News

While the Democratic and Republican parties garner the vast majority of media attention, fund raising, and votes the Libertarian Party of Arkansas is busy organizing.

The party held its nominating convention in Little Rock February 21-23. After extensive signature gathering efforts the party is on the ballot statewide. Party Chairman Jessica Paxton said a number of candidates were nominated Saturday.

Michael Hibblen/ KUAR News

Republican Representative and Senate hopeful Tom Cotton delivered the Republican Party's weekly address and used the opportunity to tout the “true grit” of Arkansans while lambasting the policies of President Barack Obama.

In particular Cotton took aim at the Affordable Care Act.

“The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects Obamacare will cost the equivalent of at least two and half million full time jobs. What do we get for all of this pain? Obamacare will add trillions of new spending at a time of record debt,” said Cotton.

Garland Co. Sheriff's Office

The Arkansas Supreme Court has suspended the law license of Hot Springs attorney Andrea Davis, with whom Attorney General Dustin McDaniel admitted having an extramarital relationship.

A lawyer for Davis said Friday she won't contest the suspension for the time being and that her first priority is getting "her life in order."

Arkansas Business reports the interim suspension order didn't list a reason why she was disciplined.

Martha Shoffner
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Former Arkansas treasurer Martha Shoffner is asking a federal judge to throw out corruption charges on which she is to be tried in a little over a week.

Shoffner faces trial March 3 on a 14-count extortion and bribery indictment, which accuses her of accepting $36,000 from a bond dealer in exchange for steering state business his way.

Shoffner asked Friday that the counts be thrown out on grounds that the allegations don't involve interstate commerce. Lawyers for Shoffner argue that to allow prosecution would "extend federal power beyond its proper bounds."

Little Rock-based Windstream Corp. is cutting 400 positions, equal to 3 percent of its workforce.

The company issued a news release Friday that says the cuts will improve its operational efficiency and save about $20 million per year. Windstream expects a first-quarter charge of between $9 million and $10 million to pay severance packages.

Windstream, which has 13,500 employees, says about 175 of the affected workers accepted buyouts.

For the fourth time in as many days, the Arkansas House of Representatives failed to pass a measure that would fund the private option, the state’s unique plan to provide hundreds of thousands of poor people with private health insurance.  The funding bill failed on a 71 to 18 vote, with many members voting in absentia (Friday is normally a day off for legislators.

Authorities have identified the worker killed at a Newport plant after a kettle of liquid steel spilled.

Jackson County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy James Brock says the accident occurred Wednesday afternoon at Arkansas Steel Associates.

Brock says 49-year-old Michael Earl Myers died when a cable carrying a kettle of molten steel broke, causing the liquid steel to spill. Another employee, who hasn't been identified, was injured.

The Daily Citizen reports that a memorial service for Myers is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Powell Funeral Chapel in Bald Knob.

KARK

A vigil is planned at a Little Rock high school to honor a 15-year-old girl fatally shot after a group of teens vandalized a car.

The vigil for Adrian Broadway is set for 4 p.m. Friday at McClellan High School, where she was a freshman.

Police say 48-year-old Willie Noble opened fire on a group of teenagers that he believed vandalized his car. Broadway was struck by gunfire and died at a Little Rock hospital.

Chris Hickey / KUAR

In what was expected to be a close but almost certain vote, the Arkansas State Senate passed the appropriation bill for the private option, the healthcare plan that extends coverage to poor residents. Later in the afternoon Thursday, the House of Representatives again fell short of passing the bill.

Arkansas Senate
Arkansas.gov

Legislation to continue Arkansas' compromise Medicaid expansion has failed for a third time in the state House, despite winning approval in the Senate.

The House on Thursday afternoon voted 72-25 Thursday to reauthorize funding for the "private option," falling three votes shy of the 75 needed to keep the program alive.

It was the third failed vote in the House for the program, approved last year as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law.

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