The latest jobs report shows another of month of positive trends in Arkansas. Figures released Friday by the Department of Workforce Services report the state’s unemployment rate dropping from 7.1 percent to 6.9 percent.
A national wildlife refuge in southeastern Arkansas will be renamed after former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers in a ceremony planned in St. Charles.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host a renaming ceremony Friday afternoon for the White River National Wildlife Refuge after Bumpers, a Democrat who was Arkansas' governor during the early 1970s before serving four terms in the U.S. Senate.
Bumpers, his wife Betty, and other family members are expected to attend the event in addition to wildlife service director Dan Ashe.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service says it will reopen a public comment period on a proposed critical habitat and a draft economic analysis about two mussel species found in 13 states, including Arkansas.
The two threatened species are the Rabbitsfoot mussel and the Neosho Mucket mussel. Under the Endangered Species Act, the service must consider areas thought to be crucial to a species' conservation and to mark them as a critical habitat.
The proposed critical habitat for the two mussel species consist of about 783 miles of rivers and streams in Arkansas.
State unemployment rates are above the national average and African-Americans are experiencing joblessness at nearly three times the rate of whites according to a report released Thursday. Six percent of white residents in Arkansas are unemployed while 16 percent of African-Americans are jobless. The current overall state unemployment rate is 8 percent.
Senior Policy Analyst Eleanor Wheeler said the effect is not limited only to the welfare of individual families.
A decision on whether or not Arkansas’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriage will be re-affirmed or lifted is still being weighed after litigators presented nearly three hours of arguments Thursday. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza said he will have a written judgment within two weeks.
Speaking afterward, Jack Wagnor, an attorney for the plaintiffs, framed the court’s future decision in the context of similar litigation nationally.
The Ouachita County Quorum Court has named an interim county judge after the county's previous leader resigned.
The court this week named Amy Varner-Olvey as interim leader of the county. She takes over after the resignation of former judge Mike Hesterly.
Hesterly is awaiting trial on federal fraud charges that accuse him of awarding a Federal Emergency Management Agency contract in exchange for a campaign contribution. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Advocates of ending Arkansas' ban on same-sex marriage are to make their case before a circuit judge in Pulaski County.
More than three dozen people are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging Arkansas' voter-approved ban on gay marriage. Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is to preside over the hearing at 1 p.m. Thursday in Little Rock.
Late last year, Piazza refused to grant a motion by the state that sought to dismiss the lawsuit, but he also refused to grant a motion by the couples suing, who asked him to block enforcement of the ban.
The state’s 2013 voter ID law is being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and the Arkansas Public Law Center. The lawsuit argues the act presents an unconstitutional barrier to voting.
ACLU’s Executive Director Rita Sklar said the law targets populations with poor access to resources.