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Weighing the session

Does one massive achievement cancel out dozens of terrible ones?

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How to think about the 89th General Assembly? In one sense, it was hugely successful. No other legislation that emerged from the session will even approach the effect that health care expansion will have on the state. More than 200,000 low-income Arkansans will get health insurance. Hospitals, drowning in uncompensated care, will avoid closure. Billions of dollars in federal spending will stimulate the state’s economy. Who do we have to thank for it? Democrats, who voted for it en masse in the House and Senate, and Gov. Mike Beebe, who brokered the deal, sure. But mostly a handful of pragmatic Republicans, who worked tirelessly to engineer a palatable plan and sell it to their skeptical GOP colleagues. Of course, these were the same Republicans who think everything goes better with more guns, support tax policy that burdens the poor and middle class in favor of the rich and helped push through one of the most punitive anti-woman packages of legislation in the country. Does health care expansion overwhelm the damage done by those and other pernicious new laws? Read on and decide for yourself.

How the Arkansas legislature has changed your life
For better or for worse.

The terrible 10 of the 89th Arkansas General Assembly
They're the worst of the worst.

Diamonds in the manure of the Arkansas legislature
Some legislation and legislators shone.

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