Libertarian Party of Arkansas Chair Michael Pakko with over 15,000 signatures to be submitted to the Secretary of State's office for ballot access. May 2016.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

For the fourth election cycle in a row, the Libertarian Party of Arkansas has been officially recognized as a ‘new’ political party. It needed 10,000 signatures to be able to put its candidates on the 2018 ballot. The Arkansas Secretary of State’s office has certified that 12,749  out of 15,108 signatures were determined valid.

The party had 90 days to collect signatures. Libertarians submitted them on June 12th. In a statement, LPA Treasurer Stephen Wait said it came at a cost of over $25,000 in addition “a lot of volunteer hours.”

UALR sign
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is exploring the possibility of starting a football team. The NCAA Division I school, which holds KUAR’s license, announced Wednesday it plans to hire an outside firm to complete a feasibility study. A student petition recently gathered about a thousand signatures in support of a football team. Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola and State Parks and Tourism Director Kane Webb have also expressed support.

Arkansas Times

After outcry led to the tabling of a proposed Little Rock ordinance that would have restricted feeding large groups of people on public grounds, the city is about to embark on a trial plan for getting food to the homeless community.

On Tuesday, the Little Rock Board of Directors heard from the city's Volunteer Committee on Group Feeding that had spent six weeks studying the issue. The committee recommends relocating most feeding operations to the grounds of the Jericho Way Resource Center in southeast Little Rock, with transportation to and from downtown.

A medical supply company's challenge to Arkansas' three-drug execution protocol remains alive, though the state doesn't have enough drugs to put any inmate to death.

The state's lawyers went to court Wednesday to argue that Arkansas was immune to a lawsuit by McKesson Medical-Surgical Inc. They said lawsuits against the state aren't valid unless Arkansas is committing egregious acts.

bentonproud.com

Governor Asa Hutchinson has named a new state drug czar. On Wednesday Hutchinson announced that Benton Police Chief Kirk Lane would assume the role of State Drug Director. Lane succeeds Denny Altes who resigned in May.

In a press release, Hutchinson says Lane’s background with the FBI and law enforcement “equipped him well to serve in the role.”

The Pulaski County Quorum Court meets in a building on South Broadway.
Google Earth

A push in Pulaski County to temporarily bar certain musical performances if a city deemed its content to encourage violence fell flat in a Quorum Court meeting Tuesday night. Justice of the Peace Judy Green of central Little Rock believes going to certain rap concerts can encourage people to be violent. The proposal was a response to the shootout at Power Ultra Lounge earlier this month. 

Stan Jones Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Following two years of interviews for the job, Governor Asa Hutchinson appointed Stan Jones to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Tuesday. Jones, a fifth-generation farmer and hunting lodge owner from Walnut Ridge, applauded previous efforts by the commission to promote the outdoors in Arkansas.

“I know we’ve got some difficult situations and issues that we’re going to have to face, but I’ve got a very positive look and attitude on everything, the Game & Fish [Commission] has done a good job, and I’m happy to be a part of it,” Jones said.

Saline County Circuit Judge Bobby McCallister
Arkansas Business

A commission that oversees Arkansas judges has filed charges of failing to pay state and federal income taxes against Saline County Circuit Court Judge Bobby McCallister.

The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission said Tuesday that McCallister appears to have filed no more than tax returns since 1995, but said it isn't clear how much he may owe.

Attorneys for McCallister didn't immediately return phone calls for comment.

Music historian Stephen Koch, host of the public radio music documentary program Arkansongs and author of Louis Jordan: Son of Arkansas, Father of R&B joined KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman to talk about an effort to squash rap concerts.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Arkansans don't need special civil rights protections, according to the Arkansas legislature and governor. Act 137 of 2015 bars cities and counties from passing ordinances that "create protected classification or prohibits discrimination" on anyone not covered by the state's existing civil rights codes.

Arkansas's Civil Rights Act bans discrimination on the basis of race, religion and other classifications — but not sexual orientation or gender identity. And because several state anti-bullying and domestic violence statutes offer LGBTQ Arkansans protection, opponents say local codes are redundant — codes such as Fayetteville's Ordinance 5781 that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  

State Act 137 also ensures that “businesses, organizations and employers doing business in the state are subject to uniform nondiscrimination laws and obligations.”

But Act 137 has come under judicial scrutiny.

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