Associated Press

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The Arkansas Supreme Court has halted the execution of one of two inmates facing lethal injection Monday under the state's multiple execution plan.

Justices on Friday issued a stay in the execution of Bruce Ward, one of seven inmates the state plans to put to death before the end of the month. Ward's attorneys had asked for the stay after a Jefferson County judge said she didn't have the authority to halt Ward's execution.

Arkansas Death Chamber Lethal Injection
Arkansas Department of Correction

Two pharmaceutical companies are asking a federal judge to prevent Arkansas from using its drugs in the planned execution of seven death row inmates later this month.

Fresenius Kabi USA and West-Ward Pharmaceuticals Corp. were granted permission Thursday to file a friend of the court brief in a lawsuit filed by the inmates aimed at halting the executions.

Fresenius Kabi said it appears the potassium chloride Arkansas plans to use in its three-drug protocol was manufactured by the company and may have been acquired improperly.

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 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.

Jason McGehee
Department of Correction

Arkansas' parole board is suggesting that Gov. Asa Hutchinson extend mercy to one of eight inmates scheduled to die in a series of double-executions this month.

The Republican governor is not bound by the board's recommendation Wednesday that he spare Jason McGehee's life. The 40-year-old inmate was convicted of killing a teenager who had told police about a theft ring operating in far northern Arkansas.

Arkansas finance officials say a change in corporate tax filing due dates resulted in the state's revenue in March falling just more than $50 million below expectations.

The state Department of Finance and Administration report released Tuesday says net available revenue last month totaled $345 million - $50.2 million below forecast and nearly $69 million below March 2016.

Finance officials say Corporate Returns and Extension payments that were previously due in March were shifted to April under federal and state laws.

Arkansas legislators have wrapped up the bulk of their work for the 2017 regular session. They'll come back in early May to tie up loose ends, and it is expected that they'll also have a special session in May to deal with changes in the state Medicaid program.The Legislature on Monday approved a $5.5 billion budget for the state.

The proposed Revenue Stabilization Act, which sets spending priorities based on expected revenue, was approved in the Senate on a 23-0 vote Monday. The House later approved an identical version of the bill by an 87-5 vote.

Arkansas prison officials have asked the state's highest court to stay a judge's order that they must disclose more information about one of the drugs they plan to use in the executions of eight men over a 10-day period in April.

The attorney general's office on Friday asked the state Supreme Court to issue a stay of Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen's order requiring Arkansas to release copies of the package insert and labels for its supply of potassium chloride, one of the three drugs used in its lethal injection protocol.

A lawyer is trying to obtain information about the drugs Arkansas will use in an unprecedented run of executions next month, but prison officials say the information is a secret they must keep.

Steven Shults was in court Thursday seeking the drugs' packing labels. The prison officials say that, after The Associated Press previously used labels to identify drugmakers, they will no longer distribute them.

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