Local & Regional News

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.  

Local & Regional News
12:36 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Arkansas House Backs Income, Capital Gains Tax Cuts

Credit flickr.com

Arkansas lawmakers have given final approval to cutting the state's taxes on taxes and capital gains, part of a package of reductions that is expected to eventually cost the state more than $140 million a year.

The House on Friday approved four tax cut measures that also include breaks for volunteer firefighters and farmers.  

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

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Study To Expand Arkansas 10
12:14 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Arkansas Highway Experts Continue With Plans To Widen Cantrell Road

Officials with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department are still drafting plans to widen Cantrell Road in Little Rock. 

Department spokesman Danny Straessle says recent findings from an improvement study of an 8-mile section of the road shows expansion is necessary to alleviate traffic congestion. 

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Local & Regional News
9:37 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Arkansas Lawmakers Handed Bill Outlining $4.9 Billion Budget

Arkansas lawmakers are considering boosting funding for public schools and Medicaid while also giving state employees a 2 percent cost-of-living raise under legislation outlining the state's proposed $4.9 billion budget for the coming year.  

Legislators were handed copies Thursday night of the proposed Revenue Stabilization Act, the budget bill for the state. The measure prioritizes spending based on expected revenue and is scheduled to go before the Joint Budget Committee Friday. 

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Legislative Ethics
7:04 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Ethics Amendment Passes Arkansas Senate

Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock) says HJR1009 that he sponsored with Sen. Jon Woods (R-Springdale) is very similar to a proposal the group Regnat Populous tried to get onto the ballot last year.
Credit Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

A proposed constitutional amendment that would, among other things, prohibit state legislators and constitutional officers from accepting gifts from lobbyists is closer to being on the 2014 ballot after passing the Senate Thursday.

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