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Local & Regional News
5:46 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Heavy Rains Flood East Arkansas Crop Lands Already Struggling

Heavy weekend rains left many farmers in east Arkansas with flooded fields, and the water is so deep in places the ground won't dry out soon enough for them to replant.

A little more than 10 inches of rain fell in parts of the eastern half of the state, where farmers were still assessing damage Monday.

The National Weather Service issued flood warnings along the Cache River near Patterson, the White River near Augusta and on the L'Anguille River at Palestine.

Local & Regional News
4:54 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Arkansas Lawmakers Convene For Special Session Of The Legislature

Members of the Arkansas House after being called to order Monday at the Old Statehouse in Little Rock.
Credit Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Legislature has begun a special session to address rising teacher health insurance premiums, prison overcrowding and an effort to restrict games offered by the state lottery.

The House and Senate convened Monday for the special session that they hope to wrap up within the minimum three days.

Gov. Mike Beebe last week ordered the session be held after being assured by legislative leaders there were enough votes to pass measures focused on the three issues.

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Local & Regional News
4:13 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Lawmaker Modifies Proposal Restricting Arkansas Lottery

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.

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Local & Regional News
3:59 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

To Protect Bats, Forest Service Extends Cave Closures For Five Years

Hibernating bats showing signs of white nose syndrome.
Credit Al Hicks/New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation

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.

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Local & Regional News
1:06 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Pulaski County Jail To Close Again To All But The Most Violent Offenders

Credit www.pcso.org

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.

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Local & Regional News
12:56 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Legislators Will Look To Privatize Troubled School Insurance Fund

Rep. Harold Copenhaver of Jonesboro talks with Roby Brock on Talk Business and Politics.
Credit Talk Business & Politics

A co-chair of a task force on teacher health insurance says after this week’s special session, his group plans to study privatizing the troubled school benefits program.

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Local & Regional News
12:10 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Arkansas Lawmakers Prepare To Convene For Special Session

The Arkansas State Capitol, where the Senate will be meeting. The House will meet at the Old Statehouse Museum.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR

Arkansas lawmakers are spreading out across two different parts of downtown as they gather for a special legislative session focused on teacher insurance, the lottery and prison overcrowding.

The House and Senate are set to convene Monday afternoon for the session, which legislative leaders hope to wrap up by early Wednesday morning.

The House will meet in the Old State House museum after renovations moved them out of their chamber. The Senate will remain at the state Capitol, located a mile away.

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Local & Regional News
11:32 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Little Rock Extends Hours For 311 Non-Emergency Line For Fireworks Calls

The city of Little Rock says it's extending the hours of its non-emergency line so residents can report the illegal use of fireworks.

The city said Monday that its 311 non-emergency line will have extended hours Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. until midnight. The city is asking residents to either call 311 or the police department's non-emergency line to report fireworks, rather than dialing 911.

The use of fireworks is outlawed within Little Rock city limits.

Local & Regional News
8:43 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Meeting Set On Game And Fish Facilities

A hearing is planned for next week on proposed plans to renovate Arkansas Game and Fish Commission facilities near Mayflower that were damaged or destroyed by the April 27 tornado.

The Camp Robinson Special Use Area had featured a maintenance shed, clubhouse and dog training facilities in an area east of Mayflower and Lake Conway. The facilities sustained major damage in the EF4 twister that hit the area.

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Local & Regional News
12:10 am
Mon June 30, 2014

The Cost of Special Session School Employee Insurance Changes

Franklin Elementary Teacher Brittany Brooks
Jacob Kauffman KUAR

The Arkansas legislature is poised to attempt to push back this week against the rising cost of the health insurance program for public school employees. The Special Session beginning Monday is expected to last three days and was called after Governor Mike Beebe determined the proposed legislation had the needed support. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman takes a look at what changes might mean for schools and the people that work in them.

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