The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's radio column for the weekend of July 22, 2016:
It’s always good to go back home. This summer, I’ll be returning to the small town in Northwest Arkansas where I grew up to reconnect with friends and family and to enjoy the memories of my youth. Growing up in Gravette has helped me to appreciate the value of the close-knit community that small towns often produce.
Former Ku Klux Klan leader and former Louisiana Republican state representative David Duke says the climate is right for him to seek public office once again. Duke, referencing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, announced on Friday he's running in the state's U.S. Senate race.
The KUAR news staff won 10 awards from the Arkansas Associated Press Broadcasters Association Friday, including five first place honors. The annual competition is for reporting done during 2015 and is open to AP member stations around the state. The awards were handed out during a luncheon at Little Rock's Loca Luna.
Arkansas’ jobless rate remained unchanged in June from last month, however the state’s civilian pool remained declined slightly as employers added fewer worker to payrolls before the back-to-school employment surge begins in early August.
Labor force data, produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released Friday (July 22) by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, shows Arkansas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in June stayed at 3.8%, an all-time low first touched in May. A year ago, the June jobless rate was 5.3%.
A black man who was incapacitated with a stun gun is suing the white Arkansas police officer who arrested him.
Chardrick Mitchell on Wednesday filed the civil suit in Mississippi County against Blytheville Officer Stephen Sigman, Police Chief Ross Thompson and the city of Blytheville.
The lawsuit says police video shows Mitchell was walking away from Sigman on July 4 when the officer fired his stun gun at roughly the same time he announced Mitchell was under arrest. It alleges there's an "institutionalized practice of using excessive force against African-Americans."
Governor Asa Hutchinson is the subject of an Arkansas Ethics Commission probable-cause hearing on Friday morning. Attorney and investigative, liberal blogger Matt Campbell of Blue Hog Report lodged the complaint based on law governing when it’s appropriate for elected officials to spend time campaigning. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman talked with Campbell before the hearing.
In a statement, the governor's spokesman J.R. Davis dismissed Campbell's complaint:
The Arkansas Supreme Court is denying a request by eight death row inmates to appeal a decision that upheld the state’s execution secrecy law. But the court is also delaying its order as the inmates request a hearing from the U.S. Supreme Court.
A federal jury convicted a north Arkansas man who owned several mental health facilities on bribery charges late Thursday afternoon. The Arkansas Times reports that after almost five hours of deliberations, Ted Suhl was found guilty of four of six counts for allegedly funneling money to a top official at the Arkansas Department of Human Services in exchange for getting preferential treatment from the state.
Sun Paper Industry of China says the planned early 2017 construction start for a $1.3 billion superproject in Clark County will likely be pushed back because of ongoing pre-engineering and feasibility studies for the bio-product paper mill.
“They are still trying to nail down some of the issues involving the project and it has taken more time than was expected,” said Julie Mullenix of Little Rock-based Mullenix & Associates, a local governmental relations, PR and lobbying firm.