News

American Bar Association President Linda Klein
americanbar.org

The American Bar Association, which doesn't take a position on the death penalty, is urging Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to reconsider the state's plan to execute seven inmates later this month. In a letter that the group says was delivered to the Governor's Office Tuesday, ABA President Linda Klein said the "unprecedented execution schedule undermines due process."

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Governor Hutchinson:

Central Arkansas Congressman French Hill is holding his first town hall meeting since President Donald Trump took office at a west Little Rock hotel during the workday next Monday. U.S. Senator Tom Cotton will join him.

The state's junior Senator has participated in several town hall style public meetings, some with other Arkansas congressman, replete with hundreds of upset constituents. The event Monday will be Sen. Cotton's first town hall in central Arkansas.

Donald Trump speaking at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

In the last two months, President Donald Trump has seen erosion in his job approval numbers from Arkansas voters, while Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s performance seems to have risen over the course of the Arkansas legislative session.

New polling from Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College shows a seven-point decline for Trump and a three-point rise for Hutchinson. In the survey, taken Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 550 Arkansas voters expressed their views.

Jack Harold Jones
Department of Correction

The Arkansas Parole Board has recommended the governor move forward with plans to execute one of seven inmates facing lethal injection later this month.

The board on Monday voted 7-0 that the clemency request by Jack Harold Jones Jr. was without merit. The ultimate decision on whether to spare Jones' life rests with Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Jones is one of seven inmates scheduled to die this month. His execution is set for April 24.

Arkansas-born, best selling author John Grisham penned an editorial in USA Today calling for a stop to Arkansas’s plan to kill eight death row inmates from April 17th to 27th. One inmate has a stay on his sentence. 

Arkansas Death Chamber Lethal Injection
Arkansas Department of Correction

Arkansas voters remain firmly committed to the death penalty despite an upcoming quick execution schedule, advances made in DNA testing, and a national trend towards ending the practice.

A new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey suggests more than 2-to-1 support for the death penalty versus life without parole.

Q: Do you support the death penalty, or should the state of Arkansas make life without parole the maximum prison sentence for capital offenses?

61% Support death penalty
29% Life without parole
10% Don’t Know

A federal judge temporarily blocks the execution of one man who’s among eight to die over a 10-day timetable this month. What does the state’s clemency process have to do with it?

-While a federal appeals court says Ohio can’t use a controversial lethal injection drug, we explore the issues surrounding midazolam—part of Arkansas’s three-drug cocktail.

-What’s Arkansas’s congressional response to President Trump ordering airstrikes against Syria’s Assad regime?

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has vetoed a bill that appropriated $850,000 for school districts to pay for panic button alert systems.

Panic button systems are used during emergencies, such as an active shooter situation.

Hutchinson announced his veto Friday, saying it should be up to local school districts to decide whether to pay for the alert systems.

The governor's letter noted that the panic button system was originally presented to lawmakers as a pilot project that school districts would eventually fund.

Protesters in the Street
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has vetoed a bill that would have criminalized mass picketing, saying it would restrict free speech.

Hutchinson vetoed the bill on Thursday. It had been passed by both chambers of the Arkansas Legislature.

The measure, sponsored by Republican Sen. Trent Garner, defines mass picketing as people assembling for demonstrations at or near a business, school or private facility.

File photo: US Sen. Tom Cotton touring military vehicle prototypes in Little Rock.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Arkansas’s all-Republican congressional delegation is showing support for President Trump’s air strikes in Syria. 

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, in a statement released late Thursday night, said he commends the president for “taking swift, decisive action” against an “outlaw regime.”

The state's senior U.S. Senator John Boozman said "Limited, swift and decisive action was required to deter further brutality."

Boozman also cautioned against further military action from the executive branch.

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