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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.

Film in Arkansas
2:40 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Ron Robinson Theater To Open in Downtown Little Rock With Series of Free Film Events

Seats going in at the Ron Robinson Theater for the grand opening.

The Central Arkansas Library System and the Little Rock Film Festival are opening the Ron Robinson Theater this week in downtown Little Rock with nine days of movie screenings, all free of charge and open to the public

It will be a chance for the public to see the new 315-seat theater with state-of-the-art digital projection, which is part of the newly-built $6 million Arcade Building.

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Local & Regional News
2:38 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Young Adults Hit Hard By Flu, Arkansas Department Of Health Reports

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

State health officials said Monday that 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.

Local & Regional News
1:42 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Hearing Could Be End Of Arkansas Desegregation Aid

A federal judge in Arkansas is hearing arguments about whether to approve a settlement agreement that would allow the state to stop making payments to help fund racial integration in three Little Rock-area school districts.

U.S. District Judge Price Marshall was considering Monday whether the state's plan to end $70 million in annual payments in 2018 is fair to the districts, students and employees.

Local & Regional News
1:04 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Oral Arguments Set Over Johnson & Johnson Appeal Of $1 Billion Fine

The Arkansas Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments in Johnson & Johnson's request to overturn a verdict and $1.2 billion fine over the marketing of the antipsychotics drug Risperdal.

Oral arguments are set for Feb. 27 in Little Rock for the appeal from Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel successfully sued the companies, claiming they downplayed and hid risks associated with taking Risperdal.

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Local & Regional News
8:58 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Bonanza Creek To Spend $80M In South Arkansas

A Denver-based energy company says it will invest $80 million this year to drill about 50 natural gas wells in south Arkansas.

Bonanza Creek Energy Inc. says the wells will be drilled in the McKamie Patton and Dorcheat-Macedonia fields, which are located in Columbia and Lafayette counties.

Arkansas Business reports infrastructure projects and saltwater disposal wells will account for an additional $4.5 million of planned capital.

Bonanza Creek has operations in the Wattenberg Field in Colorado and the Cotton Valley sands of southern Arkansas.

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Local & Regional News
5:31 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

Hearings on Desegregation Case to Begin

A proposed agreement going before a federal judge could soon end decades of court battles and $1 billion in state funding to three Little Rock area school districts. U.S. District Judge Price Marshall will hear arguments Monday and Tuesday on whether to officially end the dispute rooted in the 1957 Central High School desegregation fight.

Marshall in November tentatively approved the plan calling for payments to end in four years after the state pays an additional nearly $70 million a year to the districts. Marshall cannot modify the agreement - only approve or disapprove it.

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