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Governor's office

The state of Arkansas has launched a website and hotline for citizens to suggest ways the government can do a better job. Gov. Asa Hutchinson was joined by other state officials in announcing the “MyIdea Transformation Project” on Thursday.

Citizens can submit ideas on the website myidea.arkansas.gov and the Department of Finance and Administration will direct the comments to the appropriate state agency, which will have 30 days to respond.

http://www.goodgrid.com/

Arkansas Community Correction officials plan to continue operating an online portal that assists ex-convicts in their transition back to society. On Wednesday the state Board of Corrections approved a $50,000 contract for maintenance and upgrades to the Good Grid, a social media-like website. It allows former inmates to upload and build resumes and set up profiles accessible to prospective employers.

A three-year initiative to address the long-running problem of a shortage of nurses in Arkansas is being launched by UA Little Rock and CHI St. Vincent. The Pathway Program was announced on Thursday.

Read the memorandum of understanding between partners here. 

University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture

Officials say the estimated impact of agricultural flood damage in Arkansas due to recent severe weather is about $175 million.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture says the April flooding affected more than 970,000 acres of farmland. University officials say more than 360,000 acres of crops were lost due to floodwater from storms that swept through the state last month. About 50 percent of that crop loss was rice.

A preliminary estimate had put the damage at about $65 million. The updated estimate includes sorghum and wheat crops.

A Fayetteville pastor says he plans to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep Steve Womack, R-Rogers in Arkansas’s 3rd Congressional District.

Robb Ryerse, founder and co-pastor of Vintage Fellowship Church in Fayetteville, has declared his candidacy for the Congressional seat with the backing of the progressive group Brand New Congress.

Kelly Damphousse Selected As ASU's New Chancellor

May 17, 2017
ASU Kelly Damphouse
George Jared / Talk Business & Politics

Dr. Kelly Damphousse routinely receives emails from agencies seeking administrative candidates at universities across the country. When he received an email in late April from Arkansas State University President Chuck Welch asking him if might be interested in the university’s chancellor’s job, he almost pushed delete. The now former dean at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Arts and Sciences says he's pleased he didn’t.

He was named ASU’s new chancellor Wednesday morning. He will replace interim Chancellor Doug Whitlock on July 1.

Arkansas' highest court is seeking an 11 percent pay raise for its justices, a move the chief justice says is needed to be in line with what other state supreme courts in the country are paid.

Chief Justice Dan Kemp on Tuesday outlined the proposal to the Independent Citizens Commission, which sets salaries for the state's top elected officials.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson made it official Tuesday, announcing that he is seeking a second term in office.

"I wanted to make clear what everybody suspected, I hope, and that is that I’m running for reelection. I’m honored to serve the people of our state. We’ve accomplished a lot," Hutchinson said in an interview with KUAR. "I’ve concentrated on economic development, job creation, had some success there, and want to continue to be able to serve."

Department of Finance and Administration

Business leaders from across Arkansas will join with community leaders from the Delta Friday to develop strategies for improving the impoverished region. Simmons Bank, based in Pine Bluff, is sponsoring the second annual conference, “The Arkansas Delta: Why It Still Matters.”

Jonathan Dismang
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers are starting the lay groundwork for changes to the tax code in 2018. Members of a task force were announced this month charged with reviewing the state's tax system. The group was formed by legislation that enabled an over $50 million income tax cut in the last legislative session.

KUAR's Jacob Kauffman spoke with State Senator Jonathan Dismang (R-Searcy) about the task force's goals and whether another signature, high-dollar income tax cut is a priority.

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