Ark. Business: Arkansas Works, new plant, banks reporting

It's a done deal. Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed into law the state's Medicaid expansion program, now known as "Arkansas Works." --THV11.com 04/22/16

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - It's a done deal. Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed into law the state's Medicaid expansion program, now known as "Arkansas Works."

In doing so, he also used his line-item veto power to remove a section of the bill that called for the end of the program on Dec. 31.

Legislators had to include that line in order to pass the bill in the House and Senate where a small group of legislators opposed Arkansas Works and threatened to deny the bill the required three-fourths vote.

The House gave the bill final approval Thursday, voting 76-13 with 11 lawmakers voting present.

"Arkansas Works", formerly known as “Private Option", provides health coverage for more than 250,000 poor Arkansans.

Also this week, Carroll County's quorum court judge authorized incentives that will help Tyson Foods, Inc., of Springdale, build its first new plant in years. The publicly traded meat processor announced the project last week, planning to build a $136 million, 200,000 square-foot processing plant across the street from an existing Tyson plant in Green Forest.

Tyson said the project will bring about 85 jobs to the county where it already employs more than 2,600 people.

Tyson aims to complete the plant in late 2017. Green Forest Mayor Charles Reece said the company plans to break ground in July.

And finally this morning, two growing Arkansas banks reporting solid quarters Thursday.

Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff reported first-quarter net income of $23.5 million — up 170 percent from the same quarter last year.

CEO George Makris said the results reflect the “successful integration of 12 separately chartered banks and two trust companies over the past two years.”

Meanwhile, Home BancShares Inc. of Conway announced record first-quarter net income of $41.4 million — up 33 percent increase from the same time last year.

During the first quarter, the company received approval to open a deposit-only branch location in New York City.


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