News

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public Media

A revised set of standards for accrediting Arkansas public schools is scheduled to be considered Tuesday afternoon by the Administrative Rules and Regulations Subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council. 

The changes were unanimously approved May 30 by the Arkansas Board of Education, despite concerns from some like board Chairman Jay Barth who worry the new rules could be too much of a departure from a uniform set of standards.

Jake Files
Arkansas Times

Federal prosecutors are asking for up to 24 months of prison time for former Sen. Jake Files, R-Fort Smith, more than the 12 to 18 months that may have been suggested by the United States Probation Office. Files’ attorney is seeking a “very brief term of incarceration.”

Files’ sentencing is set for 10 a.m., June 18 at the federal courthouse in Fort Smith with U.S. District Court Judge P.K. Holmes III, presiding.

Melissa Stone of the Arkansas Department of Human Services
Bobby Ampezzan / Arkansas Public Media

Arkansas's Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson and conservative legislature have planned ambitious cuts to the state’s Medicaid spending on people with disabilities.

As those cuts to the program are implemented, some children with disabilities may no longer be eligible for Medicaid-funded programs.

Wendell Griffen
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

An Arkansas judge charged with breaking judicial ethics rules for participating in an anti-death penalty demonstration the same day he blocked the state from using an execution drug says a disciplinary panel should dismiss its case against him.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen's attorneys renewed their May 2017 request for the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission to dismiss the complaint against the judge.

Clinton School of Public Service

Former President Bill Clinton brought his co-author James Patterson through Little Rock Saturday on the latest leg of a book tour; one that has generated headlines for reasons unrelated to the book.

Clinton and Patterson, a best-selling thriller novelist, came to the UA Little Rock Jack Stephens Center to discuss their novel “The President Is Missing” in a panel moderated by actress and Arkansas native Mary Steenburgen.

Wendell Griffen
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A judicial disciplinary panel has charged an Arkansas judge with ethics violations for lying on a cot outside the governor's mansion during an anti-death penalty demonstration the same day he blocked the state from using a lethal injection drug.

Arkansas Supreme Court Lee Rudofsky
courts.arkansas.gov

The Arkansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments Thursday in a challenge by the state to a circuit judge’s order that halted the issuing of medical marijuana cultivation licenses. It was also revealed that investigators are looking into allegations that a bribe was offered by one company to a member of the Medical Marijuana Commission.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled in March that the process for how the commission decided which companies would get five licenses was constitutionally flawed.

An ex-lobbyist has pleaded guilty in a multimillion-dollar scheme to bribe Arkansas lawmakers and embezzle from a Missouri-based nonprofit where he worked.

Rusty Cranford of Rogers, Arkansas, admitted paying bribes to former state Sen. Jon Woods, former state Rep. Henry Wilkins IV and a legislator identified only as "Arkansas Senator A." Outside his lobbying work, Cranford oversaw Springfield, Missouri-based Preferred Family Healthcare's operations in Arkansas.

Jacob Slaton / Clinton School of Public Service

Professional. Affordable. Sustainable. This is Ruth Shepherd’s mantra as she and other leaders of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, also known as 'The Rep,' go forward in assessing the fiscally-challenged theatre’s future.

Shepherd, a longtime Rep staffer and board chair, said at a meeting at Little Rock’s Clinton School of Public Service that many specifics of the theatre’s future remain up in the air.

"But, you can expect that it will be smaller, more intimate, and community-centric," Sheperd said.

WWW.JAREDFORARKANSAS.COM/

Democratic gubernatorial challenger Jared Henderson tells KUAR he is in favor of an initiative to raise Arkansas's minimum wage to $11 an hour. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has yet to comment and Libertarian Mark West opposes the ballot measure, as well as the concept of a minimum wage.

The ballot item would incrementally raise the state's minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2022. It’s currently $8.50 an hour. Canvassers need to collect 67,887 valid signatures to qualify the initiative for the November ballot.

Henderson calls the gradual approach “thoughtful” and “responsible.”

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