Local & Regional News

Local & Regional News
6:27 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Arkansas AG Rejects Marijuana Legalization Measure

Credit npr.org

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has again rejected the wording of a proposed ballot measure aimed at legalizing marijuana in the state.

McDaniel on Wednesday cited several problems with the wording of the proposed constitutional amendment submitted by Marjorie LeClair of Shirley.

McDaniel must certify the proposed amendment before supporters can begin gathering the 78,133 signatures needed to place it on next year's ballot.

The proposal calls for repealing all state laws related to the cannabis plant.

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Local & Regional News
3:20 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

What Does The Government Shutdown Mean For University Research?

Researchers at the University of Arkansas say that, at least in the near term, their research can continue as usual despite a federal government shutdown.

Jim Rankin, vice provost for research and economic development at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, explains that while the research they do relies heavily on federal funding, the money is already there.

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Local & Regional News
3:09 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Arkansas Revenue Up In September

Arkansas finance officials say higher than expected income and sales tax collections pushed the state's revenue higher in September.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration said Wednesday that the state's net available revenue last month totaled $522.8 million, which is $28.2 million above the same month last year and $16.3 million above forecast.

Arkansas' revenue for the fiscal year that began July 1 is $29.7 million higher than forecast.

The department said the September revenue was boosted by gains in all major categories of tax collections.

Local & Regional News
2:56 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Thousands of Arkansas Residents Confirm Private Option Enrollment

More than 55,000 Arkansans have opted to enroll in new healthcare covered under the private option law, according to the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

The agency, which contacted more than 132,000 eligible households in September, will begin sending out letters this week that explain the enrollment process. Reports also indicate a total of 2,539 children were deemed uninsured and automatically enrolled in ARKids First.

The number of positive responses quashed initial uncertainty, according to DHS Communications Director Amy Webb.

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Local & Regional News
1:59 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

National Wildlife Refuges in Arkansas Closed By Government Shutdown

The White River National Wildlife Refuge is one of ten refuges closed by government shutdown.

The federal government shutdown also means the shutdown of all ten National Wildlife Refuges in Arkansas.

The closure prohibits fishing, hunting, camping, and other recreational activities on the federal lands and waters.

Keith Weaver is the project leader for the Central Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge complex. He says that a lengthy shutdown could have its consequences.

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Local & Regional News
10:50 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Robinson Expansion Passes Major Hurdle

Mark Abernathy at City Hall

Major plans for Robinson Auditorium were set into motion Monday night by the Little Rock Board of Directors. 

The Board cast a unanimous vote to hold an election for funding a nearly $70 million expansion and renovation of the auditorium. The funds come from an existing 2 percent hospitality tax created in 1980 to build the Statehouse Convention Center.

Tensions arose over two primary concerns. Is the benefit limited to downtown while the funding comes from everywhere? Was there enough notice given, particularly to those that would pay the tax?

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Local & Regional News
6:09 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Arkansas Exchange Board To Meet As Sign-up Continues

Arkansas Health Connector

The board for Arkansas' insurance exchange is meeting a day after the sign-up period began for the online marketplace that was created under the federal health care law.

The Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace Board of Directors planned to meet Wednesday morning at the University of Arkansas System's B. Alan Sugg Boardroom.

The 11-member board was created this year to oversee the operation of the online marketplace where about 500,000 Arkansans are expected to compare policies and purchase insurance under the health overhaul.

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Local & Regional News
6:00 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Arkansas Attorney General: Keno Decision Up To Lotto Commission

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel says it's up to the state's Lottery Commission to determine whether it can offer keno under the constitutional amendment setting up the lottery. 

McDaniel said in an advisory opinion Tuesday that determining whether a particular game may be conducted as a lottery is a task that should first be undertaken by the Arkansas Lottery Commission. 

A state legislator in July had asked for the opinion on keno and bingo, and also asked whether the lottery could authorize draw games where the results are posted on video monitors.

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Local & Regional News
5:49 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Arkansas Says 955 Workers Furloughed Over Shutdown - So Far

Arkansas Capitol

Arkansas budget officials say state furloughs imposed because of the partial shutdown of the federal government has turned out to be not as deep as expected - so far.

Richard Weiss of the Department of Finance and Administration said Tuesday 955 workers were furloughed, according to figures from each agency. 

The Military Department lost 564 people while the Crowley's Ridge Technical Institute lost one.

Federal money helps pay for some state jobs. Gov. Mike Beebe warned on Monday that up to 2,000 state employees might be furloughed.

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Local & Regional News
5:00 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Court Dates Rescheduled In Cyclist Crash Case

Court dates have been rescheduled for a 21-year-old man accused of driving into and injuring a group of bicyclists traveling through Arkansas on a cross-country trip.

Prosecutor John Bell said Tuesday that Teagan Ross Martin's case has been reset for Jan. 7, with a pretrial hearing set for Dec. 4.

Martin of Newport faces a negligent homicide charge after one of the cyclists died this summer. He also faces one count of careless and prohibited driving and 13 counts related to overtaking a bicycle.

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