Arkansas Week

"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

Episode Listing

  • Arkansas Week December 14, 2018
    (Medicaid and Money) The state budget and its big-ticket issues, click or keypad, nursing home or home care? (Tax Cuts, Tax Caution) How to fund that and the rest of the government? The governor's plan, or some alternatives? (Soybeans Under Siege) A farm bill at last, but how far can it go to keeping farmers in the black? (Infrastructure in '19?) And this, can both houses and the White House produce a highway bill that fits Arkansas? Arkansas Week, in just a moment.
  • Arkansas Week November 23, 2018
    (The Fall Semester) High school seniors and not a few juniors, and a lot of parents, and the cost of college. (Scholarships, grants) What are the options the state and national capitols make available and how affordable are they? (The Arkansas Lottery) The gigantic game of chance that makes some of those scholarships possible, will other games of chance soon have an impact? (Tuition, Fees, Room, Board, Books) Higher education in Arkansas, the dollars it requires of students and families, and the financial outlook for the next freshman class.
  • Arkansas Week November 16, 2018
    (Lean or Mean) A second term now his, Asa Hutchinson offers a budget that he calls lean and some critics call mean. (Tax Targets) His lease renewed, the governor renews his drive for lower taxes. (Concrete Results?) Still up in the air, transportation on the ground. When and what kind of a highway program? (The Heat is On) And the economy, still running on overdrive, what does it suggest for the governor and the legislature?
  • Arkansas Week November 9, 2018
    (Red, Red, Redder) Blue wave? Blue tide? Not in Arkansas. (A Crimson Capitol) Republicans retain every executive branch office and do it without breathing hard, and, keep the legislative almost as easily. (A Triumph of Gender) The big bipartisan winners, the women who ran and the women who helped them. (Scott v. Kurrus) But there's one more race yet to be decided, a local campaign  that's attracting statewide attention.
  • Arkansas Week November 2, 2018
    (Renewal or rejection?) For the nation they're mid-terms, for some Arkansas politicians will they be simply mid-tenures? (Red-Blue-Purple?) Can once-dominant Democrats regain their footing at the local and district level? (The Trump Effect) The incumbent president retains his job performance rating in Arkansas, but is that an asset in every precinct? (Arkansas Poll '18) But first, with spirited early voting ahead of Tuesday's showdown, what do we know about the Arkansas political mindset?
  • Arkansas Week October 26, 2018
    (Presidential boost?) At times he may annoy them, he may embarrass them, frustrate them, but are Arkansas's Republican incumbents newly grateful? (1st Amendment v. Fairness?) An especially frustrated Arkansas jurist turns again to the courts, and the issue again is political speech. (Casinos, IDs, Wages) Her court has tossed torts and term limits off the ballot, but what of the three other issues that remain? (Early voting begins) For the citizen who doesn't want to wait… he or she doesn't have to, and not a few are choosing to not wait. PANELISTS Christopher Housenick - Arkansas Tech Univ., Political Science Dept. Lance Turner - Arkansas Business Rob Moritz - UCA, Journalism Dept. 
  • Arkansas Week October 19, 2018
    (Countdown to November) Early voting begins Monday and the big Tuesday is two weeks and change away. Where stands Arkansas in the mid-term? (Supremes Challenged) The state's highest court – almost as controversial now as the issues before it. (Issue 1, No Go) Under fire though it is, the Court remains in business, to the disappointment of business, among others. (Minimum Wage) But first, an issue that remains on the ballot, and the votes will be counted.
  • Arkansas Week October 12, 2018
    (Red, Blue, Purple?) With the clock ticking toward election day how much voter uncertainty remains? (Hot button issues) The Supreme Court clears the way for a consensus on casinos, and voter i.d., just two of the issues that could bring Arkansans to the polls, or maybe keep them away. (Legislative contests) The down ballot, is 2018 a rebuilding year for the Democrats as well as the Razorbacks? (Gray, Pakko, Webb) A dozen campaigns,  a handful of ballot issues, uncertain turnout.
  • Arkansas Week October 5, 2018
    ('Transformation'?) Greater efficiency at a lower cost, says the governor, but can he persuade the legislature, the lobbyists, the bureaucracy and the electorate? (Rising revenues) Another robust month for the state treasury, additional fuel on the tax-cut fire. (Kavanaugh/Arkansas) A Senate spectacle in Washington, what impact here among voters of both parties? (Focus, Issue 4) But first, the latest campaign for casinos in Arkansas – pass or don't pass, 7-11 or boxcars? We'll hear both sides.
  • Arkansas Week September, 28, 2018
    (Contortive or compensatory?) Are excessive jury awards an economic millstone or essentially a myth? (Contingency Conflict) Legal fees, how much is too much, and how should that be decided? (Separation of Powers) The administration of justice, when one branch of government sets the rules for another, how easy should it be? (Issue 1) Both sides of a very controversial proposal.
  • Arkansas Week September 21, 2018
    (Un-due Process?) Ethics or the absence there of have dominated the political season, and now the state's highest court is itself in the dock. (Ballot Battles) Five proposals for Arkansas voters and seven, or eight, justices to weigh four of them. (Dark Ads) Political spots and the money behind them, how much more transparency will there truly be? (Issue 2, Voter ID) But first, how much and what kind should be required at the polling place?
  • Arkansas Week September 14, 2018
    (Fund Fraud) The last of the known offenders in a major political fraud has been sentenced; but are there questions unanswered? (Healthcare Scandal) With another indictment, a second set of felonies at the State Capitol involving far larger sums of taxpayer dollars is still unfolding. (Diocesan Disgrace) Scandal involves not just the secular but the sacred, Arkansas amid a global accounting of clerical abuse. (Election '18) And the post-Labor Day rush to Election Day, where stands the Arkansas electorate with seven weeks remaining?
  • Arkansas Week September 7, 2018
    Is 2018 the year of the woman? As Republicans, asDemocrats, as Greens and Independents, they're running for office in recordnumbers. A century ago almost none were running – they weren't even voting.Host Steve Barnes talks with Beth Barham, Denise Ennett and Bonnie Miller, allrepresentatives of the League of Women Voters of Arkansas. They'll discuss the19th Amendment and the centennial milestone of the League of Women Voters,which has advocated long and vigorously for women's involvement.
  • Arkansas Week August 31, 2018
    (Tariffs and trade) Arkansas farms and Arkansas factories, a new NAFTA and a new deal or a mostly a new name? (Stadiums and cells) A false alarm at one venue, an alarming surge at another, how secure can they be made to be? (McCain and Arkansas) The late senator from Arizona and the state he carried easily, some reflections. (Farming Subsidies) But first, with or without a federal check, where goes Arkansas agriculture from here?
  • Arkansas Week August 24, 2018
    (Fall term) They're already on college campuses across Arkansas, the Class of '22; or will it be the Class of '24, if that? (Diplomas) Enrollment is one thing, graduation quite another. How to move the latter closer to the former? (Tuition, etc.) And with state support essentially flat, how to cope with the expense? (3rd and long?) Also tonight: is college sport on the cusp of a new era?
  • Arkansas Week August 17, 2018
    (Dollars?) With the U.S. Economy still in overdrive, for some people, does the majority party still have the edge in Arkansas? (Purple?) With November just around the corner, is a red state having any second thoughts? (Tumult) If all politics are now national, what's the fallout, if any, in our state? (Scandal) But first, the upheaval in the Arkansas Capitol, a fresh look at how it evolved and a man at the core of it.
  • Arkansas Week August 10, 2018
    (Medicaid) There's a first time for everything as Medicaid spending falls in Arkansas. (Tariffs) City leaders in Arkadelphia and farmers in the Delta keep a close eye on China. (Term Limits) A proposal to limit legislators' service is back on the ballot. (Midterms) And reading the tea leaves for clues to November.
  • Arkansas Week August 3, 2018
    (Schools) Arkansas students return to the classroom this month... (Safety) ...While a governor's commission seeks ways to make them safer. (Jobs) In Conway, hundreds of jobs are at risk. Can they be saved? (Film) And in northwest Arkansas, a slice of Hollywood brings in the dollars.
  • Arkansas Week July 27, 2018
    (30 Crossing) After years of impassioned debate, an interstate expansion project is about to begin. We'll talk with the man leading it. (Dispensaries) The state moves forward to outsource one aspect of medical marijuana. (Casinos) Backers of one proposed constitutional amendment get more time to gather signatures. (Economy) And some indicators suggest a slowing of the economy.
  • Arkansas Week July 20, 2018
    (Corruption) Another guilty plea in a widening corruption investigation. (Executions) The state halts efforts, for now,to renew its supply of lethal injection drugs. (Marijuana) Approval of emergency rules could speed implementation of medicinal marijuana. (Trump) And Republicans in Arkansas are coming together this weekend as their president backpedals.
  • Arkansas Week July 13, 2018
    (Trade) As a trade war brews, Arkansas industry - and political leaders - are in the crossfire. (Marijuana) Five firms finally get the go-ahead to grow - but how long to the harvest? (Guns) A task force outlines ways to keep Arkansas classrooms safe. (The Court) And in DC, a confirmation battle looms over a Supreme Court pick.
  • Arkansas Week July 6, 2018
    (Downsized) It has laid off some 250 people and eliminated 700 positions but is still state government's largest employer. (Cuts) Tight dollars and tighter budgets have compelled program reductions. (Degrees) Even so, it schools more clinicians and health professionals, and treats more patients, than any other facility in Arkansas. (UAMS) The Med Center, where it stands, where the new man at the top wants to take it.
  • Arkansas Week June 29, 2018
    (Tariffs) Farm markets, with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, is the biggest about to shrink? (Percentage) Farm credit, two clicks so far, and at least two more to come. (Diesel) Farm fuel, plenty of it, but the cost is rising. (Congress) And the farm bill, when and what will it look like? A half-hour on the business and the politics of agriculture in America and Arkansas.
  • Arkansas Week June 22, 2018
    (Immigration) An emotionally charged issue. A divided Arkansas GOP. (Ethics) Legislative scandal, and efforts by both chambers to address it. (SCOARK) Medical marijuana, has the state's highest court had the final say? (SCOTUS) Internet sales taxes, the nation's highest court gives the go ahead.
  • Arkansas Week June 15, 2018
    (GIFraud) Admitted, adjudicated, accused or implicated, where does the story go from here? (Reform) The upper chamber and ethics, how stringent can any code truly be? (Up in smoke?) Medical marijuana, how and who to penetrate the weeds? (SCOARK) And how much speech is free, how much advisable, how much permissible?
  • Arkansas Week June 8, 2018
    (G-7) May, Macron, Merkel, Abe, Conte, Trudeau and Trump. (South) Pena Nieto, or Obrador, and Trump. (East) Xi, and Kim, and Trump. (Dollars) Tariffs, trade, Trump and Arkansas.
  • Arkansas Week June 1, 2018
    (Trade) Global commerce, tariffs, and business and agri in Arkansas. (Energy) Prices going up, what's the upside, and the down? (Frack-tured?) In Arkansas, in other regions, is there a shakeout underway in the shale? (Abortion) But first, An issue, a legislature, and three federal courts.
  • Arkansas Week May 25, 2018
    (Asa!) Certified by his party for a second term, an incumbent governor wins more than renomination. (Jared?) Winning in November? Can Democrats offer their candidate more than good wishes? (AR-2) A Democrat in another primary takes the hill in a single bound, but lies ahead a far steeper mountain. (Darker?) And also ahead, more money in uncountable, unaccountable sums.
  • Arkansas Week May 18, 2018
    (5/22) Here come the primaries, the first test for both parties. (Asa/Jan) Financially out-gunned, can a GOP challenger wing a popular incumbent? (AR-2) Can a Democrat who wants a shot in November escape without a runoff? ('18) With early voting already underway, a look at the landscape.
  • Arkansas Week May 11, 2018
    (Shadow Smear?) Again, dark money in an Arkansas campaign, again a judicial campaign. (Ballot Proposals) Will there be any? (Capitol Campaigns) Who will lead Arkansas's largest City? The race Changes. (Wind, Solar) And alternative energy, a nod from Arkansas regulators.
  • Arkansas Week May 4, 2018
    A special edition tonight, Opioids, synthetic opiods, other drugs of abuse. We return to the subject because the subject refuses to go away. Probably it never will. But the current epidemic continues to claim lives at a startling rate – even as public policy scrambles to examine the why and how, and public and private institutions search for antidotes. 
  • Arkansas Week April 27, 2018
    (R) Still riding high in a state still red, will there be a Trump effect In Arkansas? (D) To what extent and where can the loyal opposition copy their gains in other states? (L) Still searching for success in Arkansas, can a third party shape the mid-term outcome? (Parties) A half-hour with the chairs. 
  • Arkansas Week April 20, 2018
    (Dollars) With primaries fast approaching and November in mind, who has how much money as of now? (AR-2) The marquee congressional race, the dollars, as of now, and the landscape. (Medicaid) Numbers of a different sort, though they involve money as well. (Biz) And Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia -- and Arkansas.
  • Arkansas Week April 13, 2018
    (THC) At long last legalized, in part, but how much has gone up in smoke? (SCOARK) The judge who set that fire figures in another case, one of his own, while the plaintiffs blow out the whistleblowers' candle. (Election '18) One of those plaintiffs, among other candidates, is getting a push she does not want. (K-12) But first, report cards for kids and their schools, where are they?
  • Arkansas Week April 6, 2018
    (Trump v. Xi) Two heavyweights, but in this sort of ring can there be a winner? (Metals) For some of our industries the immediate upshot would seem fine. (Agri) But for another component of our economy, the downside would seem obvious. (Tariffs?) The stakes for Arkansas in a trade war.
  • Arkansas Week March 30, 2018
    (THC) Nobody said it would be quick and easy, and medical marijuana is proving all of them right. (Casinos) The stakes are just as high or higher for some other entrepreneurs, but theirs is a taxing path. (Primary) The Republican nomination, the incumbent has a healthy lead in the polls, but is his challenger resonating? (C.C.I.) But first: is a new approach needed to bring jobs to Arkansas?
  • Arkansas Week March 23, 2018
    (Asa?) The favorite, clearly, but how clear is the path to four more years? (1, 2, 3, 4?) Our delegates to D.C. if two more years. Not without a campaign. (Comeback?) The minority party, can there be a resurgence? If so, how strong? (Trump?) Can could all politics be local once again? 
  • Arkansas Week March 16, 2018
    (Session) Back-to-back meetings of the General Assembly, the last of the year? (Post-op) What got done, at what cost, and what’s went un-done? (1/19) The coming session, closer than one might imagine… (Agenda) …so we'll take it up with the leaders of both chambers.
  • Arkansas Week March 9, 2018
    (27/79) The governor needed three of four in each chamber and got it and his budget. (529) The treasurer got his budget minus a rider that couldn't ride. (Next?) That language and much more will, however, get a second chance in the days ahead. (Session(s)) But first, where we've been and where we're going.
  • Arkansas Week March 2, 2018
    (Guns) Legislation to make Arkansas schools safer, what to propose, and what can pass? (GOP) Guns, how big a role in the politics of '18, the big race especially. (WMT) Guns, Arkansas's premier retailer raises the sales bar. (Marijuana) And the awkward embrace, the state and a substance that's officially illegal.
  • Arkansas Week February 23, 2018
    Panelist: Dr. Cheryl May - Director, Arkansas Center for School Safety, Criminal Justice Institute; Officer Phil Blaylock - School Resource Officer, Morrilton Police Dept.; David Hopkins - Superintendent, Clarksville School Distric.
  • Arkansas Week February 16, 2018
    (Arkansas Works) Counting votes, bending elbows, a budget in the balance. (Rx Dollars) Can that budget be kept and keep pharmacies in the fold? (200 Billion) Another proposed budget in a another capitol. Can Arkansas highways expect any capitol improvements? (AR-3) And an Arkansas congressman deep in the budget weeds, keeping his own counsel.
  • Arkansas Week February 9, 2018
    Steve Barnes discusses the fiscal session with panelists Rep. Mathew Pitsch of Fort Smith, Rep. David Whitaker of Fayetteville, Sen. Jim Hendren of Gravette, and Sen. Will Bond of Little Rock.
  • Arkansas Week February 2, 2018
    (DFandA) The latest numbers from the Arkansas treasury, we have them. (FY 2018) They arrive just days before lawmakers write a budget for the coming year. (Pros, cons) Can we spot the strengths as well as the weaknesses? (Tax reform) And how will the new federal tax code impact each?
  • Arkansas Week January, 26, 2018
    Steve Barnes visits with PBS NewsHour Foreign Correspondent Nick Schifrin.
  • Arkansas Week January 19, 2018
    (Budget) A unanimous Arkansas delegation but it may not make the difference. (Cotton) Arkansas's junior senator and presidential rhetoric: ridicule and applause. (NAFTA) The president's rhetoric and the governor's high wire act. (CHIP) But first, the stakes for the kids whose parents make too much and too little.
  • Arkansas Week January 12, 2018
    (5.6 Billion) It's for the executive to propose a budget, and for the legislative to dispose. (Health) So, how will the General Assembly decide an issue that's as practical as fiscal, and philosophical? (And…) Close behind, funding for public schools, prisons and higher ed. Enough? (Asphalt) And can there be consensus on the highway program everyone agrees Arkansas needs?
  • Arkansas Week January 5, 2018
    (12/17) The new year begins with a bang from the bucks. (Asa! Jan?) For a governor already campaigning, it also brings a challenge from the right. (Dems?) The party out of power,  how many challengers, and for what? (THC?) And medical marijuana, will Washington limit Arkansas’s legislation?
  • Arkansas Week Special Edition: Sen. Tom Cotton
    Steve Barnes visits with U.S. Senator Tom Cotton.
  • Arkansas Week Special Edition: Sen. John Boozman
    Steve Barnes visits with U.S. Senator John Boozman.