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The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board has approved a request for $960.7 million in funding for college and university operations for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

The request approved Friday during a board meeting at North Arkansas College in Harrison is for $133 million more than current funding.

The request will be presented to the Arkansas Legislature during the upcoming fiscal legislative session that begins in February.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says he's worried that conservative activists are spending more energy targeting fellow Republicans than focusing on Democrats, a move he says will hurt the party going forward.

Speaking at the Political Animals Club in downtown Little Rock, Huckabee on Friday complained about conservative groups such as the Club for Growth and Heritage Action focusing on incumbent GOP lawmakers in primaries.

More than 66,000 Arkansans have applied for health insurance under the state's expansion of the Medicaid program as part of the federal health care overhaul.

The state's Medicaid director told legislators on Thursday that of those, just over 62,000 applications have been approved. 

The Public Health Committee also heard from state Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford, whose office says there are 71 available health plans from four insurance companies.

Memorial services are set for Friday for a southwest Arkansas teenager whose death may have been caused by a rare infection spread by mosquitoes.

Family members say 13-year-old Coleman Pearson was diagnosed earlier this month with eastern equine encephalitis. He died Tuesday at Arkansas Children's Hospital.

The diagnosis has not yet been confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. 

AG Dustin McDaniel (D)
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has rejected the wording of a proposed ballot measure aimed at limiting corporate spending to influence elections in Arkansas.

McDaniel rejected the proposal's wording on Wednesday, citing what he said were ambiguities and deficiencies in the proposed ballot title and text. 

McDaniel has to certify the wording of a proposed measure before groups can begin gathering signatures needed to qualify for a spot on the ballot.

The proposal that McDaniel rejected on Wednesday comes from the Regnat Populus Ballot Question Committee.

A wholesale manufacturer of frozen bakery products says it's opening a production facility in northwest Arkansas.

Mark Gregory / Arkansas Times

City councilors in Bryant are examining the travel expenses of the town's police chief and a school resource officer after the pair was reimbursed for steak dinners from an upscale Orlando, Fla., strip club.

According to travel receipts obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Police Chief Mark Kizer and Bryant High School resource officer Lee Ledbetter both submitted receipts in July from O.C. Food & Beverage LLC Steakhouse.

The newspaper reports the address and telephone number for the steakhouse belongs to Rachel's Adult Entertainment & Steakhouse.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is to host a screening of the film "West of Memphis" about the prosecution of three men for the deaths of three West Memphis Cub Scouts.

The event will include a talk by one of the defendants and the mother of one of the victims.

The movie is to be shown at 6 p.m. Wednesday in room 214-C at the Donaghey Student Center on the UALR campus.

Jason Baldwin was among the three convicted of the killings but subsequently released. Pam Hobbs, the mother of Stevie Branch, is to join Baldwin at the event.

Arkansas Capitol building.
Ron Breeding / KUAR News

Senate President Michael Lamoureux has named four lawmakers to a task force created as part of a package of laws aimed at overhauling and increasing funding to the health insurance program for thousands of public school teachers. 

Lamoureux on Tuesday named Republican Sens. Cecile Bledsoe of Rogers and David Sanders of Little Rock and Democratic Sens. Linda Chesterfield of Little Rock and Eddie Cheatham of Crossett to the State and Public School Life and Health Insurance Program Legislative Task force. 

A federal judge has rejected the Little Rock School District's motion to delay a coming trial on Arkansas' request to end long-running desegregation payments to three school districts.

Judge D. Price Marshall on Tuesday rejected the district's request to stay proceedings in the trial, set to begin Dec. 9. 

Little Rock schools argued that the trial should be delayed while a federal appeals court considers their claim that Arkansas' approval of charter schools in Pulaski County violates the desegregation agreement.

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