News

Wendell Griffen
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

An Arkansas judge's efforts to obtain documents and testimony from the state Supreme Court on its decision to bar him from hearing any death penalty cases has been put on hold.

The high court asked for the delay until a federal judge decides whether to allow a lawsuit against the justices to proceed.

U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr. on Monday granted a request to temporarily stay discovery in Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen's lawsuit. That suit challenges justices' decision to bar him from any cases involving the death penalty.

jobs unemployment employment
www.purdue.edu

Three counties in Arkansas are hoping a new initiative will improve the employability of their populations. Monday at the Capitol, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the ACT Work Ready Communities Initiative.

Jefferson, Arkansas, and Grant counties have begun the process to receive a designation as ACT Work Ready Communities. Lou Ann Nisbett, president of the Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County, initiated the tri-county effort.

Jury selection is underway in the trial for a former Arkansas state senator accused in an alleged kickback scheme.

Former Sen. Jon Woods faces 15 fraud charges. Prosecutors accuse of him of taking kickbacks from former Ecclesia College president Oren Paris III in exchange for directing state funding to the college.

Paris pleaded guilty last week to one count of fraud and agreed to testify for prosecutors. Woods' attorney, Patrick Benca, has said his client is innocent and that defense attorneys will prove that, despite Paris' guilty plea.

clarketucker.com

A frontrunner has emerged – at least in financial backing – in the four-person U.S. Second Congressional District Democratic primary. Clarke Tucker’s campaign reported a first quarter fundraising total of over a half-million dollars, ending the period with $440,000 cash on hand. Republican incumbent French Hill has $1.3-million cash on hand. Tucker’s only been running since February 5th.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola in calling for systemic changes to address gun violence in both cities.

Landrieu spoke as part of a day-long community safety summit at Little Rock’s Heifer International Village and sponsored by the Clinton School of Public Service.

U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford (R-First District).
C-SPAN

U.S. Representative Rick Crawford, chair of the House Steel Caucus, is maintaining support for President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs as officials in China unveil proposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural commodities. China is preparing to impose $40 billion of new tariffs targeting a range of goods, including soybeans, rice, corn, and grain sorghum. 

Click on the audio link above to listen to KUAR's full interview with Rep. Crawford.

Crawford said concerns about a damaging trade war are understandable but overblown.

Dicamba damage
University of Arkansas

Arkansas is asking the state's top court to halt a judge's order allowing six farmers to use an herbicide that was banned by state regulators following complaints that it drifted onto crops and caused damage.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office on Thursday asked the state Supreme Court to stay Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox's ruling exempting the farmers from the state Plant Board's rule banning dicamba's use. The panel has banned dicamba's use from April 16 through October 31 this year. Rutledge on Wednesday filed notice she was appealing Fox's ruling.

The four-person Democratic primary field for central Arkansas’s 2nd District U.S. House seat held a debate Wednesday evening and agreed on most of the issues. Jonathan Dunkley, Clarke Tucker, Gwen Combs, and Paul Spencer all shared the stage for the debate hosted by KATV and Talk Business and Politics. 

Check out the audio link above for a recap of the debate and click here to watch the full debate.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge say they’re hoping to stem the death toll from opioid overdose through both lawmaking and litigation.

insidehighered.com

The president of a Christian college in Springdale has pleaded guilty in what prosecutors called a kickback scheme involving his school.

Oren Paris III had faced a trial Monday with former state Sen. Jon Woods and consultant Randell Shelton. Instead, the president of Ecclesia College pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Fayetteville.

Prosecutors say Paris paid kickbacks to Woods and then-Rep. Micah Neal in return for $550,000 in state grants in 2013-14, using Shelton's consulting firm as a go-between. Neal pleaded guilty last year but has not been sentenced.

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