LGBTQ Flag
wikipedia.org

Authors of a measure to repeal a ban against local civil rights ordinances for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered people are gathering signatures. 51,000 signatures must be gathered within 90 days for the question to be placed on the November 2016 ballot.

Attorney David Couch with Arkansans to Protect Local Rights, said ACT 137 is hateful towards LGBT people. He said he believes there is enough support to get signatures for the ballot and overturn the law.

A challenge to a federal court ruling enjoining over $3 million in federal loan guarantees to a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) in the Buffalo National River Watershed has been dropped. The US Department of Justice withdrew its challenge to US Eastern District Judge D. Price Marshall's ruling on Friday. The loan-giving agencies - the Small Business Administration and the Farm Service Agency - now have to complete an environmental impact study within one year in order for the loans to C&H Hog Farms be guaranteed.

Fayetteville's City Council in an August meeting on an anti-discrimination ordinance.
Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said Friday he is interested in the possibility that state-level protections for LGBT people may already exist.

Little Rock City Attorney Tom Carpenter argued earlier this week existing language in state anti-bullying law protects LGBT individuals, making ACT 137's municipal ordinance ban irrelevant to local LGBT protections and  said ACT 137 could not be used to block ordinances protecting LGBT people.

The Buffalo River
wikimedia.org

A 180-day moratorium on new concentrated animal feeding operations – or CAFOs – in the Buffalo River Watershed is now in effect, for the third time.

Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture / Jo McDougall

Born in 1935, poet Jo McDougall grew up on a rice farm in the Arkansas Delta. She began writing at an early age, first publishing in her early twenties. Since then, she has published five poetry books and one memoir and has taught at universities in Arkansas and Kansas. In the Home of the Famous Dead, her book of collected poems, is out now from the University of Arkansas Press.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

A task force created by Governor Asa Hutchinson to review Arkansas's implementation of Common Core curriculum held its first all-day meeting Thursday to listen to several panelists of teachers, education officials, and academics, on the benefits and shortcomings of the nationally uniform curriculum, launched in 2009.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Arkansas's U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton, both Republicans, voted against the confirmation of Loretta Lynch to serve as U.S. attorney.

"I believe it would be irresponsible to confirm a successor whose approach is virtually indistinguishable from her predecessor,” said Boozman.

 

NPR's Carrie Johnson reports:

 

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is making a stop in Arkansas Thursday evening to headline a ticketed-event in Little Rock honoring the Pryor family. The visit comes on the heels of Hillary Clinton’s entrance into the 2016 presidential race.

http://tinyurl.com/d655snf

Officials say nearly 70 employees of the Pine Bluff School District will lose their jobs in an effort to save money following years of financial and enrollment declines.

The Pine Bluff School Board approved the elimination of 68 jobs at a Tuesday night meeting.

The layoffs are expected to provide the district's budget with an additional $3.1 million each year. Interim Superintendent T.C. Wallace Jr. said most of the layoffs are a result of the closure of two elementary schools.

The Arkansas Literary Festival, now in its 12th year, will draw thousands of people for a broad range of events at nearly two dozen venues around Little Rock. Beginning Thursday evening, it runs through Sunday, with the primary draw being  discussions with authors. A full rundown of events can be found here.

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Arkansas Legislature

Arkansas lawmakers are in recess, but scheduled to return to the Capitol on April 22 to address any unfinished business and officially adjourn this year's legislative session.