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11:29 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Arkansas Senate OKs Bill Avoiding Special Election For Lt. Governor

The Arkansas Senate has unanimously approved a bill that would avoid a special election this year for the lieutenant governor's position left open by the resignation of Mark Darr.

The Senate voted 35-0 on Thursday in favor of the bill, which would enable Gov. Mike Beebe to not call a special election for the office within 10 months of the November election.

Darr resigned Feb. 1, and lawmakers hope to avoid a special election before the November general election that will fill the post. Lawmakers say holding a special election would cost $1 million.

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Local & Regional News
11:28 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Death Row Inmate Asks For New Penalty Hearing

A lawyer for the state is asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to reverse a ruling from about two years ago in order to keep a death row inmate from getting a new sentencing hearing.

Terrick Nooner was sentenced to execution for the 1993 slaying of 22-year-old Scot Stobaugh at a Little Rock laundry.

Nooner's attorney, Josh Lee, argued Thursday before the high court that the trial jury indicated on a form that it didn't consider mitigating evidence in the sentencing phase.

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Local & Regional News
10:54 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Arkansas-Based Wal-Mart's 4Q Profit Falls 21 Percent

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is offering a profit outlook below Wall Street expectations as economic pressures weigh on its low-income shoppers around the world. The world's largest retailer also saw its fourth-quarter profit drop 21 percent.

Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., said Thursday that it earned $4.43 billion, or $1.36 per share, in the quarter ended Jan. 31. That compares with $5.6 billion, or $1.67 per share, a year earlier.

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Fiscal Legislative Session
7:29 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Private Option Again Fails To Pass, More Votes To Come

Foes of the private option present proposals to completely stop any further enrollment in the program. Governor Mike Beebe and House Speaker Davy Carter say the plan is politically unrealistic.
Credit Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Arkansas Legislative leaders say they are finished negotiating new terms relating to the state’s private option alternative to Medicaid expansion, after the bill to appropriate funds for the program failed to get the needed votes to pass.

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Local & Regional News
5:52 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

No Changes To Arkansas Funding For Common Core

Arkansas legislators decided against changing the state's education funding bill to delay implementing a set of uniform benchmarks for reading, writing and math for three years.

State Rep. Randy Alexander, R-Fayetteville, proposed the modifications Wednesday in a committee hearing. He wants to bar the state and local districts from spending any public money on Common Core's implementation.

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Local & Regional News
5:46 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Arkansas AG Rejects Wording Of Marijuana Ballot Item

The Arkansas attorney general's office has rejected the wording of a proposal for the November ballot that would legalize marijuana in the state.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's office on Wednesday said the measure by Arkansans for Medical Cannabis contains ambiguities in its text.

McDaniel's office says it doesn't explain that passage would change the state constitution. Further, the office cites an ambiguity in a section covering how the state would regulate the sale of some marijuana.

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Local & Regional News
5:43 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Judge Excludes Some Evidence From Martha Shoffner Trial

Credit Pulaski County Sheriff's Office

A federal judge has granted a request by former Arkansas treasurer Martha Shoffner to exclude some evidence in her federal corruption trial next month.

Shoffner is to be tried starting March 3 on a 14-count bribery and extortion indictment.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge J. Leon Holmes ruled that prosecutors can't introduce evidence from 10 new mail fraud charges added this month, for which Shoffner will be tried separately.

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Local & Regional News
5:37 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Harrison City Leaders Struggle To Lose Community's Racist Image

White patriots confront members of a race task force meeting in Harrison. (left to right) Task Force member Layne Ragsdale, Carolyn Cline, local Klan operator Thom Robb and Robb's grandson-in-law Freeland Dunscombe.
Credit Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF

The North Arkansas city of Harrison is taking steps to rebrand itself, but some so-called white patriots are working to mark the town as their territory.

The Ozarks community, roiled by race riots in the early 1900s, has become a magnet for organized hate groups. It also attracted international media attention last fall with a billboard many considered racist.

A local race task force wants to counter that image, but at a recent meeting were confronted by Klan leaders. Jacqueline Froelich with Fayetteville station KUAF has the story. You can hear her report above.

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Local & Regional News
2:18 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Arkansas House Again Votes Down Medicaid Bill

Results of the Private Option vote Wednesday.
Credit Arkansas Times

Legislation to continue Arkansas' compromise Medicaid expansion has again failed in the state House.

The House on Wednesday voted 68-27 to reauthorize funding for the "private option" that was approved last year as an alternative to expanding Medicaid's enrollment under the federal health law. The measure needed at least 75 votes in the 100-member House.

The measure had failed a day earlier, falling five votes shy on Tuesday.

Under the private option, Arkansas is using federal Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for thousands of low-income residents.

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Local & Regional News
11:20 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Arkansas House To Vote Again On Private Option, Senate Delays Action

Arkansas' compromise Medicaid expansion is up for a vote in the state House, a day after an effort to keep the program alive failed in that chamber.

The House is expected to vote Wednesday on legislation to continue the "private option" that was approved last year as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law.

Through the private option, Arkansas is using federal Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for low-income workers.

The legislation failed in the House Tuesday, falling five votes shy of the 75 needed in the 100-member chamber.

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