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Jeff Vanuga / Photo courtesy of USDA

A panel of the Arkansas House today approved a bill imposing limits on how and when people can raise challenges to farms that hold special permits to discharge liquid animal waste.

Rep. Jeff Wardlaw said the bill was needed to protect bankers who lend money to farmers.

The Republican lawmaker from Hermitage told the House Public Health Committee on Tuesday that allowing a series of lawsuits over issues raised in public comment periods put the farmers' investments at risk.

The Arkansas House of Representatives chamber.
arkansashouse.org

While Arkansas legislators have just wrapped up a session to work on the state budget, Gov. Asa Hutchinson wants them to stick around for additional work on pharmacy benefits, highway funding and other matters. Hutchinson on Monday called a special session to convene Tuesday morning.

Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' governor has signed into law legislation to continue the state's Medicaid expansion, which will impose a work requirement on thousands of participants this year.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson's office said Thursday the Republican signed the budget bill for Medicaid and the expansion, which uses federal and state funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. More than 285,000 people are on the program, which was created as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law.

Arkansas House
ArkansasHouse.org

Arkansas lawmakers have voted to continue the state's Medicaid expansion another year after federal officials approved a plan to impose a work requirement on the program.

The Arkansas House approved by a 79-15 vote Wednesday the budget for the state's Medicaid program and the expansion, which uses federal and state funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. The measure needed at least 75 votes to pass. It now heads to the governor's desk.

A medical marijuana firm originally from northeast Arkansas has chosen to build its cultivation plant in the Pine Bluff area.

Natural State Wellness Enterprises had its choice of either Jackson or Jefferson counties because two of its applications were chosen among the top five. But the firm picked Jefferson County on Friday because the state's new medical marijuana law only permits the company to operate one facility.

Company spokesman Bart Calhoun said Monday that the decision was based on economic incentives and the county's central location.

The Arkansas House of Representatives chamber.
arkansashouse.org

Legislation detailing Arkansas' proposed $5.6 billion budget for the coming year calls for increasing funding for Medicaid and setting aside nearly $64 million in surplus funds.

Lawmakers on Monday got their first look at the proposed Revenue Stabilization Act, the budget bill that calls for a nearly $173 million increase in spending for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The Joint Budget Committee is expected to take up the measure on Tuesday.

Governor Asa Hutchinson  Arkansas Works Medicaid expansion
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A top Trump administration official is visiting Arkansas next week as the state awaits word on proposals to move 60,000 people off its Medicaid expansion and impose a work requirement on thousands of participants.

File photo of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee filing to run for president at the Arkansas State Capitol on Nov. 2, 2015.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Former Republican presidential candidate and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has resigned from the board for the Country Music Association Foundation after his election was swiftly criticized in the music community.

On Wednesday, Huckabee was announced as a new member of board of the directors for the charitable arm of the association that runs the annual CMA Awards and the CMA Festival.

One of the three drugs Arkansas uses in its death chamber is about to expire, and unless the state can find a new supply it won't be able to execute three men with 11th-hour appeals pending at the state Supreme Court.

Arkansas rushed to execute eight men over 11 days last year, before 160 vials of a sedative expired. Ultimately, Arkansas put four men to death over eight days last April.

The state's supply of vecuronium bromide expires Thursday. It stops the inmates' breathing while a third drug used stops their hearts.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers are beginning work on school security proposals they want to take up during next year's session in response to the recent Florida high school shooting.

Sen. Missy Irvin and Rep. Mark Lowery said the Joint Performance Review Committee will hold a series of hearings this year and work on a package of bills to recommend aimed at improving student safety. The Republican lawmakers co-chair the committee.

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