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Local & Regional News
7:07 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Arkansas Court Affirms Class-Action Status In Tobacco Suit

The Arkansas Supreme Court says a lawsuit against tobacco giant Philip Morris USA can proceed under class-action status.

The lawsuit seeks refunds on every pack of Marlboro Lights sold in Arkansas from 1971 to 2010. The plaintiffs claim Philip Morris, which is part of the Altria Group, deceived smokers about health risks.

The justices' 6-1 decision was released Thursday.

The company wants each case considered separately, saying some smokers bought the cigarettes for their taste, packaging or brand reputation - not for claims they had lower tar and nicotine.

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Local & Regional News
5:30 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Arkansas AG Testifies In Washington Against Proposed EPA Regulations

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge speaking Thursday before the House of Representatives Oversight Subcommittee on the Interior.
Credit oversight.house.gov/

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge testified before a congressional committee in Washington Thursday, saying proposed regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency would be an "economic disaster" for Arkansas.

The House Oversight Subcommittee on the Interior heard from officials about the Clean Power Plan, which in Arkansas would require cutting carbon emissions by 44 percent by 2030.

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Local & Regional News
4:27 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Panel OKs School Consolidation Waiver, Bill Heads To Full House

Credit arkansas.gov

An Arkansas House panel is supporting a proposal to grant waivers to some school districts that fall below the state's minimum enrollment, rolling back a key part of reforms enacted in response to a long-running education funding case.

The House Education Committee on Thursday advanced the proposal to allow districts with fewer than the required 350 students to request waivers from the state Board of Education if they're not classified as being in academic, fiscal or facilities distress.

The proposal now heads to the House.

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Local & Regional News
2:25 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Bill To Include Drones In Anti-Voyeurism Law Heads To Governor

The Arkansas Senate passed a bill Thursday to add drone surveillance to the state’s voyeurism laws. The legislation would make it illegal to use a drone to photograph or view someone underneath their clothing, or in private.  

Sen. Jon Woods, R-Springdale, spoke in favor of the bill, which passed 27-1. He said the Arkansas State Police had issues with the original language of the bill, but that this version would not interfere with their duties.

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Local & Regional News
2:18 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Arkansas Lawmaker Plans To File Firing Squad Legislation

Civil War reenactors play out the execution of a war deserter in Landis Valley, Pennsylvania in 2006.
Credit Jeffrey Martin / Flickr.com

An Arkansas lawmaker whose daughter was murdered by a man now on death row says she will file a bill legalizing firing squads after a Senate committee passed a bill to ban capital punishment.

Republican Rep. Rebecca Petty of Rogers said she plans to introduce a bill this week instructing the state to consider other execution methods, including firing squads. Arkansas has 32 inmates on death row, but hasn't executed anyone since 2005 due to ongoing legal challenges over lethal injection protocol.

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Local & Regional News
1:46 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Arkansas House Committee Endorses Guns On Campus Bill

Rep. Charlie Collins of Fayetteville speaking to reporters after passage of his bill by a House committee Thursday.
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Public colleges and universities in Arkansas would be required to allow staff and faculty with concealed carry licenses to carry their guns onto campus under a bill approved by a House committee.

The House Education Committee voted Thursday for the reworked measure that was narrowly defeated earlier this month.

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Local & Regional News
11:37 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Cyberattack Touches 39,000 Arkansas Consumers With Blue Cross Plans

Some 39,000 Arkansas consumers were impacted by the massive data breach that hit one of the nation’s largest insurance carriers in late January, including nine individuals who had their Social Security information breached, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield spokesman Max Greenwood told Talk Business & Politics on Wednesday.

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Local & Regional News
2:10 am
Thu February 26, 2015

US Supreme Court Justice Scalia To Speak In Arkansas At Marshals Museum

Justice Antonin Scalia
Credit U.S. Supreme Court

United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia is scheduled to speak at the U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith.

Scalia is to speak Thursday as part of the inaugural Winthrop Paul Rockefeller Distinguished Lecture Series.

The three-year series is funded with a grant from Lisenne Rockefeller to bring leaders from the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government to Fort Smith to discuss the history the U.S. Marshals have with each branch.

Lisenne Rockefeller was the wife of the late Winthrop Paul Rockefeller.

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Local & Regional News
5:43 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Bill Would License, Regulate Grain Dealers In Response To Turner Grain Crisis

A bill was filed Wednesday that would let the State Plant Board require grain dealers to post surety bonds, obtain a license, and temporarily rescind that license without a hearing.

Senate Bill 555, the Arkansas Grain Dealers Act, is a reaction to the loss by Arkansas farmers of millions of dollars unpaid by Brinkley-based dealer Turner Grain Merchandizing. Butch Calhoun, Arkansas’ secretary of agriculture, in October estimated total producer losses at $50 million.

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Local & Regional News
3:27 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Federal Lawsuit Targeting Arkansas Steel Mill Is Dismissed

A lawsuit seeking to stop construction of a steel mill in northeast Arkansas has been dismissed.

U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes on Wednesday dismissed the lawsuit by Nucor Steel against Big River Steel. Holmes ruled that the citizen lawsuit under the federal Clean Air Act is not authorized and that his court has no jurisdiction.

Nucor claimed Big River Steel has violated the Clean Air Act. Big River Steel countered that the mill is still under construction and not operational, so it can't be emitting anything to violate the act.

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