Voter ID Vote photo ID
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A legislative panel has cleared the way for Arkansas to begin enforcing its reinstated voter ID law later this year.

The executive subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council on Thursday approved the state Board of Election Commissioners emergency rule enforcing the new law requiring voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot. Those without photo identification can sign a sworn statement saying they're registered to vote in the state.

https://twitter.com/EPAScottPruitt

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt visited Little Rock Thursday and met with state and agricultural leaders. He attended meetings with Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and other agricultural stakeholders.

According to an EPA spokeswoman, Pruitt was to talk about the agency’s partnerships with the state. But a local chapter of the Sierra Club suggested his visit was "to promote the Trump Administration’s anti-environmental agenda."

Cotham's Mercantile in Scott, Arkansas before it burned to the ground on May 30th.
Kat Robinson / Arkansas Times

The cause of the fire that destroyed an iconic, 100-year old Cotham's Restaurant has been left undetermined, with investigators closing the case. The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday there were "no signs of arson" and that all leads had been followed. Officials say the case is closed unless "further information is developed."

whitehouse.gov

An Arkansan from Forrest City who sits on President Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity says he wants the group to look at a “myriad of issues” to determine whether there are problems involving voting in America. Speaking at the group’s inaugural meeting Wednesday, the former Democratic state lawmaker David Dunn also said the commission’s recent request of states to submit publicly available information on their voter rolls “raised concerns.”

NASA

NASA’s presence in Arkansas may be increasing thanks to recent grants and potential contracts.

Earlier this month the University of Arkansas was awarded two grants by NASA to fund space technology research, one of which could include conducting experiments on the International Space Station. Following that announcement, Governor Asa Hutchinson probed Space X CEO Elon Musk for his thoughts on the federal space program at last week’s meeting of the National Governors Association.

A bodyguard has been charged with illegally providing a firearm to the rapper who was performing when gunfire broke out at an Arkansas nightclub, while federal officials say one of the guard's guns matched a shell casing found at the scene.

No one has been charged in the July 1 shooting at Little Rock's Power Ultra Lounge, which left 28 people injured. Kentrell Gwynn was in Little Rock federal court Tuesday on a preliminary charge of providing a firearm to Ricky Hampton, a Memphis, Tennessee, rapper and convicted felon who performs as Finese2Tymes.

Riverfest Morris Day and the Time
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Little Rock's annual music festival, Riverfest, is suspending operations after four decades.

The Riverfest, Inc., board of directors announced Tuesday that 2017 was the last year for the music festival in downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock. The festival's executive director, DeAnna Korte, says rising costs and more competition from other festivals made it difficult for Riverfest to continue.

Korte says hot and rainy weather in May and June also affected Riverfest's ability to be successful.

Michael Maggio
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A former Arkansas judge was ordered to begin serving his 10-year prison sentence after an appeals court upheld his bribery conviction.

Former circuit judge Michael Maggio was ordered Monday to surrender to federal authorities before 2 p.m. Wednesday to begin serving his sentence. The order from U.S. District Judge Brian Miller said an arrest warrant will be issued if Maggio doesn't report to authorities.

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R).
CSIS

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton is in favor of a Republican plan for a straightforward repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. Both of Arkansas's Republican senators, Cotton and John Boozman, have long favored ending the Affordable Care Act, but neither has spoken publicly about the now-flopped repeal and replace plan.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson's campaign says it has nearly $1.2 million in the bank as the Republican ramps up his re-election bid for next year.

Hutchinson's campaign on Monday reported it raised more than $526,000 over the past three months and spent more than $37,000. Hutchinson, who was first elected in 2014, formally announced in May that he was seeking a second term but had already been raising money for a re-election bid.

So far no Democrats have announced a bid to challenge Hutchinson. Hutchinson has raised nearly $1.3 million total for his re-election bid.

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