Local & Regional News

Local & Regional News
4:47 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Already Widespread In Arkansas, Flu Could Get Worse

Credit Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

Arkansas may be on track to see a flu season just as bad, if not worse, than the 2013-14 season. The Arkansas Department of Health says so far, there have been 12 confirmed flu-related deaths. At least six of those were people over the age of 65. Spokeswoman Kerry Krell says the pattern is widespread.

“Predominantly this season we're seeing H3N2,” she says. “It is notorious for causing a lot of illness; causing a lot of hospitalizations, especially in the elderly population.”

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Local & Regional News
2:24 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Incoming Governor Names New Public Service Commission Chairman

A day after Gov. Mike Beebe announced Lamar Davis would fill Colette Honorable’s spot on the Arkansas Public Service Commission, Gov.-elect Asa Hutchinson announced that consultant and former State Rep. Ted Thomas will take another opening on the three-member regulatory panel and serve as chairman.

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Local & Regional News
12:56 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Arkansas Salary Panel Wants To Review Out-Of-State Data

Independent Citizens Commission co-chairs Chuck Banks and Larry Ross at Wednesday's meeting.
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The panel reviewing the salaries of Arkansas' elected officials wants the Legislature's research staff to compile economic data from other states before recommending any changes.

The Independent Citizens Commission, which was created by voters last November, faces a Feb. 2 deadline to review current salaries. At its meeting Wednesday, it said it hopes to address legislative salaries first, then those of constitutional officers, then the state's judges.

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Local & Regional News
10:09 am
Wed January 7, 2015

Arkansas Lottery Marks 12 Percent Increase In Instant Sales

The Arkansas Lottery says sales of its instant scratch-off tickets continue to increase.

After a gentle five-month upswing in instant ticket sales, December saw sales jump to almost $28 million, an increase of 12 percent over instant sales in December 2013.

Lottery Director Bishop Woosley says the sales increase is encouraging. Woosley says that even in an unseasonal cold snap, sales have risen. He credited the increase to a new ad campaign and improvements in game offerings.

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Local & Regional News
9:00 am
Wed January 7, 2015

Cotton Sworn In To Senate, While 2 New Members Join Congress

Arkansas now has an all-Republican congressional delegation with Tom Cotton joining the U.S. Senate and two new faces from the state added to the House.

Cotton was sworn in Tuesday as the junior senator from Arkansas, taking the seat formerly held by Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor.

Cotton, who had represented south Arkansas' 4th Congressional District, defeated Pryor in the November election.

Republican French Hill was sworn in to the 114th Congress, taking the 2nd District seat formerly held by Republican Lt. Gov.-elect Tim Griffin.

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Local & Regional News
4:49 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Attorney General: Past Service Counts Under New Term Limits

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's office says past service in the Legislature counts toward new term limits lawmakers face under a voter-approved amendment.

McDaniel's office said in an advisory opinion Tuesday that years served in the Legislature are to be counted in calculating term limits under a constitutional amendment voters approved in November.

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Local & Regional News
1:25 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Incoming Governor Hutchinson Expects Quick Start To Legislative Agenda

Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson speaking Tuesday afternoon at an Associated Press forum.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov.-elect Asa Hutchinson made plenty of news in a pre-session Q&A with reporters at the state capitol on Tuesday. Saying he wanted a “quick start” to his legislative agenda, Hutchinson touched on issues ranging from tax cuts to prison overcrowding to health care reform and education. 

"I hope to accomplish the agenda I campaigned on," Hutchinson told reporters at a capitol forum sponsored by the Associated Press Managing Editors.

Hutchinson also discussed at length his positions on the state lottery, highway funding, and ethics and elections reforms.

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Local & Regional News
1:17 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Report Says Poor Quality Roads Costly For Arkansas Motorists

Scott Bennett, director of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, speaks at Tuesday's release of the report at the Capitol.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A report released Tuesday says Arkansas motorists are losing about $2 billion a year through higher vehicle costs because of the poor condition of roads and bridges.

The non-profit national transportation research group TRIP says 32 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in urban areas and 23 percent in rural areas are in poor condition. 23 percent of Arkansas bridges, the group says, are in need of repair, improvement or replacement.

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Local & Regional News
10:45 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Senator Wants Arkansas Lottery Under Higher Education Control

Sen. Jimmy Hickey, R-Texarkana, has pre-filed a bill to abolish the Arkansas Lottery Commission and establish control of the lottery’s operations under the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.

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Local & Regional News
10:41 am
Tue January 6, 2015

US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia To Speak In Arkansas

Antonin Scalia
Credit U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Marshals Museum officials say U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will headline the first of three Winthrop Paul Rockefeller Distinguished Lecture Series presentations.

The three-year series will welcome leaders from the executive, judiciary and legislative branches of the U.S. government to Fort Smith to speak about the U.S. Marshals' rich history to each branch. Scalia's lecture is scheduled on Feb. 26.

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