Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

A rendering of future renovations of Robinson Auditorium Center Music Hall.
City of Little Rock

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department says renovation work at Robinson Center Music Hall will close a portion of Highway 10 in Little Rock. The renovation work will require closing eastbound and westbound lanes on Friday at 7 p.m. until Monday at 6:00 a.m., weather permitting. 

Eastbound lanes will be closed Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on each day, weather permitting. State highway officials also say that improvements to Interstate 30 will require a lane closure in Saline and Hot Spring County.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson will leave Saturday for a weeklong economic development trip to France and Germany as part of a business recruiting effort.

Hutchinson said Thursday that he'll meet with aerospace companies at the Paris Air Show, which is the world's largest aviation and aerospace trade show. He then goes to Germany for an international metallurgical trade show.

The $129,000 trip includes meetings with at least 17 different prospective companies, but Hutchinson said he doesn't anticipate any new business announcements when he returns on June 19.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has announced that former state Rep. Duncan Baird will become the state budget administrator at the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

Hutchinson said Thursday that Baird will be involved in the state budget process and in Hutchinson's efforts to reform state government.

Baird is a Republican from Lowell who was first elected to the House in 2009 and served as House chairman of the Legislature's Joint Budget Committee. He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for state treasurer in 2014.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

The Arkansas State Board of Education voted 7-1 Thursday against allowing a state contract with the ACT and in favor of keeping the Common Core standards tied PARCC test it implemented this year.

Arkansas Term Limits co-chair Tim Jacob on the way to submit a ballot proposal to the attorney general.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A group that wants to return term limits for Arkansas state legislators to 10 years has submitted a proposed ballot title for a state constitutional amendment.

Arkansas Term Limits on Thursday provided the proposal to Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. Rutledge must approve the ballot title before the group can start gathering the estimated 82,000 signatures of registered voters that will be needed to put the question on the November 2016 ballot.

Roby Brock / Talk Business & Politics

Members of a task force looking at health reforms in Arkansas took a detour down a philosophical road regarding contract management at the Department of Human Services in a discussion that lasted more than an hour.

Arkansas Sees Tepid 0.8% GDP Growth In 2014, Farming Income Drops 19.9%

Jun 11, 2015

Arkansas’ real gross domestic product (GDP) output lost momentum in 2014 as the Natural State’s economic growth fell well below the rest of the nation and surrounding states, according to information released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

State’s Medical Providers Unprepared For Costly Coding Switch

Jun 11, 2015

On Oct. 1, the coding system used by Arkansas medical providers for billing insurance companies and the government will change. Many providers probably won’t be ready, and if they aren’t, they will have trouble getting paid.

The federal government is requiring medical providers, including 38,000 in Arkansas, to switch from the ICD-9 system to ICD-10. Those who submit bills using ICD-9 after Sept. 30 will have their claims rejected, said Tami Harlan, deputy director of the state’s Medicaid program.

Leslie Rutledge attorney general
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Attorney General's Office is seeking a rehearing before the U.S. appeals court that agreed last month with a lower court that a state law unconstitutionally burdens women by banning abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy if a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a 19-page petition Wednesday seeking a rehearing before the entire 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Despite a federal appeals court's rejection of a lawsuit challenging a proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule that would curb carbon emissions from power plants, Arkansas may still litigate the issue as the rule is finalized this summer. The proposed rule, known as 111(d), would require that Arkansas's electric utilities reduce carbon emissions at their power plants by 44 percent by the year 2030. The national target is a 30 percent emissions reduction.