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5:47 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Arkansas Business And Agriculture Leaders Push For Immigration Reform

Grant Tennille, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, speaks to reporters, while Randy Zook, president and CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Beau Bishop of the Arkansas Farm Bureau and Jay Chesshir, president and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber, listen.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A new study by the Partnership for a New American Economy suggests labor shortages are increasing the reliance on imported produce and slowing economic growth in Arkansas.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, heads of chamber of commerce groups, the Arkansas Farm Bureau and the Economic Development Commission, said it shows the need for the U.S. Congress to pass meaningful immigration reform.

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Local & Regional News
1:10 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Gubernatorial Candidate Asa Hutchinson Proposes Workforce Training Changes

File photo of Asa Hutchinson filing to run for governor last month at the state Capitol.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Asa Hutchinson is proposing changing Arkansas' workforce training system, calling for the creation of eight councils around the state that would guide how funding for the programs are distributed.

Hutchinson on Wednesday proposed creating eight Workforce Education Councils to coordinate and expand the state's existing training programs.

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Local & Regional News
11:22 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Contractor Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy In Case Involving Judge

A contractor has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy in a case that accuses the Ouachita County judge of awarding a disaster-relief contract in exchange for a campaign contribution.

Harry Clemons Jr. pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with major disaster benefits. He was indicted in January 2013 along with County Judge Mike Hesterly.

The indictment alleges Hesterly hired Clemons to help clean up the county following October 2009 storms in exchange for a campaign contribution.

Local & Regional News
10:38 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Arkansas House To Decide New Speaker In Secret Ballot

File photo of the Arkansas House chamber.
Credit wikipedia.org

Arkansas House members are expected to vote for the next speaker in a closed-door session on Wednesday.

Three Republicans and one Democrat say they're running for the office. The vote will take place after the chamber adjourns the fiscal session.

The Republicans are state Reps. Jeremy Gillam, Kim Hammer and Matthew Shepherd. State Rep. Fred Love is the sole Democratic candidate who says he wants the post.

Republicans hold a 51-48 seat lead over Democrats.

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Local & Regional News
10:33 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Hitchhiker Accused in Arkansas deputy's death

File photo of Lafayette County Chief Deputy Pete Richardson.
Credit Sarah Nemeth / KSLA

Prosecutors say an Arkansas deputy was performing a good deed when he was killed in a traffic wreck this week while driving a hitchhiker to a homeless shelter.

Prosecuting Attorney Carlton Jones says Lafayette County Chief Deputy Pete Richardson was "just trying to do the right thing" when he offered to drive Michael Ackart to a shelter in Texarkana, Texas.

According to an affidavit, Ackart, of Tulsa, Okla., told police that he grabbed the steering wheel while Richardson was driving, causing the deadly crash.

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Local & Regional News
8:15 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Hot Springs OKs Condemnation Of Historic Majestic Hotel

The Hot Springs Majestic Hotel on fire.
Credit Save Her Majesty: Restore The Majestic Hotel Facebook Page

City leaders in Hot Springs have approved the condemnation of the Majestic Hotel building that was destroyed in a fire last month.

The move Tuesday by the Hot Springs Board of Directors allows the city to request the full demolition of the remainder of the historic hotel. The complex was partially razed for safety reasons after the Feb. 27-28 fire.

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Local & Regional News
5:08 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

State Rep. Says Override of Fracking Veto Likely

Rep. Andy Davis (R)
Credit arkansashouse.org

The Arkansas General Assembly is meeting to sine die Wednesday, formally ending the fiscal session, but a veto issued by Governor Mike Beebe leaves at least one legislative item left to address.

The line-item veto is an objection to the widening of a sales tax exemption for equipment and machinery used in manufacturing. The extension newly defines sands used for fracking natural gas and oil as equipment.

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Local & Regional News
2:20 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Some Arkansas House Speaker Hopefuls Want Race Delayed

The Arkansas House chamber.
Credit wikipedia.org

Some candidates running for Arkansas House speaker say they'd like to see the speaker's race pushed back until they know who'll win the chamber's majority in the November election.

The vote is now set for Wednesday when the Legislature meets to formally adjourn the fiscal session.

Those who support a delayed vote point to the 2012 speaker's race, when Democratic state Rep. Darrin Williams was elected speaker but wasn't confirmed after Republicans won a majority in the House in the November election.

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Local & Regional News
2:18 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Federal Judge Denies New Hearing In Arkansas Slayings

A federal judge has rejected a request for a new hearing for an Oklahoma man on federal death row for the slayings of an Arkansas family.

U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes ruled Tuesday that Danny Lee of Yukon, Okla., needed to obtain authorization from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to file another petition challenging his death sentence.

Lee was convicted in federal court in the 1996 slayings of gun dealer William Mueller, his wife, Nancy Mueller, and their young daughter, Sarah.

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Local & Regional News
12:33 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Centers For Children In Jonesboro Gets $1 Million Gift

The Centers for Children at Jonesboro has received a $1 million gift aimed at expanding the access of specialized pediatric health care to families in northeast Arkansas.

Centers for Children is a collaboration between Arkansas Children's Hospital and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' Department of Pediatrics.

There are now seven different specialty clinics in Jonesboro, including neurology, cardiology, surgery and urology.

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