The Arkansas Senate has endorsed the secretary of state's wording of three proposed constitutional amendments legislators have referred to voters, after questions were raised about who had the authority to prepare the ballot measures' language.
The Senate on Tuesday voted 25-8 to support the ballot titles and popular names selected by Secretary of State Mark Martin's office for the three proposals that the Legislature voted last year to put on the 2014 ballot.
The search for missing Arkansas Forestry Commission Pilot Jake Harrell ended tragically Tuesday evening as Arkansas National Guardsmen, lowered by helicopter to the site of his wrecked plane, discovered the pilot did not survive.
The site of the plane crash was discovered late Tuesday afternoon after being spotted by a civil air patrol plane.
Spokeswoman Adriane Barnes said it’s still unclear why the plane crash occurred.
A proposal to allow Arkansas school districts to arm non-classroom employees as volunteer security guards has failed to win enough support to be considered by the state Senate.
The Senate voted 19-2 for a resolution allowing the bill by Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson to be introduced. The measure needed at least 24 votes to be considered during the fiscal session, intended to focus on budget issues.
Hutchinson's proposal would have allowed the state to issue security guard licenses to non-classroom employees who go through training.
The Arkansas Legislature convened for the second day of a month-long fiscal session Tuesday to consider state budgetary matters and other issues. Behind the scenes, lawmakers continue to plan possible changes to the state’s private option expansion of Medicaid in an effort to make reauthorizing funds for the program more palatable to many of the Legislature's conservative members. While House and Senate leaders were confident the program for low-income Arkansans can be reauthorized, House majority Leader Bruce Westerman told reporters that he didn't see that happening.
Arkansas students have shown continued improvement in scores on Advanced Placement exams.
The College Board reports that 4,390 of Arkansas' 27,492 graduates in 2013, 16 percent, scored a 3, 4 or 5. A score of 3 or higher is general accepted for college credit.
The College Board's report says 12,670 Arkansas students took an AP exam during high school. The exams cover various subjects in math and science; English, history and social science; and arts and world languages.
A national Republican group is targeting Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mike Ross with a new television ad that tries to paint the former Arkansas congressman as too closely aligned with President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The Republican Governors Association announced Tuesday it would begin airing a 30-second spot around Arkansas criticizing Ross. The group said it was spending six figures on the spot, which was set to begin airing Tuesday.
Arkansas lawmakers are moving closer toward keeping the lieutenant governor's office vacant rather than holding a special election to fill former Lt. Gov. Mark Darr's office for just a few months.
The Arkansas Senate voted 32-0 on Tuesday to consider changing the law to give Gov. Mike Beebe the choice to not hold a special election. Current law requires Beebe to call a special election within 150 days of declaring the office vacant.
Darr resigned Feb. 1 over ethics and campaign finance violations.
After a week and a half of searching, the Arkansas Forestry Commission is hopeful it will find its missing pilot.
Commission spokeswoman Adriane Barnes said the sunshine on Tuesday will allow the search crew to do a very detailed search.
“We have real visibility paired with some very detailed maps with layered pieces of information in there about areas already searched, about areas of priority based on communication with Jake’s cell phone provider, and most valuable is all of the leads are mapped.”