The Arkansas Department of Human Services has formed a new team to review unexpected child deaths in six Arkansas counties.
The team will review the unexpected deaths of infants and children in Arkansas, Garland, Grant, Hot Spring, Jefferson and Saline counties. DHS says it's the sixth such team in Arkansas as part of the state's Infant and Child Death Review Program.
The program is overseen by Arkansas Children's Hospital's Injury Prevention Center. The teams include representatives from local coroners' offices, law enforcement, prosecutors, DHS and other organizations.
A proposal prohibiting the state lottery from expanding into video monitor games advanced another step Tuesday morning. The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee passed the bill without any dissenting votes. The measure will be taken up for a full Senate vote Tuesday afternoon. The House advanced an identical version Monday.
Democratic Senator David Johnson of Little Rock said even with the limit on lottery games expected to pass this special session exploring new revenue options for declining scholarship amounts will be re-visited.
The Arkansas General Assembly is expected to act on legislation Tuesday changing health insurance for public school employees, adding prison beds, and limiting lottery games. Day one of the special session laid the groundwork for what is expected to be a three day session.
An Arkansas lawmaker has modified his proposal to restrict the lottery from starting monitor-style games such as keno, making it a moratorium rather than an outright ban.
Republican Sen. Jimmy Hickey of Texarkana on Monday filed a proposal that would prohibit the lottery from starting the games until March 13, 2015. Hickey had originally proposed an outright ban on the games, which the lottery had planned to launch this fall.
The U.S. Forest Service in the southern region is announcing that it's extending a closure order for all caves and mines on its lands for another five years.
The Forest Service says keeping the caves and mines closed to the public until 2019 will help prevent the human spread of white-nose syndrome. That's the devastating infection that is decimating bat colonies and is caused by an invasive fungus that grows in caves.
The Forest Service says the five-year closure period should allow scientists to continue to work on potential solutions to the spread of the disease.
The Pulaski County Jail is again being closed because of overcrowding, with only the most violent offenders to be taken in.
Sheriff Doc Holladay says as of Monday morning, 1,281 inmates were being held, which is 71 over capacity.
“Looking ahead over the next few days with the long holiday weekend coming, it is quite clear that our population is going to continue to grow unless we took some steps to limit access to the facility. Unfortunately the only way we can do that is close the facility to only violent felons,” Holladay said.