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Arkansas Legislative Update: Medicaid Expansion, Medical Marijuana, and Special Session
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 7:00 AM

Arkansas 2018 Fiscal Session
The Arkansas 91st General Assembly 2018 Fiscal Session is closer to wrapping up business. 

Legislators have been dealing with Medicaid Expansion funding. Arkansas received federal approval Monday to add a work, training, or volunteer requirement for enrollees of Arkansas Works, a government-run insurance program for the poor and disabled.

Arkansas Department of Human Services didn’t receive their other request to reduce the income cut-off from 138 percent of the poverty level from the Federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

Arkansas is the third state, behind Kentucky and Indiana, to be granted permission to impose a work requirement on Medicaid recipients. Arkansas will implement the requirement June 1. As of Jan. 1, Arkansas Works covers more than 285,000 Arkansans. 

Medical Marijuana
The first steps to implementing the growing and dispensing of medical marijuana have been approved, and five growing facilities have been decided. Two facilities will be in Jefferson County and one each will be in Jackson, Woodruff, and Carroll counties. The Marijuana Commission plans to meet this month to formally license the five cultivation facilities after the winning companies have each paid the $100,000 licensing fee and posted a $500,000 performance bond. The next step is the approval for dispensaries.  

As a result, Arkansas credit unions need to make sure their drugs and medical marijuana policies are up to date. HB 1460, now Act 593 of 2017, will affect each employer, and credit unions policies must be written to conform to those new laws as rules and regulations. 

Last fall, Arkansas Credit Union Association distributed the "Sample Drug-Free Workplace and Medical Marijuana Policy for Arkansas," prepared by Cornerstone SVP Regulatory Compliance Counsel Suzanne Yashewski. Please refer to that publication for recommendations. 

Special Session
Gov. Asa Hutchinson is expected to call a Special Session when the 2018 Fiscal Session is over. We are waiting for the call to know items to be considered.

For more information, please contact Ron Harrod at or 501-944-3068.