Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen

An Arkansas judge who blocked the state from issuing its first licenses to grow medical marijuana has rejected an effort to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the state's application process for cultivation facilities.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen on Friday rejected the state's argument that Naturalis Health, LLC, a company that unsuccessfully applied for a license, didn't have standing. Griffen also rejected the state's argument that it is immune from the lawsuit.

The Arkansas Supreme Court upheld the capital murder conviction of a Texarkana woman serving life in prison for killing a woman in her square dancing club who was having an affair with her husband.

The high court ruled Thursday that there was enough evidence to support the jury's finding that 69-year-old Virginia Hyatt is responsible for the shooting death of Patricia Wheelington in December 2013.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has announced his plan to reorganize state government and reduce the number of cabinet-level agencies reporting directly to him by at least 50 percent.

The governor announced his plan following the conclusion of the fiscal session of the Arkansas Legislature Thursday, saying his administration has worked to maximize government efficiency since he first took office.

A bill is up for vote by the general assembly  that would protect hog farmers from lawsuits for certain environmental issues once their waste permits are approved.

The legislation was approved by the Arkansas General Assembly today, and it's meant to reassure hog farmers as well as the banks who lend them money.

Central High School
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Hundreds of students at Little Rock’s Central High School walked out of class Wednesday in a show of solidarity with young people conducting similar demonstrations at schools across the nation and outside the White House.

At Central, students chanted slogans like “books not bullets” and “this is what democracy looks like,” while holding handmade signs that read things like “Never again,” “Central stands with Parkland,” and “Why are we still talking about this?”

Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen

An Arkansas judge has temporarily blocked the state from issuing licenses to five companies to grow medical marijuana in response to complaints about the state's process for reviewing applications for the facilities.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday against the state, which had planned to formally issue cultivation licenses later that day. Griffen scheduled a hearing Friday on a request for a preliminary injunction against the state.

At the 90-year-old Coker-Hampton Drug Company in downtown Stuttgart, the pharmacist and owner of the last 25 years, James Bethea, is deeply concerned about the reimbursement rates from Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) he believes are putting small pharmacies at risk of losing their businesses.

Bethea has chosen to continue to fill prescriptions even though a recent law in Arkansas allows pharmacists to refuse a sale if it meant that they would lose money due to reimbursement rates being lower than the price of the product.

“Those are our customers, and we’re going to take care of them,” he said.

Cheryl May Arkansas School Safety Commission
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A panel tasked by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to make recommendations on how schools can try to prevent mass shootings has begun its work. On Tuesday, the Arkansas School Safety Commission held its first meeting. You can hear the report above.

Arkansas school students are expected to join thousands around the country March 14 in a national school walkout at 10 a.m. (local time). Billed as “Enough,” the demonstration is a coordinated public response to the shooting last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

It’s expected to last 17 minutes — one for each victim.

In Fayetteville, school officials are helping students coordinate a walkout at 10 a.m., though a district document also recognizes that some students have obtained a permit from the city to march on the Washington Count Courthouse — a demonstration the district has gently warned against.

Jeff Vanuga / Photo courtesy of USDA

A panel of the Arkansas House today approved a bill imposing limits on how and when people can raise challenges to farms that hold special permits to discharge liquid animal waste.

Rep. Jeff Wardlaw said the bill was needed to protect bankers who lend money to farmers.

The Republican lawmaker from Hermitage told the House Public Health Committee on Tuesday that allowing a series of lawsuits over issues raised in public comment periods put the farmers' investments at risk.


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