Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

HRC Arkansas Director Kendra Johnson, HRC President Chad Griffin speaking at the Capitol next to an ad the organization is running.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Arkansas’s Legislature stands in recess but not without drawing national attention over a “religious freedom” bill deemed by some to sanction discrimination against the state’s LGBT population.

KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman sat down with Kendra Johnson, the director of Human Rights Campaign Arkansas to talk about next steps for the state’s largest LGBT advocacy group.

Gov. Hutchinson Envisions 20% Of Arkansas Students Taking Computer Classes

Apr 8, 2015

Gov. Asa Hutchinson told a group of startup executives and entrepreneurs visiting Little Rock that one of his educational visions is for 20% of Arkansas students to eventually take computer coding classes while in high school.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R) at Little Rock's VA Hospital
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas health care provider are hoping a conversation they've started with staff members of U.S. Sen. John Boozman will help speed up the payment of thousands of outstanding reimbursement claims for medical care provided to military veterans.

Boozman's staff met Wednesday in North Little Rock with representatives of health care facilities, physician advocacy groups and veteran's liaisons to address what they say is a growing problem in Arkansas - that of unpaid medical bills of veterans.

Two members of Arkansas' Supreme Court - including the chief justice - are complaining that a separate case created over a challenge to the state's gay marriage ban is causing an unnecessary delay.

As Abraham Lincoln always said, "The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you never know if they're accurate."

Well, no — barring a weird rift in time, he probably didn't say that. But when it comes to the quotations of other famous figures — and, it seems, even life offline — things occasionally get far murkier.

Just ask the U.S. Postal Service.

Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Several hundred people rallied inside the state Capitol throughout the day on Wednesday to advocate for disability rights and to celebrate the signing of the ABLE Act.

Leonard Boyle, who sits on the Governor’s Commission on People with Disabilities, said it will remove a cap on savings accounts tied to eligibility for benefits, establishing tax-free accounts intended for care-related spending and to encourage independent living.

Garland County authorities say a Hot Springs man wanted for questioning about stolen dynamite and other explosives has been arrested.

The county sheriff's office said Wednesday that 38-year-old Jeremy Allen Bassford was arrested Tuesday afternoon for parole violation and 84 counts of stolen explosives. He is being held without bond. Details of the arrest were not released.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R) at Little Rock's VA Hospital
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

U.S. Sen. John Boozman is sending staff from his office to meet with Arkansas hospitals and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officials to address claims of delayed reimbursements for the medical care that veterans receive.

Wednesday's meeting at Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock brings together health care providers and VA officials from several states to address ways to speed up reimbursement claims.

The Republican lawmaker said Tuesday that the state's hospitals and medical providers are having problems being reimbursed by the VA after treating veterans.

Several groups including Arkansas' largest zoo are calling on Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto a bill that would make it less restrictive for groups to keep primates in Arkansas.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Dan Douglas, R-Bentonville, will come before the governor Wednesday. Spokesman J.R. Davis says the governor is still reviewing the legislation.

The bill would revise a 2013 law that prohibits ownership or breeding of orangutans, baboons, chimpanzees, gorillas or macaques unless a facility is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Jorge Royan / Wikimedia Commons

Some Arkansas rice growers are looking favorably on President Obama’s plans at the end of this week to interact – in a limited fashion - with Cuba’s leader Raul Castro during the Summit of the Americas in Panama.

The director of the Arkansas Rice Growers Association, Greg Yielding, said Arkansas farmers are losing out on sales with Cuba to countries such as Brazil and Uruguay.