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Local & Regional News
8:27 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Arkansas Bill Criminalizes Killing Fetus From Conception

The Arkansas House has approved a bill that would criminalize the killing of a fetus from the moment of conception.

The bill now goes back to the Senate to approve an amendment adding additional exemptions, such as fetal deaths resulting from contraceptives or reproductive technology.

Supporters say the bill would make it easier to prosecute criminal cases involving the death of a pregnant woman.

Abortion rights advocates have said they're concerned the bill would lay the groundwork for further abortion restrictions in the state.

 

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New LRSD Superintendent
8:16 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Little Rock Schools Get Interim Superintendent

The Little Rock School District says associate Superintendent Marvin Burton has been selected as interim superintendent of the district.

The school system said Tuesday that Burton will take over on Friday - after the resignation of current Superintendent Morris Holmes goes into effect.

The district says Burton will serve only until summer when Holmes' successor - Dexter Suggs - takes the job. Burton is the associate superintendent for secondary schools and has been with the district since 1989 as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. 

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Health Insurance Exchanges
10:13 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Cato Health Expert Tells Arkansas To Abandon Insurance Exchange Plans

Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute told lawmakers Tuesday that abandoning plans to partner with the federal government on a health insurance exchange would both benefit the state and reduce the power of the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute says Arkansas lawmakers should avoid as much state responsibility involved with the federal Affordable Care Act as possible.

The health policy expert from the Cato Institute, a public policy think tank dedicated to promoting free market principles, spoke with lawmakers Tuesday in the Senate Insurance and Commerce Committee to discuss the state’s options regarding what to do with its health insurance exchange.

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Local & Regional News
9:30 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

State Surgeon General Pushes Medicaid Expansion in Telephone Townhall

State Surgeon Gen. Dr. Joe Thompson

State Surgeon General Dr. Joe Thompson praised the Medicaid expansion provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in a telephonic townhall Tuesday night sponsored by the Arkansas Hospital Association. Whether or not to accept an expansion of the low-income health insurance program to people making up to 138 percent of the poverty level is currently being debated in the state general assembly.

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Local & Regional News
3:30 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Lawmakers Tout Bill For Job Creation, Community Development

Two Arkansas state representatives are sponsoring a bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives to bolster job creation and community investment across the state.

Reps. Darrin Williams (D-Little Rock) and Jonathan Dismang (R-Searcy) first touted HB132 -- also known as the New Markets Jobs Act of 2013 -- on March 7.

Based on an existing federal plan, the bill aims to create jobs for thousands of Arkansans through private investments channeled into community development.

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Voter ID
3:26 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Next Stop For Voter ID In Arkansas: The Governor's Desk

Sen. Bryan King waits before the chamber voted on the voter ID bill.
Credit Nathan Vandiver

A bill to require Arkansas voters to show a valid photo ID before casting a ballot is on it’s way to the Governor after clearing its final hurdle in the Senate today.

The bill was already passed by the Senate, but it picked up an amendment in the House, so today’s vote was to adopt the amendment. The measure passed 22-12.

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Local & Regional News
2:08 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Arkansas House OKs Bill On Emergency Gun Limits

The Arkansas House has approved a proposal to remove the governor's emergency power to regulate guns during a disaster.  

The House approved the bill on a 78-9 vote Tuesday.

The governor currently has the authority during a disaster or emergency to suspend or limit the sale, distribution and transportation of firearms. The governor also has enhanced powers to regulate alcohol, explosives, and combustibles.  

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Local & Regional News
2:03 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Death Row Inmates Ask Arkansas Top Court To Hear Case

Several death row inmates are asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to hear their cases after the state's  attorney general asked the court to lift their stays of executions.  

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel asked the state's top court to lift stays for six death row inmates who challenged the constitutionality of Arkansas' lethal injection law.  

Attorneys for five of the inmates filed paperwork Monday asking the Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in the case.

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Local & Regional News
2:01 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Arkansas House Committee Approves Execution Proposal

An Arkansas legislative panel has approved a proposal to allow certain relatives of victims to attend executions.  

The Arkansas House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday passed a measure that would allow some adult relatives of victims to watch executions in person. Current law says adult relatives of victims  can watch executions on a closed-circuit TV.  

Arkansas Department of Correction spokeswoman Dina Tyler has spoken out against the proposal filed by Republican Sen. Bart Hester of Cave Springs.

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Local & Regional News
1:16 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Insect Could Threaten Arkansas Soybean Crops

The kudzu bug.
Credit Marlin E. Rice, Pioneer Seed

Soybean growers in Arkansas are preparing for a possible invasion by an insect that’s damaging crops throughout the South. 

The kudzu bug sucks sap from soybean plants, weakening and stunting the plant's  growth. The tiny flying insects have already caused up to 20 percent yield losses in some untreated soybean fields in North Carolina.

Gus Lorenz, with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture says stopping the pests can be difficult.

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