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Local & Regional News
10:34 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Quapaw Tribe, Arkansas National Guard To Sign Agreement

The Quapaw Tribe and the Arkansas National Guard plan to sign an agreement to protect the tribe's cultural and historical resources.

The agreement will help the tribe protect and enhance sacred sites and resources of historical and cultural importance in the state of Arkansas. The Quapaw Tribe lived in Arkansas for hundreds of years prior to its statehood.

The tribe and the Arkansas National Guard will sign the agreement at a ceremony Wednesday at Downstream Casino Resort.

Local & Regional News
12:11 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Northeast Arkansas Voters Pick GOP Candidate For State Senate

John Cooper

Republican John Cooper has won a northeast Arkansas state Senate seat, giving Republicans an extra seat in the Legislature in a race that was viewed as an early bellwether for this year's general election.

Cooper defeated Democratic nominee Steve Rockwell and replaces Democratic state Sen. Paul Bookout.

Bookout resigned last year after he was fined by the Ethics Commission for spending thousands in campaign funds on personal items such as clothing and theater equipment.

Complete but unofficial reports showed Cooper winning 57 percent of the vote.

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Local & Regional News
4:05 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Part Two Of Payment Improvement Initiative Is Underway

Primary care physicians who enrolled to be Patient Centered Medical Homes will start to see the benefits this month. The concept encourages doctors to treat chronic conditions and encourage prevention for their patients.

In return, the participating physicians receive financial support and 24/7 phone lines for patients, among other things. Medical Director for Arkansas Medicaid, William Golden, says enrollment has already exceeded expectations.

Local & Regional News
10:38 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Gov. Beebe Proposes $5 Billion Budget For Coming Year

Arkansas Capitol

Department of Finance and Administration officials outlined specific state budget priorities in a legislative hearing Tuesday.

Governor Mike Beebe is proposing a $5 billion budget for the coming year that would boost funding for education, human services and the state's prison system.

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Local & Regional News
4:48 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Final Approval Given To School Desegregation Settlement

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel
Credit Chris Hickey / KUAR News

A federal judge has approved a settlement phasing out payments from the state to three Pulaski County school districts in the state's long-running desegregation lawsuit. Federal Judge D. Price Marshall said the settlement to the “exceedingly complex” case was “fair, adequate and reasonable” and noted how few objections there were in the case.

After the ruling, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel called the settlement “historic.”

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Local & Regional News
4:41 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Arkansas Health Officials: Flu Season Targeting Unexpected Age Group

The Arkansas Department of Health says young adults are being hit hard by this year's strain of influenza.

State health officials say seven of the state's 15 flu deaths so far this season occurred in people between the ages of 25 and 50. State epidemiologist Dr. Dirk Haselow says many of those people had no underlying medical conditions prior to falling ill.

Health officials are urging Arkansans to get vaccinated for the flu. Haselow says only one of the 15 people who died so far this season had received a flu vaccine.

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Local & Regional News
3:38 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Arkansas Legislative Race Could Impact Medicaid Expansion

Nurses work inside a hospital.

The outcome of a special election Tuesday for a northeast Arkansas Senate seat could be a factor in the long-term viability of the state’s Medicaid expansion.

The race will determine whether Democrat Steve Rockwell or Republican John Cooper will serve the remainder of former state Senator Paul Bookout’s term. Bookout, a Democrat, vacated the post due to ethics violations.

Political analyst Jay Barth from Hendrix College says Bookout voted for the "private option" plan to expand Medicaid, a plan that will be under review by lawmakers during next month's fiscal session.

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Local & Regional News
3:00 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Legislature Will Meet To Discuss 2015 Budget

The finance department projects a 2% increase of about $95 million  in general revenue, available for state agencies to spend in the upcoming fiscal year. The Legislative Council and Joint Budget Committee begin meetings Tuesday to discuss the current 2014 fiscal session and the 2015 budget which goes into affect July 1st.

Representative Duncan Baird, Joint Budget Committee Co-Chairman, says the Department of Human Services will join them Thursday to discuss Medicaid and the private option.

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Local & Regional News
2:54 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Delay In Pay For Arkansas National Guard Members

Members of the Arkansas National Guard aren’t getting paid due to multiple delays delegated by Congress. KUAR's Maggie Carroll spoke with Lieutenant Colonel Keith Moore of the National Guard.

They discussed how the delays are affecting the 10,000 Arkansan members of the National Guard and their families, as well as budgeting issues they are now facing. Click the audio clip above to hear their conversation. 

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Local & Regional News
2:43 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Officials Consider Whether To Hold Special Election To Fill Lt. Governor's Position

With Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr stepping down next month over ethics violations, legislative leaders say there's growing support to change the law to keep his office vacant and avoid a special election to fill the post for just a few months.

Gov. Mike Beebe said Monday that he was still researching whether the law requires him to call a special election to fill the vacancy for Darr, a Republican who announced Friday he would step down Feb. 1.

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