News

Pages

Local & Regional News
12:30 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Judge Drops Out Of Arkansas Appeals Court Race

A circuit judge in Conway has withdrawn from the race for an Arkansas Court of Appeals seat after an online report questioned comments that the judge made anonymously on a message board.

Circuit Judge Mike Maggio acknowledged Wednesday that he made the statements online about women, sex and actress Charlize Theron's adoption proceedings.

Maggio says he takes "full responsibility" for the comments and apologized for a lapse in judgment.

Read more
Local & Regional News
6:16 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Jury Seated, Opening Statements In Martha Shoffner Trial

Federal prosecutors say former Arkansas treasurer Martha Shoffner corruptly accepted $36,000 in exchange for steering state business to a bond dealer.

But Shoffner's attorney argued in opening statements Wednesday that his client committed nothing more serious than an ethics violation by not reporting the cash.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jana Harris explained to the federal court jury how bond dealer Steele Stephens had twice as much state business as any other dealer and said it was in return for the $36,000.

Local & Regional News
5:16 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Arkansas Lawmakers Shift Focus Back To Budget

Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR

Lawmakers are beginning to discuss how to craft Arkansas' budget bill, with debate centered on how much money should be spent from the state's surplus.

Sen. Larry Teague, co-chair of the Joint Budget Committee, says legislators are continuing to discuss which proposals should be funded by surplus funds from Arkansas' General Improvement Fund. That surplus is about $126 million, according to the state's Department of Finance and Administration.

Lawmakers are seeking about $83.3 million in total in various proposals from the state's surplus.

Read more
Local & Regional News
3:50 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Arkansas Petition Regulations Ruled Unconstitutional

Attorney David Couch
Credit twitter.com

A Circuit Judge in Pulaski County has put a stop to provisions of a new law intended to regulate the petition process. Act 1413 sought to place stricter requirements on petitions, paid canvassers and groups sponsoring ballot measures.

In an opinion Tuesday Judge Mary McGowan ruled all six sections of the act are unconstitutional due to placing poorly defined conditions on petition gathering efforts, thus hampering and impairing the ability of Arkansans to exercise their rights.

Read more
Local & Regional News
2:25 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Hot Springs's Mountain Valley Spring Water Acquired

Credit wikipedia.org

The nation’s oldest company to continually bottle water, based in Hot Springs, is being acquired by an investor group in Kansas City. Collins Pugh the Director of Marketing for Mountain Valley Spring Water Company said in addition to a change in control of the company they are increasing production.

Read more
Local & Regional News
11:55 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Arkansas Legislative Panel Passes Sand Tax Exemption

An Arkansas legislative panel has endorsed a measure exempting sales tax collection on the sand used in the drilling of oil and natural gas.

The Joint Budget Committee approved the amendment Wednesday to the state Department of Finance and Administration's Revenue Services Division budget bill.

The proposal failed Tuesday, but Sen. Jonathan Dismang asked for the vote to be erased, citing the absence of several committee members.

Read more
Local & Regional News
11:11 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Arkansas Schools Seek Waivers As Snow Days Pile Up

Nearly 50 Arkansas school districts are asking the state to reduce the number of snow days that must be made up this year after repeated rounds of wintry weather.

The Arkansas Department of Education says 47 districts have requested waivers so far, with the number expected to grow after this week's storms.

Education department spokeswoman Kimberly Friedman says districts that have missed more than 10 days are eligible for the waivers. The deadline to apply is Friday.

Read more
Local & Regional News
10:18 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Judge Blocks Enforcement Of Arkansas Petition Law

A Pulaski County judge has issued an order that temporarily bars Secretary of State Mark Martin from enforcing new requirements on groups that gather signatures for proposed ballot measures.

Judge Mary McGowan ruled Tuesday that the 2013 law was "illegally vague" and she granted an injunction stopping enforcement of the measure until the case goes to trial.

The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and the Arkansas Public Law Center.

Read more
Local & Regional News
10:16 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Jury Selection To Start In Ex-Treasurer's Trial

File photo of Martha Shoffner leaving a court hearing in June 2013.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR

After a 2 1/2-day delay because of icy weather, jury selection is set to begin in the bribery trial of former Arkansas treasurer Martha Shoffner.

A pretrial hearing is set for 11 a.m. Wednesday in federal court in Little Rock, followed by jury selection at 1 p.m.

Shoffner faces a 14-count extortion and bribery indictment for allegedly accepting $36,000 in payments from a bond broker, to whom Shoffner is accused of steering state business.

Shoffner also faces 10 fraud charges for alleged campaign misspending, for which she'll be tried separately.

Read more
Arkansas General Assembly
3:18 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Arkansas House Passes Private Option on 5th Vote

As ice melted on state Capitol grounds Tuesday, tensions surrounding the 'private option' alternative to Medicaid expansion were also thawing inside. The appropriation bill for the program passed in the House of Representatives on a 76 to 24 vote.
Credit Chris Hickey / KUAR News

After more than a week of delaying a 5th vote on funding the private option, the Arkansas House of Representatives passed the measure Tuesday on a 76 to 24 vote. A minority of lawmakers in the House had prevented the funding bill for the Department of Human Services Division of Medical Services from reaching a three-fourths supermajority to pass out of that chamber, but three lawmakers switched their previous “no” votes to “yes” votes.

Read more

Pages