Governor's Address: Thirty-Five Words

3 hours ago

The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's radio address for the weekend of July 3,2015:

Thirty-five words — that’s all it took to define America. Thomas Jefferson wrote them 239 years ago as introduction to our Declaration of Independence from the King’s England. This weekend, we celebrate that historic leap of faith framed by those 35 words. We celebrate the birth of these United States of America.

Nearly a week after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling that states must recognize and issue same-sex marriage licenses, most Arkansas county clerks are complying. KUAR conducted a brief survey of clerks offices on the number of same-sex or gender-neutral licenses issued in the state's 10 most populous counties.

Arkansas has ended its fiscal year above forecast. The state’s net available gross revenue is $5 billion, with a surplus of $191 million for 2015.  That’s a 4.5 percent higher surplus than last year, according to a revenue report published by the Department of Finance and Administration on Thursday.

According to John Shellnut, an economist with the department, the improvement represents a new stage of recession recovery for Arkansas.

A rally in support of the Confederate flag is being held in Russellville.
The Pope County Rebel Ride has been scheduled for Sunday on the Russellville side of the Dardanelle Lock and Dam in defense of what organizers say is Southern heritage.
One of the organizers, Tyler Titsworth, says the rally has no basis in racism and that protesters have been told that racial slurs or offensive language will not be tolerated. He said the rally has been organized as a food drive for the Main Street Mission, but the point is to show rebel pride.

Robinson Auditorium
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

On the one year anniversary of Little Rock’s historic Robinson Auditorium closing to begin a nearly $70 million renovation, a topping out ceremony was held Wednesday. The final steel beam that will be put in place on the expanded structure was signed by local officials, members of the design and construction teams and other guests. Work is scheduled to be completed by November 2016.

The Washington County prosecutor says a capital murder charge against a Springdale man has been dropped because a key witness died.

The charge against 29-year-old Rico Tavarous Cohn was dropped Wednesday and he was released from jail. Prosecutor Matt Durrett told reporters the witness died unexpectedly earlier this year and that the remaining evidence was not sufficient to go to trial.

Durrett declined to release the witness' name.

Gay marriage same-sex marriage Arkansas
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

At least two Arkansas counties have not issued same-sex marriage licenses as clerks with religious objections struggle to comply with state and federal orders.

Cleburne and Randolph county officials said Wednesday that they haven't had gay couples seek licenses, but it's unclear if any such request would be granted.

The Cleburne County clerk resigned Tuesday after voicing objections to Friday's Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. County Judge Jerry Holmes says it's unclear if deputy clerks will issue licenses to gay couples.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Two U.S. Army privates who were attacked outside of a Little Rock recruiting center in 2009 were awarded with Purple Hearts Wednesday. Military personnel, members of Arkansas's congressional delegation, families and other dignitaries gathered in the State Capitol Rotunda to honor them.

Bill and Hillary Clinton Airport Sign
Jason Burt / Arkansas Business

Flights with nonstop service to Little Rock, Arkansas, are set to return to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport after a two-year absence.

Southwest Airlines announced it will fly two daily non-stop flights to the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport starting Jan. 6. The Lambert-St. Louis airport has also recently announced the launch of three new nonstop flights.

Flights to Austin, Texas, and Jackson, Tennessee, began Sunday. Nonstop flights to Portland, Oregon, are set to begin Wednesday.

Lt. Governor Tim Griffin (R) speaking in the rotunda of the Arkansas Capitol in the spring of 2015.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin said the Council on Common Core Review will not issue recommendations as early as he had hoped but a report will still be compiled “well in advance” of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s early fall deadline.

In a June 8 joint meeting of the House and Senate Education Committees Griffin told lawmakers he wanted to have a report from the council completed by the end of June.


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