Chris Hickey / KUAR News

A bill requiring public universities to allow faculty, staff and students 25 years or older to carry concealed firearms on campuses may be coming up for a vote Monday afternoon in the Arkansas Senate. HB1249 is on the calendar after being amended in recent weeks to include provisions requiring additional training and extending concealed carry privileges to some students.

Arkansas Times

Chris Hickey and Karen Tricot Steward take a deep-dive into some of the top stories in Arkansas this week, including angry constituents at town hall meetings and a Supreme Court decision to strike down a local anti-discrimination law.

Plus: Why KUAR interim general manager Nathan Vandiver, once champion of a beard-growing contest, has reservations about entering again. 

arkansashouse.org

A late attempt to significantly alter a resolution limiting attorneys fees and injury lawsuit awards failed to get approval from the Arkansas House of Representatives Friday. 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has named a new leader for the Arkansas Department of Veteran Affairs.

The governor said Friday that he's appointed retired U.S. Army Col. Nathaniel Todd to serve as the agency's director. Todd will replace former director Matt Snead, who is resigning.

Todd now serves as chief financial officer of the Central Arkansas Veterans Health Care System. He's previously worked as director of health financial policy for the U.S. Army Surgeon General and as chief financial officer for the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

The bad-boy of Enrico Fermi High School is less than welcome when he unexpectedly returns to school as a revenant zombie in Arkansas State University Theater’s production of Zombie Prom, which opens on Friday in the Drama Theatre at the Fowler Center.  After all, Rule Number 7, Subsection 9 of the Handbook of Student Life clearly states “no zombies,” according to the school’s principal, Miss Strict.

Still, Zombie Jonny, who died three weeks earlier when he flung himself into the cooling tower of the Francis Gary Powers nuclear plant in a fit of teenage heartbreak, is determined to graduate and win back the heart of good-girl Toffee and take her to the prom.

“I have to go back behind stage and I have a whole amazing crew that helps me get the makeup on and prepare for that, and it all has to happen in less than 10 minutes, so it’s going to be awesome to see it on stage,” said theater major Zac Passmore, who plays Jonny.  He was attracted to the role of the only actual zombie in the story because of its lead vocals — Zombie Prom is, of course, a musical — and the challenges of playing a larger-than-life character authentically.

Public school districts in Arkansas regularly buy and sell property, pending approval of local education boards, or course. But today, the Arkansas Senate approved a bill that would take some of that control away.

Senate Bill 308 would allow charter schools the right to purchase or lease unused public school buildings, a seemingly small concession that nonetheless raises big questions about local versus state control of schools and inspired a heated back and forth between senators this week.

Sen. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale) said Tuesday that some public school districts let buildings sit empty, a misfortune he equated to murdering a building.

“We have had schools literally rot to the ground rather than let someone use them for educational purposes. That should never happen.”

Sen. Linda Chesterfield (D-Little Rock) had a lot of questions for Clark. She told a Senate Education Committee Tuesday that the bill is heavy handed, and she said it takes local control from public districts.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

An Arkansas House Committee has advanced a revised version of a proposed constitutional amendment to limit awards in injury lawsuits and to change state court rulemaking authority. On Thursday, the Arkansas House Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs voted 14 to 3 to send the proposal to the full chamber.

Voter ID Vote photo ID
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas House has passed a resolution that, if approved by voters, would require residents to present photographic identification in order to vote.

A proposed constitutional amendment by Republican Rep. Robin Lundstrum would also require the state to issue IDs at no charge to eligible voters if they don't already have one.

Lundstrum says the measure approved by the House on Thursday will help ensure voter security at the ballot.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has struck down a local law that protected people in the city of Fayetteville from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Arkansas is one of a handful of states where it is illegal for local governments to pass anti-discrimination laws that cover classes of people not already protected under state law.

On Wednesday, the Trump administration made big news regarding the rights of transgender students. But what exactly changed?

Pages

Weekly News Roundup

The KUAR stories you want, delivered to your inbox. Subscribe below or text MYNEWS to 22828 to sign up.

Stay Connected

Connect with us on Facebook!

Follow Us on Twitter!

E-News Sign Up

Receive e-newsletters about public radio stuff.

Vehicle Donation

When you donate a vehicle to benefit public radio, you are turning your car into financial support for the community programming you trust and rely on.

Another Way To Support Public Radio

Alternative Giving

A donation to your non-profit public radio stations in honor or memory of a loved one can be made easily online. You can add a personalized message and print the honor card immediately.

KUAR Shop

Every purchase supports programming!

Classical Music: Our Sister Station

KLRE Classical 90.5

Classical music 24-7. Tune in or listen online.

Podcast

Week In Review Podcast

Every Friday, journalists from the KUAR news team review the week's news. Listen here on our website or in the NPR One app.