File photo. State. Senator Jason Rapert (R-Bigelow) with former State Representative Anne Clemmer testifying to a committee in 2013.
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

A push to call for a convention of the states to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution to redefine marriage and abortion rights narrowly failed in the Arkansas Senate. Article V of the U.S. Constitution allows for states to join together to propose amendments. It’s never been used before, but speaking on the floor on Monday state Senator Jason Rapert said it’s the only tool he has left.

Rapert proposed two separate resolutions. The first would redefine marriage as between one man and one woman. The second would say life begins at conception and effectively ban abortion.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A compromise struck between Gov. Asa Hutchinson and lawmakers would expand a plan allowing concealed handguns on college campuses to include some students and visitors, if they undergo training.

Supporters of the campus guns measure, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Hutchinson's office said Monday they support an amendment to legislation requiring colleges and universities to allow concealed handguns.

Former Arkansas Razorback and five-time NBA all-star Sidney Moncrief is one of 14 finalists for basketball’s hall of fame. El Sid, or Sid the Squid as he was once known, took the Razorbacks to the Final Four in the late 1970s before going on to play for a decade with the Milwaukee Bucks and a season with the Atlanta Hawks. The Milwaukee squad was routinely good but not as good as the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers of that era.

Donald Trump speaking at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

President Donald Trump’s popularity in Arkansas has not diminished since the November election despite national polling that suggests voter attitude shifts. Meanwhile, Arkansas voters still solidly approve of the job Gov. Asa Hutchinson is doing a little more than halfway through his first term.

On this week's podcast the KUAR news team digs into a few of the bigger issues facing the Arkansas Legislature, including guns on college campuses, a bathroom bill and its possible impact on tourism, and abortion restrictions that are advancing. We also talk about some non-legislative matters, including an effort to address crime in the state and details of this year's Johnny Cash Heritage Festival to be held this time in his boyhood hometown of Dyess.

Governor Asa Hutchinson signed bill dinosaur
Governor's Office

It's a designation more than 65 million years in the making.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday signed a resolution designating the Arkansaurus fridayi as the state's official dinosaur. The move makes Arkansas the 10th state to have its own official dinosaur.

The dinosaur was first discovered in a gravel pit near Lockesburg in 1972 by Joe Friday, for whom it was named.

State Rep. Greg Leding proposed designating it as the state's official dinosaur at the encouragement of Mason Cypress Oury, a high school student in his district.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he's concerned about a draft proposal to use National Guard troops from Arkansas to round up unauthorized immigrants.

The Republican governor said Friday he hasn't had any contact from the Trump administration about a draft Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by The Associated Press calling for mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops from Arkansas and 10 other states.

A DHS official has described the document as a very early draft that was not seriously considered and never brought to the secretary for approval.

The Arkansas Senate on Thursday voted 21-10 to approve a resolution, SJR8, which places limitations on attorneys’ fees and a $250,000 cap on awards in injury lawsuits. The proposed constitutional amendment also transfers courtroom rulemaking authority from the state Supreme Court to the Legislature.

The measure could end up as one of three the Legislature sends to voters for consideration on the 2018 general election ballot. If passed, it would take effect in 2019.

Arkansas state trooper police crash wrong way
KATV, Channel 7 News

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a $3.1 million bid for highway and interstate improvements aimed at reducing wrong-way crashes.

The commission awarded the contract to Ewing Signal Construction of Nixa, Missouri. The project calls for improvements on interstate off-ramps, including sign replacements, lowered signs and other projects that officials hope will cut down on the number of crashes caused by people driving the wrong way on the ramps.

The Arkansas Senate voted Thursday to require college and university employees who want to carry concealed handguns on campus to first undergo additional training, prompting a Republican lawmaker to expand the campus-carry proposal to allow some students and visitors to participate.

The Senate voted 22-10 to add a provision mandating 16 hours of active shooter training to a House-backed measure requiring the schools to allow faculty and staff with a license to carry a concealed firearm on campus. The Senate is expected to vote next week on the proposal. 

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