PO-ED) With tempers beginning to show, the speaker puts the private option on hold. (TEA-ED OFF) How much of a stand-off is political and how much is personal.  (Session?) What's happens if the latest reported compromise falls through? ('14-'15) And what does the showdown suggest for this years elections, and next year's legislature?
  • Arkansas Week February 21, 2014
    (P.O.) On the north side, a first vote, then another, then another… (28) On the south end, one vote, with one vote to spare. (Taxes) Should they call the roll now and do the math later? ($8.50) And a candidate is one thing, but a major employer?
  • Arkansas Week February 14, 2014
    (Option) That's it, says the Speader. Next week, the vote. (Outlook) Will the Senate go along? …and if it does, have opponents still carried the day? (Debt) In that other Capitol, the politics of pensions and the deficit… (Judges) …and the politics of the non-political branch.
  • Arkansas Week February 7, 2014
    (2/10) It's just around the corner now, so what's around the corner? (Staff) What's to do for four employees of an empty office? (Rates) A tax program from one presumptive nominee, scorned by the other… (Receipts) …and how much room will there be for either approach?
  • Arkansas Week January 31, 2014
    (Health) Clean shaven or fuzzy, the private option and the push to preserve it. (Numbers) With days remaining before the session, what are it's demos? (Jobs, GDP) The nation's econometrics and Arkansas's... (Farm) ...including the ag sector, and the legislative breakthrough.
  • Arkansas Week January 24, 2014
    (Option(s)) If the Arkansas versions is in trouble, how much trouble? (UA/F) If the trustees see an end what kind of end? (Ballot) The amendment quandary, a way out? (Farm) And four-dollar milk, a way around it?
  • Arkansas Week January 17, 2013
    (Pulco) Twenty-five years and a billion dollars, now what? (Darr) A defiant lame duck, a soon-to-be-vacant office, now what? (Senate) 57/43 means 21/15, which means what? (Option) And even if enrollment is up, what's up?
  • Arkansas Week January 10, 2014
    (Darr) A dilemma for his own party, a delight for the Democrats. (UA/F) The hearing… did anyone hear anything? (Economy) The outlook for 2014 in dollars and cents… (Politics) …and the outlook in dollars and maybe sense.
  • Arkansas Week Special Edition with Senator Mark Pryor
  • Arkansas Week Special Edition with Senator John Boozman