Arkansas public colleges and universities are weighing in on Gov. Asa Hutchinson's request for an in-state tuition freeze. The Republican governor included the request in his proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year presented Tuesday to the Joint Budget Committee of the Arkansas Legislature. It comes ahead of  coincides with Hutchinson's proposal for next month's fiscal session of the legislature to increase the budget for state Higher Education by $10 million.  

Jacob Slaton / Clinton School of Public Service

  

Adding to Congress’s already lengthy to-do list, the federal government’s primary tool for agricultural and food policy, known as the farm bill, will need congressional reauthorization this year.  Originally designed to keep crop prices fair for consumers and farmers during the Great Depression, the bill is a piece of legislation with broad-reaching effects, especially for Arkansans.

David Monteith / KUAR

The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission and Habitat for Humanity joined forces Monday for a day of renovation at the former home of Daisy Bates in Little Rock to mark the beginning of a week of events leading up to the  national King holiday on January 15.

While volunteers Humanity fixed up the outside of the house, inside, museum board member Mary Hardin gave tours of the civil rights landmark.

The main campus of the University of Arkansas For Medical Sciences in Little Rock.
UAMS

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is cutting 600 positions as it faces the prospect of cutting $30 million in expenses this fiscal year. Only 258 of the once-budgeted positions were filled. UAMS is the state’s largest public employer with a staff of more than 10,000 and is the only Level One Trauma Center in the state.

marijuana
npr.org

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions threw a monkey wrench into the Natural State’s long-awaited launch of Arkansas’ medical marijuana industry next month by rolling back an Obama-era policy Thursday that opened the door to the legalization of pot in Arkansas and 29 other states.

Presidential Pet, Dean of Pets, and Director of Pet Life Wendy King
Lyon College

Lyon College announced it is opening a pet-friendly residence hall beginning in the 2018-19 school year. Dogs and cats will be able to join their human companions in the dorm – and to roam all over the 145 year old campus in Batesville. The college says it's the first in Arkansas to allow animals to live on campus with students.

College President W. Joseph King says in a press release it’s a progressive step for student life that comes from the heart, "Like many of our students, my family has had beloved dogs and cats. We know how much they are a part of your life."

Governor Asa Hutchinson DHS director Cindy Gillespie
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The governor of Arkansas is touting an 11 percent drop in the state's Medicaid rolls over the past year as he faces another potential fight in keeping the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion alive another year.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Thursday that enrollment in the state's Medicaid program dropped by more than 117,000 people from 2017 to 2018. Nearly 59,000 of that came from the state's hybrid expansion, which uses Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents.

The Arkansas Department of Health is warning residents about a significant influenza outbreak and how best to prepare.

“In a bad flu year, it's estimated a third of the population gets the flu," says Dr. Dirk Haselow, state epidemiologist who is tracking outbreak response. "In Arkansas that would be a million people." 

This influenza season, which began in early December and ends in late March, intensified over the holiday season and is shaping up to be a bad one, Haselow says.

The Arkansas Plant Board has doubled down on its plan to ban Dicamba, the agricultural weed killer. The vote Wednesday was a slight rebuke of state Rep. Bill Sample (R-Hot Springs) and colleagues on a legislative subcommittee that last month asked the board to reconsider the ban, specifically the April 15 cutoff date for spraying Monsanto’s controversial herbicide.

 

A convicted killer from Arkansas has died in suburban Detroit, 47 years after he visited Michigan on a brief furlough - and never returned to prison.

Lester Stiggers was 68 years old. His daughter, L'Donne Hampton, tells The Associated Press that he died Saturday at his apartment in Warren, probably from a heart attack.

Stiggers made headlines in 2013 when Arkansas asked Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to send him back. It was the first time in years that Arkansas had expressed interest in Stiggers, who entered Michigan in 1970 and worked as a plumber and auto worker.

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