Local & Regional News

Oil Spill Aftermath
5:42 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Congressmen Visit Arkansas Oil Spill Cleanup Site

Mayflower Oil Spill

The chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee joined Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin of Arkansas for a tour of the oil spill cleanup site at Mayflower northwest of Little Rock and both said they believe ExxonMobil is doing everything possible to clean up the site. 

Republican U.S. Representative Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania joined Griffin for the tour Sunday. ExxonMobil Pipeline Company's Pegasus pipeline ruptured in Mayflower on March 29th and spilled thousands of barrels of oil.

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Local & Regional News
7:15 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Arkansas Lawmaker Criticized For Boston Manhunt Tweet

An Arkansas lawmaker is apologizing for the timing - but not the content - of a tweet he sent questioning whether "Boston liberals" wished they had an assault weapon to protect themselves while police searched for a Boston Marathon bombing suspect.

Republican Rep. Nate Bell on Friday morning posted on Twitter: "I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine?" Bell's comments rapidly spread online, as police hunted for a suspect in Monday's Boston Marathon bombing that killed three.

Tax Cuts
7:11 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Arkansas House Gives $140M Tax Cut Package Final OK

A package of tax cuts that's estimated to eventually cost the state more than $140 million a year is headed to Gov. Mike Beebe's desk.

The House on Friday approved a dozen bills that include cuts in the state's taxes on income, capital gains and manufacturers' utility bills. The package also includes tax breaks for farmers and armed service members.

The total tax cut package is estimated to cost the state $10.7 million in the coming fiscal year, nearly $97 million the next year and will eventually cost more than $140 million annually.

Ethics Reform
7:07 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Arkansas House Sends Ethics, Petition Rules To Voters

A proposal to ban most lobbyist gifts to elected officials, prohibit corporate contributions and loosen Arkansas' term limits for legislators will appear on the ballot next year.

By a 76-3 vote, the House approved a proposal to let voters decide on adding a package of ethics and campaign finance rules to the state's constitution. The measure also would set up an independent commission to set salaries for state elected officials.

Ballot Initiatives
7:03 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Ballot Initiatives In Arkansas Could Become More Difficult With Proposed Amendment

Arkansas voters will get to decide whether to toughen the requirements to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot through the petition process after the state House gave final approval to the measure Friday.

Senate Joint Resolution 16 would require that signatures be 75 percent correct for petitioners to receive additional time to collect the full, required number of signatures.

Representative Jeremy Gillam, R-Judsonia, said the amendment is needed in light of a high number of fake or incorrect names that were turned in on petitions before the last election.

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Local & Regional News
5:40 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Arkansas Turns To Different Lethal Injection Drug

After surrendering its supply of a lethal injection drug to federal agents in 2011, Arkansas turned to a somewhat surprising place to look for another drug: a list prepared by lawyers for several death row inmates.

The state Department of Correction told The Associated Press this week that it decided to switch to phenobarbital after lawyers for several inmates said in a lawsuit that it might be an available drug.

Electric Vehicle
4:04 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Kids As Young As 12 Can Build Next Generation Electric Cars

Students from Mabelvale Magnet Middle School
Credit Kezia Nanda

About a hundred students and teachers from around the state gathered on Friday in Little Rock for an Electric Vehicle Rally.

KUAR’s Kezia Nanda was at the competition. 

Through the project, kids as young as 12 years old know a lot about engineering and technology. 

Caleb Woodruff said, “I feel good because Mr. Gullett taught us a lot of things in class and he’s teaching us more about go karts.”

“(I’m) a little nervous because we’re in the quiz bowl and it’s difficult to ask a lot of questions,” said Alejandro Salas.

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Local & Regional News
12:45 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Osceola Kicks In $2 Million For Big River Steel

The city of Osceola is the latest governmental body to approve incentives for the planned $1.1 billion Big River Steel mill in northeast Arkansas.

The Blytheville Courier News reports that the Osceola City Council approved $2 million this week for
the new steel mill.

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Local & Regional News
12:39 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Arkansas House Approves Tax Hike For Forestry Agency

A proposal to increase the tax that private timberland owners pay to help the financially troubled  Arkansas Forestry Commission's firefighting efforts is headed to Gov. Mike Beebe's desk.  

By a 75-10 vote, the House approved legislation that would increase the fire protection tax from 15 cents an acre to 20 cents an acre.

The tax increase would be effective for assessment years beginning in 2013. The measure is expected to raise about $700,000 a year.  

The proposal was approved a year after the commission's director resigned over questions about finances.

Local & Regional News
12:38 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Arkansas Unemployment Rate Unchanged At 7.2 Percent

The Arkansas unemployment rate for March was unchanged at 7.2 percent.

The state Department of Workforce Services said Friday that the state's number of unemployed people declined, but not enough to change the jobless rate.  

The national unemployment rate for March fell from 7.7 percent in February to 7.6 percent.  

For the month, Arkansas jobs increased in 10 major industry sectors and declined in one sector, manufacturing.