Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

The Arkansas State Board of Education heard an update Friday from ForwARd Arkansas, a project established by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and the State Board of Education.

Jared Jenderson, of ForwARd Arkansas, told the Board of his team's efforts to seek community input and set goals for closing the educational achievement gaps between Arkansas and other states.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says it is time to revisit whether the state's appellate judges should be appointed rather than popularly elected.

Speaking to the Pulaski County Bar Association on Friday, Hutchinson said he is interested in looking at the merit selection of state Supreme Court and appeals court judges.

Hutchinson says he still supports popular election of the state's circuit and district court judges.

Hutchinson stopped short of calling for appointment of judges and didn't lay out a specific plan for their merit selection.

Amidst increased attention to child welfare issues brought on by investigations of State Rep. Justin Harris's (R-West Fork) "rehoming" of his two adopted daughters, the Arkansas Department of Human Services held a rally at the State Capitol Friday to observe Child Abuse Awareness Month.

A group representing downtown Little Rock's businesses is calling on Arkansas' governor to issue an order extending workplace anti-discrimination protections to gay and lesbian state employees.


The Downtown Little Rock Partnership's board of directors on Friday called on Gov. Asa Hutchinson to issue an order protecting employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Hutchinson, a Republican, had floated the idea last week as he called for changes to a religious objections measure.


Charnella King a parent of students in the to-be consolidated Hughes School District.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Hughes School District tried unsuccessfully on Thursday to become the first in the state to try to save itself from consolidation by utilizing a newly enacted law. After denying a waiver request the Arkansas Board of Education voted 7-1 to consolidate the schools into the West Memphis School District effective July 1st.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR

Arkansas lawmakers are set to return to the Capitol later this month to end this year's legislative session.

Legislative leaders on Thursday announced that lawmakers would return April 22 to formally adjourn the legislative session. The General Assembly recessed the session last week after a last-minute fight over a religious objections measure.

The adjournment will likely be quick and mostly ceremonial, since there aren't any vetoed bills that lawmakers are expected to attempt to override.

A federal judge has scheduled a hearing regarding the creation of a new school district in Jacksonville.

U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall has scheduled the hearing for April 17 at 10 a.m. Voters in November approved creation of the new district and separating from the Pulaski County Special School District.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has overturned the life without parole prison sentence of a man who was a juvenile when he was convicted of attempted capital murder.

The court on Thursday overturned the sentence given to Steven Wayne Bramlett and sent the case back to circuit court.

The 54-year-old Bramlett was 17 when he committed the crime. He was sentenced after pleading guilty in 1979 in Pope County.


Grid operator Southwest Power Pool (SPP) said Wednesday that it would cost up to $2.9 billion a year to develop a regional plan to comply with President Obama’s proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) that the federal Environmental Protection Agency is expected to hand down later this summer.

Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he plans to move quickly to appoint three special justices to hear a case before the state Supreme Court related to a challenge over the ban on same-sex marriage.