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Police say a 3-year-old boy being taken on a shopping trip by his grandmother was killed in an Arkansas road rage shooting when a driver opened fire on the grandmother's car because he thought she "wasn't moving fast enough."

Authorities say the boy and his grandmother were at a stop sign in southwest Little Rock on Saturday when a driver apparently angry about the delay stepped out of his car and opened fire. They say the boy was struck by gunfire at least once.

The grandmother wasn't struck. She drove away and called police from a shopping center.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the state is taking over operation of seven youth lockup facilities after lawmakers rejected a disputed $160 million contract with an Indiana company.

Governor's Radio Address: More Tax Reductions

Dec 17, 2016
Governor Asa Hutchinson radio address
Office of the Governor

The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's radio column for the weekend of Dec. 16, 2016:

During my campaign for Governor, one the most important pieces of my platform was my promise to lower our state income tax. Shortly after being sworn in as Governor in January of 2015, I signed into law a $100 million Middle Class Tax Cut, the largest income tax cut in Arkansas history. On Tuesday of this week, I announced my second round of tax cuts—this time a $50 million cut to the state’s income tax rate.

Arkansas' highest court says it opposes any effort to end popular election of justices and judges in the state, setting up a possible fight with lawmakers who have floated the change after a pair of state Supreme Court races this year marked by big spending by outside groups.

Officials say an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Indianapolis was forced to make an emergency landing in Arkansas after a passenger's electronic cigarette "malfunctioned" and started a small fire.

 

American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein says none of the 137 passengers or five crew members was injured, adding that crew members quickly extinguished the fire. The flight made the emergency landing Thursday afternoon at Little Rock's Clinton National Airport.

 

Vincent Insalaco
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party says he won't seek another term, weeks after the general election in which Republicans expanded their majorities in the state Legislature.

Vince Insalaco said in a statement Thursday he believes it's time to move on to a new chapter in his life and wouldn't seek a third term chairing the state party. Insalaco has served as party chairman since 2013. Insalaco's term ends in 2019, but the state committee is expected to consider a proposal this weekend to allow the party to vote on a replacement in March.

Big River Steel
Johnathan Reaves / KASU News

Production is beginning at a new, $1.3 billion steel mill in northeast Arkansas.

According to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Big River Steel has begun operations in its melt shop and hot mill at the new facility in Mississippi County. The steel mill was the first "superproject" to be approved under a 2004 state constitutional amendment that allows the state to borrow money to help lure major employers.

Ten Commandments Jason Rapert
KATV, Channel 7 News

Opponents of an effort to build a Ten Commandments monument near Arkansas' Capitol are urging a panel to reject the statue, while the lawmaker behind the display says the only decision that remains is where to put it.

A subcommittee of the Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission on Wednesday heard from supporters and opponents of the privately funded monument. Lawmakers last year approved legislation requiring the state to allow the display, and the panel must approve its design and location.

A state-by-state study of Head Start programs shows Arkansas keeping up with national averages in per-child funding levels and hours of classroom time, but the state lags in pay and education levels for teachers. The National Institute for Early Education Research released the findings Wednesday.

Steve Barnett, the institute’s director and a professor at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, says in order to improve the reach and effectiveness of early childhood education, Arkansas should find more ways to partner with the federal Head Start program.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is announcing its latest plan in a strategy it hopes will combat affordability and accessibility issues in higher education.

Students in the Little Rock School District who are members of the high school classes of 2017 through 2020 would sign a non-binding agreement guaranteeing a spot at the University. The arrangement would provide access to UALR advisers who help with the admission and financial aid process.

The announcement is similar to earlier agreements UALR established with the Pulaski and Jacksonville school districts.

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