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Local & Regional News
12:58 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Arkansas House Committee Rejects Car Cellphone Regulations

An Arkansas State Police-backed proposal to restrict cellphone use while driving has failed in a state House committee.

The Public Transportation Committee voted 11-7 Tuesday against the bill, which would prohibit drivers in motion from using a wireless device to dial a phone number, use social media or utilize a map application. It would also allow officers to pull over people suspected of using their phones while driving.

Arkansas already bans texting while driving and some cellphone use. The bill would not apply to law enforcement or people making emergency calls.

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Local & Regional News
12:56 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Religious Expression Bill Rejected By Arkansas House Committee

An Arkansas House committee has rejected a proposal to require public school districts to allow students to express religious viewpoints in coursework, artwork and other assignments.

The House Education Committee on Tuesday voted down the proposal by Republican Rep. Justin Harris of West Fork. The bill would have also prohibited schools from banning religious clothing or accessories.

Harris says he wants to protect students' freedom of speech and prevent encroachments against religious expression. Opponents argued the change is unnecessary and unconstitutional.

Local & Regional News
8:57 am
Tue February 24, 2015

ForwARd Arkansas Plans Twitter Town Hall On Education

Credit arkansas.gov

A handful of groups seeking improvements in Arkansas' education system is planning a Twitter town hall to discuss its plans.
 
The group "ForwARd Arkansas" is a partnership among the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, the Walton Foundation and the Arkansas Board of Education. They seek to influence policy throughout the state's public education system, and particularly want specific ideas for schools and districts in academic distress.
 

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Local & Regional News
4:52 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Bill Becomes Law Banning Local Anti-Discrimination Measures

Arkansas has become the second state to ban local governments from expanding anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday allowed legislation barring cities or counties from prohibiting discrimination on a basis not covered by state law to become law without his signature. It will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.

Arkansas' anti-discrimination protections don't include sexual orientation or gender identity.

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At the Symphony
4:14 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Schubert's 'Unfinished'

Credit ArkansasSymphony.org

This installment of At the Symphony covers the works the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will perform at its Stella Boyle Masterworks Series concerts Sat., Feb. 28 and Sun., Mar 1 including Wagner's Prelude to Die Meistersinger, Brahms' Concerto for Violin in D Major, Op. 77 and Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759 "Unfinished."

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Local & Regional News
2:48 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Arkansas House OKs Bill To Soften Social Media Protections

The Arkansas House has passed a bill to soften social media protections for employees in the state.

In a 91-1 vote on Monday, the House exempted schools, daycares, summer camps, churches and religious-oriented employers from the state's social media rules.

The law adopted in 2013 protects current and prospective employees from having to disclose their social media username and password or change their privacy settings.

Another change endorsed by the House would remove a ban on businesses forcing employees to "friend" another employee or a supervisor.

Local & Regional News
2:44 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Some Arkansas Offices Close As Snow Piles Up In Frigid Temperatures

Snow comes down in Little Rock's Capitol View/ Stifft Station neighborhood Monday afternoon.
Credit KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is sending hundreds of state workers home as a snowstorm rolls through Arkansas.

Meteorologists predicted 2-3 inches of snow could fall in central and western Arkansas on Monday. The highest amounts were predicted for the Ouachita Mountains.

Several school districts shuttered their doors for the day, and Southern Arkansas University at Magnolia canceled classes at 10 a.m. amid a winter storm warning.

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Local & Regional News
10:02 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Gov. Asa Hutchinson Discusses Criminal Justice Reforms

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking with Roby Brock about prison reform proposals on Talk Business & Politics.
Credit Talk Business & Politics

Last week, Gov. Asa Hutchinson unveiled his plan to reform the state’s prison, parole and probation programs in a holistic, comprehensive effort to reduce crime, stem repeat offenders and curtail a high-growth area of the state’s budget. The price tag for Hutchinson’s plan is $64 million with about $32 million being spent in the next two years.

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Local & Regional News
9:49 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Fire Destroys 3 Buildings At Former Dogpatch USA Theme Park in Arkansas

File photo of the former Dogpatch USA sign.
Credit wikipedia

North Arkansas authorities say a fire has destroyed three buildings at a former theme park.

The Newton County sheriff's office received a report early Sunday about a fire at Dogpatch USA, a former attraction based on Al Capp's "Li'l Abner" comic strip. It closed in 1993.

Glenn Wheeler, fire chief of the Krooked Kreek Volunteer Fire Department, says one building already was destroyed and two others were engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. Wheeler says a fourth building caught fire but had minimal damage. He says the cause of the fire is under investigation.

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Local & Regional News
9:36 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Forecasters Predict Snow In Central And Western Arkansas

Meteorologists predict up to three inches of snow could fall across portions of Arkansas.

The National Weather Service has placed central and western Arkansas under a winter weather advisory that is expected to last until 6 p.m. Monday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson's office announced a two-hour delayed opening for all state offices in the Little Rock metro area. The Little Rock School District canceled classes and offices for the day.

Forecasters predict light snow will develop during the morning and continue through the afternoon.

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