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Jason Tolbert

The cost of raising the minimum wage

One policy initiative President Barack Obama highlighted in his State of the Union is to increase the federal minimum wage. A fellow Democrat, our own Sen. Mark Pryor, is not echoing Obama’s proposal but rather criticizing the size of the Obama initiative while supporting a smaller state increase.

The cost of doing nothing

The biggest decision facing the Arkansas Legislature in its short fiscal session that began this week is whether to continue funding Arkansas’ private option, which uses federal Medicaid funds to expand health insurance for Arkansans, but through private health insurances plans.

Racing interests slip two through

The fact that lobbying interests still have a strong influence on legislation passed by the Arkansas General Assembly should surprise no one. In fact, since the enactment of term limits most lobbyists find it even easier to push through legislation that they not only support but have a heavy influence in crafting.

The Natural State bowl

With the Arkansas Razorbacks out of the bowl picture again, I’ve turned to the Arkansas State Red Wolves for my home state bowl fix the past two years. They did not disappoint with a thrilling win Sunday night over Ball State in the GoDaddy Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

‘Happy, happy, happy’ Christmas

The lull in the news cycle during the Christmas holiday season often brings about some odd stories. This year it involves comments made by a reality television star in a magazine interview that stirred up some controversy. What sounds like a story on the entertainment page has caused governors and congressmen to offer their opinions.

The tradition of Little Rock Hog games

Growing up in Arkansas, it was a given that I would be a Razorback fan. Although my parents are from Georgia, they moved to Fayetteville to work at the University of Arkansas for Campus Crusade for Christ after they graduated from college. By the time I was born they had transferred to Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, but calling the Hogs was already a family tradition.

Voting record or dirty tricks

When former lawmakers run for office, they can expect their legislative records to be examined with a fine-toothed comb. Votes they may have long since forgotten can unwittingly become the centerpiece of their campaigns. Such is the case with a couple of committee votes cast by former Congressman Mike Ross back in 2009.

Fixing the glitches

After several years of debate, planning and tweaking of the Affordable Care Act, the main component is finally here. Enrollment into the health care exchanges has hardly been a booming success as proponents predicted. Instead, the launch has been closer to the train wreck predicted by opponents.