Forecasters say Arkansas is still at risk for wildfires despite chilly temperatures with subzero wind chill values in some areas.
A red flag warning is in effect in Carroll, Benton, Washington and Madison counties. The National Weather Service says northwest Arkansas will see strong and gusty winds of up to 35 mph on Friday, along with low humidity values of 15 to 25 percent.
Forecasters warn that the dry vegetation and windy weather will combine to create dangerous wildfire conditions through Friday afternoon.
Members of the Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committees met to get the most recent updates on the insurance program designed to provide coverage to nearly 250,000 low-income residents. These updates and continued questions are being pursued in the lead up to the legislature’s decision next month on whether or not to reauthorize funds for the private option.
Governor Mike Beebe told a statewide television audience Thursday night the legislature will leave an $86-million "hole in the budget" if it reverses course from last year and ends the private option for the expansion of Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act.
The funding for the private option must be re-appropriated each year. Lawmakers are expected to decide its fate in the fiscal session now underway at the capitol.
The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and other agencies are studying a plan by ExxonMobil to clean up remaining contamination from last year’s rupture of an oil pipeline in Mayflower.
The company is proposing the removal of soil and sediment about a foot deep from a cove near Lake Conway and drainage ditches leading to it. The report was submitted a week ago with the goal of reducing the oil sheen in Dawson Cove.
File photo of current and former University of Arkansas officials during a legislative hearing on Jan. 7. From left to right, Vice-Chancellor for Finance and Administration Don Pederson, Associate Vice-Chancellor for Financial Affairs Jean Schook, Chancellor David Gearhart, former Vice-Chancellor of Advancement Brad Choate, former Associate Vice-Chancellor of University Relations John Diamond (behind Choate) and former Advancement Division Budget Director Joy Sharp.
Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton's campaign says he raised more than $1.24 million in the final three months of 2013 in his bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor in Arkansas this fall.
Cotton's campaign on Thursday announced that Cotton had outraised Pryor, the two-term lawmaker he's challenging. Pryor announced earlier this month he had raised $1.1 million during the same fundraising period.
Jan. 31 is the deadline for federal candidates to file their year-end and fourth quarter fundraising reports.
The Arkansas Secretary of State's office says it has cleared the way for three proposed constitutional amendments to appear on this year's ballot, despite questions about who is in charge of preparing the ballot measure language.
An attorney with the secretary of state's office told lawmakers Thursday it had used language from the attorney general's office and from legislation to prepare the three proposals.
The measures must be published in May to appear on the ballot.