Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

Arkansas Death Chamber Lethal Injection
Arkansas Department of Correction

Two pharmaceutical companies are asking a federal judge to prevent Arkansas from using its drugs in the planned execution of seven death row inmates later this month.

Fresenius Kabi USA and West-Ward Pharmaceuticals Corp. were granted permission Thursday to file a friend of the court brief in a lawsuit filed by the inmates aimed at halting the executions.

Fresenius Kabi said it appears the potassium chloride Arkansas plans to use in its three-drug protocol was manufactured by the company and may have been acquired improperly.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Karen Tricot Steward / Arkansas Public Media

Governor Asa Hutchinson spoke to the media for an hour Thursday, saying he has visited with officials at the Arkansas Department of Correction and now has great confidence that the seven executions set for this month will be carried out successfully.

"I reviewed the protocols, procedures and training. But, obviously there's contingency plans. That's why we have communication directly from the chambers there to my office," said Hutchinson.

Seven Arkansas inmates are scheduled to be executed over 11 days this month, starting Monday.

An Arkansas town with a population of about 10,000 will once again be host to one of the nation’s smallest but most enduring film festivals. The 16th annual Ozark Foothills FilmFest is kicking off Friday in Batesville. Screenings are happening on two consecutive weekends, April 14-15 and April 21-22, at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville.

Co-founder and executive director Judy Pest says this year’s slate of about 30 short and feature length films continues the festival’s somewhat challenging mission of showcasing depictions of rural life.

Last week a former Little Rock police officer took the stand in federal court to explain what happened on a night five years ago when he shot and killed a 15 year old. If he convinces 12 jurors he took appropriate action he and the city will not have to come up with millions in punitive and compensatory damages.

The same could never happen if something goes wrong in the planned executions of eight men over 11 days beginning Monday, say defense attorney Jeff Rosenzweig and Terrence Cain, University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law professor.

“The 11th [amendment to the Constitution] prohibits [lawsuits seeking] damages against states unless Congress specifically abrogates,” says Cain.

“The state has sovereign immunity in something like this,” Rosenzweig says.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is to talk with reporters Thursday morning about the pending executions of seven death row inmates. The governor scheduled the lethal injections over a 10-day period before the state's supply of one of the drugs used in the process expires.

How does going to church affect your view of politics? How does the message from the pulpit influence your level of community involvement? These were central issues in a research project involving dozens of students from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the Clinton School of Public Service.

Between 1982 and 1999, Jerry Givens executed more than 60 death row inmates for the state of Virginia. He also knows what it is like to be an inmate himself. Now, Givens is publicly against the death penalty and is urging Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to reconsider a plan to execute seven inmates in 10 days for the sake of the people who will be carrying out the executions.

Little Rock Technology tech Park
Talk Business & Politics

The long-awaited grand opening of Phase I development of the Little Rock Technology Park will take place in two weeks when the public will be invited to the downtown area to see the city’s multimillion dollar master plan to lure tech investment and talent to the region.

Little Rock Tech Park officials have scheduled a grand opening for the city’s first tech park on April 24, from 4-6 p.m. The evening event will include cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, along with tours of the unique open space, six-floor development.

The Arkansas House of Representatives chamber.
arkansashouse.org

For the first time in the history of polling from Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College, the Arkansas Legislature received a failing grade from state voters.

The latest survey of 550 Arkansas voters conducted on April 4, 2017, shows that more voters disapproved of the GOP-controlled legislature’s performance by a 12 percentage point margin. Voters were asked:

Q: Do you approve or disapprove of the job the Arkansas Legislature did during its recently completed session?

32% Approve 
44% Disapprove 
24% Don’t Know

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