Local & Regional News

Local & Regional News
2:53 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Arkansas House Advances Charter School Law Changes

The Arkansas House has passed a bill that would change the way the state approves charter schools.

The House on Thursday voted 87-0 in favor of a bill by Republican Rep. Mark Biviano of Searcy that would designate the state Education Department and not the Board of Education as the primary authorizer of charter schools.

Biviano's proposal would require the state education commissioner to appoint a panel of his staff to review and approve charter school applications.

The Board of Education would have the power to review that panel's decisions.

Local & Regional News
1:58 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Arkansas Panel Approves Tax Cut For Farm Structures

A House panel has approved exempting chicken-breeding houses and other farm structures from  sales taxes on utilities, a cut that state finance officials say will cost about $10 million a year.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee advanced the legislation Thursday. It's the first major tax cut approved by the panel this session.

The measure would exempt several types of agricultural structures from sales taxes on electricity, natural gas and other utilities. The proposal heads to the House for a vote as legislative leaders are negotiating a package of tax cuts.

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Local & Regional News
1:02 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Court Won't Reconsider Appeal In Arkansas Bombing Case

A federal appeals court has denied a request to reconsider the appeal of an Arkansas doctor convicted in a bombing that nearly killed the head of the state's medical board.

On Wednesday, the full 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and a three-judge panel rejected Randeep Mann's request for a rehearing.

In December, a three-judge panel ordered a new sentencing for Mann, who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the 2009 bombing at the home of Dr. Trent Pierce.

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Oaklawn Hosts Major Meet Saturday
12:29 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Jockeys Prepare Horses For Rebel Stakes At Oaklawn

Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Horse racing is well underway at Oaklawn in Hot Springs and there are only a few major events left before the racing season ends April 13th. According to Jennifer Hoyt with the racetrack, the much anticipated Rebel Stakes begins this Saturday.

“The Rebel Stakes race has a purse of $600,000 and this year there is 85 points available for horses that are looking to make the Kentucky Derby,” said Hoyt. “This is our last big prep-race for horses wanting to make the Arkansas Derby and the Kentucky Derby beyond that.”

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New Pope And Arkansas
10:24 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Arkansas Catholics React To Pope Francis' Election

Pope Francis

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor of the Diocese of Little Rock says Pope Francis is well-suited to address the church's challenges and that he reacted with "surprise and delight" at the selection. 

Taylor said Wednesday that having a pope from Latin America will bring a "special sensitivity" to poorer regions of the world, where two-thirds of Catholics live. 

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Pryor And Boozman On Budget And Energy
5:16 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Pryor And Boozman Discuss National Energy Needs And Budget Matters

From left to right: Senator John Boozman and Mark Pryor.

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas says he’s once again filing a bill that would mandate a 4-year review of all energy programs and energy needs in the country.

Pryor, a Democrat, said the measure received bipartisan support last year, but he’s still trying to gain support from Republican lawmakers this time around. Because of fracking and horizontal drilling, Pryor says there is now an abundance of natural gas in Arkansas, but…

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State Budget Policy
8:47 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Arkansas Highway Funding Bill Wants Part Of General Revenues, Educators Worried

Rep. Jonathan Barnett (R-Siloam Springs) is the sponsor of HB1418.
Credit Arkansas State Legislature

A bill that would direct a portion of the state’s general revenue to pay for highways in the years to come has many in state education and higher education programs worried they’ll lose a portion of their funding in the future.

  The bill’s sponsor, Representative Jonathan Barnett, a Republican from Siloam Springs, says some general revenue needs to shift to highways because revenue sources like the state’s fuel tax aren’t keeping the state’s highways adequately funded for upkeep.

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Voter ID Legislation
7:00 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Fierce Debate Precedes Passage Of Voter ID Bill In House

Rep. Stephen Meeks presents Voter ID bill before the Arkansas House.
Credit arkansashouse.org

After a series of impassioned arguments for and against, the Arkansas House today passed a bill that would require all voters to show some form of photo I.D. each time they vote. The bill received 51 yeas to 44 nays.

There were questions as to whether the bill required a two-thirds majority to pass as some had suggested it might be a change to the state's constitution.

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Local & Regional News
3:52 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Arkansas House Panel OKs Emergency Gun Regulation Bill

An Arkansas House panel has advanced a proposal to eliminate the governor's emergency power to  regulate guns during a disaster.

The House Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs on Wednesday approved the measure by a 13-4 vote.

It would remove from the list of emergency powers granted to the governor the ability to regulate guns. 

Currently the governor may, in the case of a disaster emergency, suspend or limit the sale, distribution and transportation of firearms.

He also has enhanced powers to regulate alcohol, explosives, and combustibles.

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Local & Regional News
3:49 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

House Advances Arkansas Voter ID Legislation

The Arkansas House has passed a bill that would require state voters to present photo identification  before casting a ballot.

The measure passed on a 51-44 vote Wednesday. The bill still has to go before the Senate for final passage. The upper chamber will have to concur on an amendment for the legislation to go to Gov. Mike Beebe.

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