Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

The Arkansas House of Representatives chamber.
arkansashouse.org

Legislation detailing Arkansas' proposed $5.6 billion budget for the coming year calls for increasing funding for Medicaid and setting aside nearly $64 million in surplus funds.

Lawmakers on Monday got their first look at the proposed Revenue Stabilization Act, the budget bill that calls for a nearly $173 million increase in spending for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The Joint Budget Committee is expected to take up the measure on Tuesday.

Bill Witty sits on his porch in Harrison, Arkansas
Bobby Ampezzan / Arkansas Public Media

Bill Witty sits on his front porch on a large plot of land in Harrison, Ark. He lost his daughter Jill to an opioid overdose. She was 24 years old.

In the distance, over some rolling hills, is the cemetery where Jill is buried.

"You'd have to have field glasses to see it, but you can see her headstone from here," Witty points out. 

Governor Asa Hutchinson  Arkansas Works Medicaid expansion
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A top Trump administration official is visiting Arkansas next week as the state awaits word on proposals to move 60,000 people off its Medicaid expansion and impose a work requirement on thousands of participants.

File photo of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee filing to run for president at the Arkansas State Capitol on Nov. 2, 2015.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Former Republican presidential candidate and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has resigned from the board for the Country Music Association Foundation after his election was swiftly criticized in the music community.

On Wednesday, Huckabee was announced as a new member of board of the directors for the charitable arm of the association that runs the annual CMA Awards and the CMA Festival.

Leslie Rutledge
Governor's Office / You Tube

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says she will likely ask the governor to set an execution date for a convicted killer after a ruling by the state Supreme Court.

On Thursday the high court said two inmates – who came within hours of being executed last year – were not entitled to special assistance from mental health professionals during their trials.

Bruce Ward and Don Davis won last minute stays after claiming independent psychiatrists should have been available to help develop trial strategies.

Asa Hutchinson signs an executive order Thursday creating the Arkansas School Safety Commission.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

In the aftermath of the latest school shooting in the United States, an Arkansas panel will study ways to better protect students and teachers. Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed an executive order Thursday creating the Arkansas School Safety Commission.

The 11 members come from education and law enforcement backgrounds, and the governor will appoint a mental health professional in the coming days. Additional appointees from different geographic regions of the state may also be named.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

President Trump hosted lawmakers from both parties to discuss gun policy and school safety on Wednesday.

During the freewheeling meeting, Trump appeared to support a number of conflicting measures. NPR journalists have annotated a transcript of the exchange, adding context and analysis.

Loading...

Arkansas lawmakers have a couple more weeks in this year’s budgeting session to re-approve funding for Arkansas Works, the state’s healthcare program for low-income people. Yet, a handful of state senators and their votes to continue the program remain on the fence.

Arkansas Works  covers about 285,564 low-income people. It also brings in federal dollars that are important to the state budget. The Arkansas Department of Human Services says it would cost the state $148.9 million extra in fiscal year 2019 to continue serving the program’s population without the federal match from Arkansas Works.

One of the three drugs Arkansas uses in its death chamber is about to expire, and unless the state can find a new supply it won't be able to execute three men with 11th-hour appeals pending at the state Supreme Court.

Arkansas rushed to execute eight men over 11 days last year, before 160 vials of a sedative expired. Ultimately, Arkansas put four men to death over eight days last April.

The state's supply of vecuronium bromide expires Thursday. It stops the inmates' breathing while a third drug used stops their hearts.

Pages