Business leaders and start-up hopefuls were joined by elected officials Tuesday for the launch of the Arkansas Venture Center in Little Rock. Governor Mike Beebe pledged a $500,000 matching grant to the center, governed by the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Proponents of the development argue it will foster a climate that accelerates the growth of innovative, tech start-ups. Governor Beebe said Arkansans have succeeded in starting international companies that dominate their industries but more needs to be done to encourage new, start-ups with limited resources.
Employees of the University of Arkansas system received notice last week that those who are married to spouses of the same-sex may now add their spouses to their insurance coverage. However, the Arkansas Supreme Court's stay of Judge Chris Piazza's same-sex marriage ruling has changed that.
Polls are open until 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Arkansas’s primary election. Turnout has been reported to be light, as expected, at locations around the state.
At West Side Baptist Church in Little Rock, a steady trickle of voters made their way in and out of the polling site. But Larry Brannon noted he didn’t have a lot to choose from.
“I voted in the Democratic primary and so the choices are very lean, but I don’t want to miss voting, so I came. Most of (the races) were unopposed, but principally I wanted to vote for Mr. Ross and take a good look at the ballot.”
A Republican candidate for Arkansas governor who supports the new voter ID law was left waiting after he forgot his identification.
Spokesman Christian Olson told The Associated Press that Asa Hutchinson forgot his ID when he attempted to vote at the polls in Bentonville on Tuesday. Olson says a staffer was able to retrieve the ID and bring it to Hutchinson so he could vote.
Tuesday marks the first statewide test of the new law requiring voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot.
Federal officials plan to tour several projects in eastern Arkansas that are reducing water and nutrient pollution in the Mississippi Delta.
Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will join state and local leaders on a series of tours Tuesday. The officials will visit farms in Stuttgart and also stop by the 5 Oaks Duck Lodge and Hollowell Reservoir at Bayou Meto.
At each stop, farmers and experts will discuss strategies to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that reach waterways and the Mississippi Delta.
Arkansas election officials are predicting 20 percent of the state's 1.6 million registered voters will cast a ballot in Tuesday's primary election.
In Pulaski County, Director of Elections Bryan Poe expects it to be a little under that.
"In our office, we are estimating between 15 and 18 percent. That translates to somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 registered voters, just about in line with previous primary elections, if not a little bit lighter," Poe said.