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A Trump administration official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture came to Little Rock Wednesday to announce both new water infrastructure projects and the latest efforts to curb the growing opioid epidemic.

Anne Hazlett, who serves as Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, gave the keynote speech at a rural development conference in Little Rock Wednesday.

Leslie Rutledge Attorney General
Talk Business & Politics

Arkansas' attorney general has approved the wording for ballot measures that would raise the minimum wage, legalize casinos and change the redistricting process. That's after the state Supreme Court ordered her to certify the wage-hike proposal.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge certified the measures on Wednesday, hours after justices gave her three days to approve or substitute language for a proposed initiated act to gradually raise Arkansas' minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2022. The sponsor of the measure sued after Rutledge had previously rejected its wording.

Ten Commandments Jason Rapert
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Opponents of a Ten Commandments display at the Arkansas state Capitol are suing to have the monument removed, arguing it's an unconstitutional endorsement of religion by government.

Separate lawsuits were filed in federal court Wednesday challenging the display, which was installed on the Capitol grounds last month. A 2015 law required the state to allow the privately funded monument.

The monument was reinstalled last month after the original version was destroyed last year by a man who crashed his car into the display.

CREDIT SALFALKO VIA FLICKR, CREATIVE COMMONS

In selecting a candidate for the state Supreme Court, Arkansans vote in non-partisan judicial elections. This means party affiliation is not indicated on the ballot, and candidates are prohibited by a code of conduct from talking about the issues.

But, that hasn’t always been the case. 

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson won his Republican Party primary with room to spare Tuesday, beating challenger Jan Morgan by a margin of more than two-to-one.

Likewise, roughly 200,000 Arkansans chose a GOP ballot — almost twice the number who voted in the Democratic primary.  

Hutchinson didn’t extend any appreciation to his opponent in his election night speech or so much as mention her by name. And for her part, Morgan said afterward she would maintain her campaign promise and not endorse her party's nominee in the general election.

Justice Courtney Goodson and Department of Human Services Chief Counsel David Sterling are headed for a runoff in the Arkansas Supreme Court race, while Commissioner of State Lands John Thurston was leading in the secretary of state’s race.

Late Tuesday, Goodson led the three-person race with 37.28% of the vote. Sterling was second with 33.82%. Court of Appeals Judge Kenneth Hixson trailed with 28.9%.

Because no candidate reached 50%, Goodson and Sterling will face each other in a runoff as part of the general election Nov. 6.

Clarke Tucker
Jackson Floyd / KUAR News

Arkansas State Rep. Clarke Tucker, D-Little Rock, won the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 2nd Congressional District race Tuesday, avoiding a runoff and moving on to challenge U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, in the general election.

In other races, U.S. Reps. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, and Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, were on their way to easily defeating their Republican Party challengers.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

U.S. District Court Judge Kristine Baker is set to hear arguments Thursday in Little Rock concerning a back-and-forth civil case pitting Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and a Little Rock law firm seeking to clarify the state’s repeated rejection of proposed constitutional amendments.

The Arkansas Republican Party primary race between Governor Asa Hutchinson and television pundit Jan Morgan pits one of the nation’s most popular governors against a far right firebrand, who made a brief mark on the national stage for banning Muslims from her firing range.

Take a listen to the full audio report in the link above.

Tuesday, May 22nd is Election Day. Polls are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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

As Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson faces a challenge from the right in Tuesday’s Republican primary election, he now has the backing of President Trump.

The endorsement came in the form of a tweet Monday evening after Hutchinson and four other Republican governors dined with the president at the White House to discuss border security and other issues. Trump wrote on Twitter that Hutchinson had “done an incredible job with a focus on lower taxes, border security and crime prevention.”

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