Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers are beginning work on school security proposals they want to take up during next year's session in response to the recent Florida high school shooting.

Sen. Missy Irvin and Rep. Mark Lowery said the Joint Performance Review Committee will hold a series of hearings this year and work on a package of bills to recommend aimed at improving student safety. The Republican lawmakers co-chair the committee.

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola and potential candidates Frank Scott, Jr. and Warwick Sabin.
Arkansas Times

A judge has thrown out a lawsuit by the city of Little Rock that attempted to stop two potential candidates for mayor from using exploratory committees to raise money.

The city argued that Frank Scott, Jr. and Warwick Sabin should follow a city ordinance that prohibits raising campaign money until June. But the ordinance doesn’t mention exploratory committees for all but formally declared candidates like Sabin and Scott.

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission members Dr. Carlos Roman and James Miller at Tuesday's meeting.
Bobby Amppezan / Arkansas Public Media

A key step in the implementation of Arkansas's voter-approved medical marijuana program took place Tuesday, as five companies were announced who are being offered licenses to grow marijuana. 95 had applied. 

The winning companies were scored individually by the members of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, with key information such as names and other details redacted so there would be no favoritism in who was awarded licenses.

Studio Gang

Having undergone eight additions since its humble beginning as the Museum of Fine Arts in 1937, the Arkansas Arts Center will soon be getting a major redesign to unify the facility with itself, and the outside world.

Two architectural firms, Studio Gang and Little Rock-based Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects, have teamed up with New York-based landscape architectural firm SCAPE to create a concept design for the project.

When the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration announces its five highest scoring applicants to own and operate a marijuana cultivation facility for the state's germinating medical marijuana industry, it will be a surprise to the Medical Marijuana Commission who scored the 95 applicants.

"These 95 applications were scored individually by each commissioner. They were then brought back to the Alcoholic Beverage Control office [and] turned in individually; so at this point the commissioners are also going to learn along with everyone else those top five scores," Scott Hardin, spokesman for the department, said Monday.

A proposal to legalize casinos in Arkansas has been revised to allow expanded gambling at a greyhound track and horse track that already offer video poker and other electronic games.

Driving Arkansas Forward submitted its proposed constitutional amendment to the state attorney general's office, which had rejected an earlier version of the proposal. The AG must certify the measure's wording before the group can begin gathering signatures to try and place it on the November ballot.

Cody Hiland violent crime
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A federal prosecutor says 49 people have been indicted on gang- and drug-related charges in a crackdown on gun violence in Arkansas' capital city.

U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland says law enforcement officers arrested 21 people in early-morning raids Thursday and another 14 were taken into custody last week. Five defendants are in state custody and nine are fugitives.

Leaders from Arkansas’s sizable rice industry are coming together to seek a compromise on the divisive issue of agricultural burning, which tends to inflame relations each fall between farmers who burn residue off their fields and people who say they’re creating a public health hazard that can be seen and smelled for miles.

That concern was one of the leading issues at the Arkansas Rice Federation's annual meeting this week in Jonesboro. Most farmers, according to Jeff Rutledge with the Arkansas Rice Council, want to be good neighbors.

“Our families are raised here, and we breathe this air, too,” he said.

Pulaski County Sheriff's Office

Crews in central Arkansas rescued 17 students after a school bus drove off the road and got stuck in floodwaters.

The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office says the bus became stuck Wednesday morning in a rural part of North Little Rock. No one was hurt.

Authorities say crews with the county's road and bridge department backed a truck up to the rear of the bus and rescued the students, eight at a time.

Flood warnings are in effect Wednesday across several states, from Texas to Ohio.

classroom desks
http://www.nctq.org

Arkansas lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow taxpayers with tax-deductible 529 college savings plans to withdraw funds for tuition at public, private and religious K-12 schools.

A legislative subcommittee on Wednesday recommended including the change in a budget bill for the state treasurer's office. The proposal now heads to the Joint Budget Committee.

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