Arkansas House members have passed a bill to restore a capital gains tax break that had been reduced to help pay for a middle class income tax cut proposed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

The House voted 68-17 Wednesday for the bill and sent it to the Senate. It would raise the percentage of a capital gain that is exempt from the income tax to 50 percent, which would cost the state $6 million in the coming fiscal year and $11 million the following year.

Key Hired As Education Commissioner, Starts 'Right Now'

Mar 25, 2015
Johnny Key Asa Hutchinson
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The State Board of Education unanimously approved former state Sen. Johnny Key to be the state’s new education commissioner Wednesday.

The state’s top education commissioner serves at the pleasure of the governor but is hired by the State Board. Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced in a press conference March 2 that Key was his preferred choice for that position.

A spokesman for Gov. Asa Hutchinson says a broad review of the Arkansas Department of Human Services following the report that a lawmaker gave his adopted daughter to a man who later sexually abused her should cost taxpayers little-to-no money.

Hutchinson spokesman J.R. Davis said Tuesday that the $25,000 payment for an out-of-state consultant to analyze the agency will be paid for by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a national philanthropy for disadvantaged children.

The National Weather Service in Little Rock says a weak tornado, commonly known as a "water spout" touched down in northwest Arkansas.

Weather service meteorologist Jeff Hood says the tornado briefly touched Bull Shoals Lake in Marion County Tuesday night and did not reach land. He said it will likely be classified an EF0 - the weakest tornado with wind speeds of 65 to 85 mph. There are no reports of damage.

An Arkansas House committee has rejected another attempt to end the state's joint celebration of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Justin harris
Arkansas Times

Legislation banning the "re-homing" of some adopted children is heading to the Arkansas Senate for a vote, a move prompted by a state lawmaker who gave his adopted daughters to away to a man who later sexually assaulted one of them.

The Arkansas House has endorsed a key part of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's criminal justice reform plan to help ease overcrowding at county jails.

Lawmakers voted 79-5 Tuesday to allow the state to partner with county jails on regional facilities to help clear the backlog of more than 2,600 state inmates at the facilities. It also allows inmates to apply for Medicaid benefits and provides avenues for them to enroll in drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

Don Haney, host of KUAR's Haney's Jazz and former midday announcer at KUAR and KLRE, died on Tuesday, March 24. Haney was 80. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, March 31 at Ashby Funeral Home.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) speaking at ribbon cutting for MISO.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

West Little Rock is now the home of a $22 million electric-grid operations center for parts of Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The new building for Midcontinent Independent System Operator – or MISO – is linked to others as far north as Manitoba.

MISO President John Bear told nearly 200 onlookers that the city met the company’s needs.

An Arkansas House committee has supported a plan to help restart executions in the state by allowing different drugs to be used in lethal injections and to shield where those chemicals come from.

The House Judiciary Committee sent the bill to the House on a voice vote on Tuesday. It would allow the Department of Correction to either use a barbiturate or a combination of three drugs for executions. The agency would also be barred from releasing who makes or supplies the drugs.