A collection of recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers:

Texarkana Gazette, Oct. 14 — On Thursday, President Donald Trump moved toward keeping a key campaign promise. One that most of his supporters had been calling for for quite some time.

Frustrated by congressional Republicans' failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, the president signed an executive order that could allow small-business owners to band together and select health insurance coverage for themselves and their employees, possibly even across state lines.

The order also may lead to short-term insurance plans to cover individuals between jobs and exempts those plans from some costly ACA mandates.

A third provision calls for research into more options in health insurance, possibly leading to lower-cost plans with more limited coverage.

"It directs the Department of Health and Human Services, the Treasury, and the Department of Labor to take action to increase competition, increase choice and increase access to lower-priced, high-quality health care options," the president said.

Nothing is set in stone. President Trump basically directed federal agencies to look into and find ways to make this happen. So it's not like these changes will become reality anytime soon.

But if and when they are implemented, they have the potential to do some real good.

The potential, not certainty. We still don't know what form any of this will take and there are still plenty of hurdles, especially bypassing state insurance regulators to allow policies to be sold across state lines. There will almost certainly be court challenges ahead as well.

But at least it's a start. We see this as a positive first step. The administration still must tread carefully, but the eventual outcome could be well worth the effort.

We hope Democrats in Congress will at least consider the president's proposals before jumping on the opposition bandwagon. The goal, after all, should be better health care for all Americans. Not preserving legislation that is not working nearly as well as it could.

___

Batesville Daily Guard, Oct. 17 — As a member of the Arkansas Press Association we are often asked to contact our legislators when certain issues come before them.

For instance, it might be on the need for transparency when it comes to the Freedom of Information Act, the use of taxpayer money, hiring and firing in state agencies, etc.

Previous legislators have been given high marks for having a good history of listening and working with us, but the Washington, D.C. attitude has filtered down to a great many of our state legislators who don't understand or don't have the decency to return phone calls and emails — not only to us, but to John Q. Public, too.

This same group of people will pander, pose and find any reason to be part of a photo opportunity or news event so they can worm their way into print, radio and televised media for a few minutes of free exposure.

We need to stop letting them do that.

Remember: When they are handing out checks, they are not giving away their money — it's our money.

Media outlets who continue to give them free political announcements should stop that, too.

They have the funds allocated for advertising expenses and if not, they don't need to be running for office.

Ask yourself: What have we lost?

The answer is: Nothing.

What has the voter lost?

Nothing.

Our newsprint, air and television time is valuable real estate and if we are going to give it away, let's give it to a charitable organization that needs and appreciates it.

The bottom line is these new-age politicians have opened our eyes to the fact we have spent way too much time and energy putting them in a positive light when they don't deserve it, and we no longer need to buy into our "We've always done it this way" excuse for continuing.

With 2018 on the horizon and the next election coming into view, we need to take a hard-line approach to coverage of the people who are already in office or seeking it.

Little Rock is not some foreign country that is out of our reach, and we need to quit acting like poor relatives who don't get to town that often.

It's OK to ask questions, expect answers and demand accountability.

It's time to take the reins and become proactive instead of reactive.

That's our job; let's do it.

They've been giving us lip-service and getting a free pass for way too long.

___

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock, Oct. 17 — We've always done it this way.

How many times has that been said? And it's not even a good excuse. It may be the worst of excuses.

Foot binding. We've always done it that way. Bride kidnapping. We've always done it that way. Once upon a time, drawing and quartering. We've always done it that way.

Frat hazing. Drinking games. Bull fighting. Dog fighting. Cock fighting.

Just because it's always been done that way doesn't mean a tradition should continue. For a great example in the Natural State, take the tossing of turkeys from an airplane at the yearly Turkey Trot Festival in Yellville. Better it was named the Turkey Toss Festival.

We know, turkeys can fly. Most turkeys. Wild turkeys. Anybody who's spent any time on rural gravel roads in Arkansas has come across a flock in the middle of the road and watched them fly away from a passing car. But even a wild turkey taken directly from the woods will probably be scared silly were it tossed from a plane several stories up.

But a domestic bird? This is cruel. There is no other word. And every once in a while, these poor animals forget to fly, and bounce. Last year, two of the dozen or so birds died on "impact." That's not a very efficient rate of flyers.

If folks still want to go to a festival and perhaps run around catching birds for Thanksgiving, why not just release the creatures about town? An open cage here and there. That seems more humane, and sporting, than watching one bounce at your feet.

Come on, Yellville. Evolve. It has to happen one day. Enough national bad press, OK?