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The speaker of the Arkansas House says he hopes to have the legislative session mostly finished by the end of the month.

Jeremy Gillam spoke Tuesday at a breakfast hosted by the bipartisan Political Animals Club of Little Rock and said Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Senate president support the March end date, but that the session could spill over into early April.

An Arkansas House committee is scheduled to consider a proposal to criminalize some transfers of adopted children to unrelated families.
 
Republican Rep. David Meeks of Conway says he plans to present his bill before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Most transfers of adopted children without state oversight would become felony offenses, punishable by up to five years in prison. The practice is only regulated in five states.
 

C-SPAN

Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas delivered his first speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate Monday evening, calling on the U.S. to increase defense spending to combat what he called growing threats to national security.

The speech comes after he received widespread national attention last week for authoring a letter signed by 46 other Republicans warning Iran that any nuclear agreement reached by the Obama administration could be revoked after the President leaves office in two years.

The Arkansas Senate says individuals who take certain job-training benefits or other aid for their families must be able to pass a drug test.

A bill by Sen. Blake Johnson to set up a pilot program for two years of drug testing passed on a 24-3 vote Monday. It requires the Department of Workforce Services to ask applicants questions to root out possible drug abuse. Those who give suspicious answers would be referred for actual drug testing.

Justin harris
Arkansas Times

An Arkansas lawmaker who gave his adopted daughters to a man who later admitted to sexually assaulting one of the girls plans to resign from two leadership posts.

A House spokeswoman said Monday that Republican Rep. Justin Harris of West Fork told House leaders that he wants to step down as vice chairman of the Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs Committee and from the Joint Performance Review committee.

Talk Business & Politics

After a high-profile week centered around a controversial letter to Iranian leaders authored by Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas’ junior senator said he’s far from done with his efforts interjecting himself in the U.S.-Iran discussion.

Cotton, who appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics which airs Monday evening at 6:06 on KUAR, told host Roby Brock that details of the President’s negotiations with Iran to stop a potential nuclear threat “make this too dangerous for the world to accept.”

An independent panel has approved more than doubling Arkansas legislators' salaries and granting substantial pay hikes to the state's other elected officials.

By a 5-2 vote, the Independent Citizens Commission on Monday gave final approval to its review of salaries for Arkansas' legislators, constitutional officers and judges. The seven-member commission was created through a voter-approved constitutional amendment in November.

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New speed limits for big-rig trucks take effect Monday when Highway Department crews fan out around the state to take down the old signs.

The speed limit for trucks will now be the same as it is for cars in Arkansas—70 miles-an-hour on most interstates. Since 1996, trucks traveling in Arkansas have had a speed limit of 65 miles-an-hour, five miles-an-hour slower than passenger vehicles. 

Highway Department Spokesman Danny Straesle said that caused congestion because trucks were unable to pass one another, stacking up cars wanting to go faster behind them. 

Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan has agreed to pay a $1,000 fine for hiring his cousin to work in the treasurer's office and is reimbursing the state nearly $7,000 in salary his cousin was paid. Milligan and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the agreement Friday.

An Arkansas House committee has endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment to reinstate a voter identification law. The committee on Friday advanced five proposals to a joint committee that will consider which ones should be placed on the 2016 ballot.

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