Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

The Arkansas House of Representatives chamber.
arkansashouse.org

While Arkansas legislators have just wrapped up a session to work on the state budget, Gov. Asa Hutchinson wants them to stick around for additional work on pharmacy benefits, highway funding and other matters. Hutchinson on Monday called a special session to convene Tuesday morning.

Bill Clinton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Bill Clinton was known as the rock ‘n’ roll president – the first from a generation that grew up on the music to reach the highest office in the nation. Sunday, he spoke at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock at the opening of a temporary exhibit that looks at the impact rock music has had over the years on politics and social movements.

marijuana
npr.org

The five companies selected to cultivate medical marijuana in Arkansas should soon be able to set up shop and begin growing. Scott Hardin, a spokesman for the state Department of Finance and Administration, said Friday that since the top companies were named last week by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, all have met their  required financial obligations.

"Over the past week we’ve been receiving the licensing fees from the companies, we’ve been receiving the performance bonds, and as of this morning, all five companies have paid," Hardin said.

Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' governor has signed into law legislation to continue the state's Medicaid expansion, which will impose a work requirement on thousands of participants this year.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson's office said Thursday the Republican signed the budget bill for Medicaid and the expansion, which uses federal and state funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. More than 285,000 people are on the program, which was created as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law.

Dr. Christopher M. Jones at a 3D printer inside the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in North Little Rock.
Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub

A new executive director and lead maker has been named for the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. The non-profit based in North Little Rock provides cutting edge tools like 3D printers and advanced computer technology to inspire people, help them learn and create.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

A handful of Arkansas environmental advocacy groups are seeking to block legislation from being considered that could allow a controversial hog farm to keep operating.

Newton County-based C&H Hog Farms has come under scrutiny in recent years due to concerns over waste runoff into the Buffalo National River Watershed. The farm sits on Big Creek, a major tributary of the Buffalo.

Arkansas House
ArkansasHouse.org

Arkansas lawmakers have voted to continue the state's Medicaid expansion another year after federal officials approved a plan to impose a work requirement on the program.

The Arkansas House approved by a 79-15 vote Wednesday the budget for the state's Medicaid program and the expansion, which uses federal and state funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. The measure needed at least 75 votes to pass. It now heads to the governor's desk.

Southwestern Electric Power Company on Tuesday fired back at a group opposing the $4.5 billion “Wind Catcher” project designed to deliver wind-powered energy to Arkansas.

State Sen. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale) cast the decisive 27th vote in favor of granting Gov. Asa Hutchinson's appropriation to the Department of Human Services funding the state's health care coverage for low-income Arkansans called Arkansas Works. 

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for a vote, and then on to Hutchinson, who's expected to sign it.

A medical marijuana firm originally from northeast Arkansas has chosen to build its cultivation plant in the Pine Bluff area.

Natural State Wellness Enterprises had its choice of either Jackson or Jefferson counties because two of its applications were chosen among the top five. But the firm picked Jefferson County on Friday because the state's new medical marijuana law only permits the company to operate one facility.

Company spokesman Bart Calhoun said Monday that the decision was based on economic incentives and the county's central location.

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