Charles Zook, son of Arkansas Chamber of Commerce CEO, opposing chamber's role in LRSD state takeover.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A smattering of protestors lined the plaza of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce Wednesday at noon to denounce its support of the state takeover of Little Rock schools. Charles Zook said his family embodies what he characterizes as a suspect network of influence in the state’s 5-4 decision in late January to dissolve the locally elected school board.

A Pulaski County Special School District Bus parked off of Highway 365.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

UPDATE: The first proposed millage increase in over 20 years was rejected by a wide margin. 75 percent of ballots cast were in opposition to increasing the property tax to finance a facilities overhaul.

9,568 votes were cast, amounting to 13.3 percent voter turnout. Only four of the 60 precincts in the PCSSD voted in favor of the millage tax. One precinct had an equal number supporting as opposing.

A requirement for Arkansas doctors to test for a fetal heartbeat before an abortion is performed has cleared an administrative hurdle.

The Arkansas Legislative Council subcommittee on Wednesday reviewed rules created by the Arkansas State Medical Board under a 2013 act. It also included a ban on most abortions after 12 weeks into a woman's pregnancy.

That ban was overturned by a federal district court and an appeal is being heard in a U.S. court of appeals. The federal district court ruled that the fetal heartbeat requirement could be implemented.

Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde has sent a letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs asking them to turn down a request from the Quapaw Tribe.

The tribe submitted an application asking that 160 acres of land adjacent to the Little Rock Port Authority's industrial park be given federal trust status. In his letter dated Monday, Hyde says the tribe has not demonstrated the need for federal designation with its plan to use the land for agriculture.

Residents of the unincorporated Arkansas community called Little Italy have filed a petition to become an official town.

The Little Italy Incorporation Task Force on Wednesday delivered the petition with 253 signatures to the Pulaski County Clerk. The group must have at least 200 qualified voters living within the boundary that is proposed for incorporation.

If enough signatures are verified, there will be a public hearing before the proposal goes to the Pulaski County judge.

South Arkansas Wood Pellet Mills Still On Schedule For 2016 Start

May 13, 2015

Two full-scale biomass plants in South Arkansas are still scheduled to come online by the end of 2016, just in time for the wood pellet market to gain steam in Europe as industrial power generators switch from coal to renewable fuels.

Top officials for both Highland Pellets LLC in Pine Bluff and Zilkha Biomass Energy in Monticello told Talk Business & Politics that their respective companies are moving forward with land acquisition, environmental permitting and other preparations for Arkansas’ first high-profile entries into the burgeoning renewable energy sector.

Arkansas Highway & Transportation Dept.
Arkansas Highway & Transportation Dept.

The director of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department says federal funding for the state's highway projects will end May 31.

AHTD Director Scott Bennett said Tuesday that he's received a letter from U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx that says the Federal Highway Administration will not be able to make payments of federal-aid funds to the states.

Bennett said highway officials were expecting the news unless Congress approved a highway funding program.

Larry Jegley
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

A state committee has voted to give Arkansas' full-time prosecutors a 23 percent pay raise.

gay marriage
Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF

A northwest Arkansas town's vote to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity could pave the way for a legal fight over a new state law that's criticized as anti-gay. 

A special legislative session planned later this month is raising hopes among some Arkansas Republican lawmakers that they'll get another chance to move up the state's presidential primary as part of a southeastern regional nominating contest.