Associated Press

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Jury selection is underway in the trial for a former Arkansas state senator accused in an alleged kickback scheme.

Former Sen. Jon Woods faces 15 fraud charges. Prosecutors accuse of him of taking kickbacks from former Ecclesia College president Oren Paris III in exchange for directing state funding to the college.

Paris pleaded guilty last week to one count of fraud and agreed to testify for prosecutors. Woods' attorney, Patrick Benca, has said his client is innocent and that defense attorneys will prove that, despite Paris' guilty plea.

Dicamba damage
University of Arkansas

Arkansas is asking the state's top court to halt a judge's order allowing six farmers to use an herbicide that was banned by state regulators following complaints that it drifted onto crops and caused damage.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office on Thursday asked the state Supreme Court to stay Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox's ruling exempting the farmers from the state Plant Board's rule banning dicamba's use. The panel has banned dicamba's use from April 16 through October 31 this year. Rutledge on Wednesday filed notice she was appealing Fox's ruling.

insidehighered.com

The president of a Christian college in Springdale has pleaded guilty in what prosecutors called a kickback scheme involving his school.

Oren Paris III had faced a trial Monday with former state Sen. Jon Woods and consultant Randell Shelton. Instead, the president of Ecclesia College pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Fayetteville.

Prosecutors say Paris paid kickbacks to Woods and then-Rep. Micah Neal in return for $550,000 in state grants in 2013-14, using Shelton's consulting firm as a go-between. Neal pleaded guilty last year but has not been sentenced.

Elsbeth Kittinger
Arkansas State Police

Authorities say an Arkansas State Police trooper was shot and wounded during a traffic stop in southwest Arkansas.

State police say Trooper Kyle Sheldon remains hospitalized in stable condition after the shooting Sunday night in Rockport, about 40 miles southwest of Little Rock. State police say Sheldon's injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

According to state police, a driver opened fire on Sheldon during the traffic stop. Officers with the Malvern Police Department, who were nearby and responding to an unrelated call, returned fire on the suspect.

Voter ID Vote photo ID
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas is asking the state's Supreme Court to compel a judge to decide whether to block enforcement of a voter ID law.

In a motion filed Thursday, Secretary of State Mark Martin asked the court to require Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray to rule whether she'll grant a motion to block the law's enforcement in Arkansas' May 22 primary.

The motion is part of a lawsuit filed by a voter who contends the law, enacted last year, circumvents a 2014 Arkansas Supreme Court ruling that struck down a previous voter ID measure.

Former President Bill Clinton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Former President Bill Clinton and bestselling author James Patterson will visit Little Rock this June to promote their new novel, called "The President is Missing."

The Clinton Foundation and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service say the event will take place June 9 at the Statehouse Convention Center.

The book has been described by publishers as a thriller that includes "details that only a president can know." It's set for release in June.

One of five companies that had been slated to receive Arkansas' first licenses to grow medical marijuana has asked a state judge to lift his order halting the permitting process and declaring it unconstitutional.

Natural State Wellness Enterprises LLC asked Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen on Wednesday to vacate his order preventing Arkansas from issuing its first medical marijuana cultivation licenses. Griffen last week ruled that the licensing process violated a 2016 voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for patients with certain conditions.

Bruce Ward
adc.arkansas.gov

An Arkansas death row inmate with a case pending before the state Supreme Court wants its justices to prevent his execution while he pursues another case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bruce Ward had been set to die last April during a string of executions. He wants the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether he should have been entitled to the use of an independent mental health professional at his trial. The Arkansas Supreme Court said March 1 that Ward never met the minimum threshold for such assistance.

A former state representative has been chosen the new chief administrative officer in Jefferson County after the former executive resigned when it was revealed he had received $100,000 in bribes.

The county's Quorum Court on Thursday selected 82-year-old Booker Clemons as the new county judge.

Clemons is retired from the University of Arkansas' Cooperative Extension Service and served in the state House from 2001-2007.

Don Davis
Department of Correction

An Arkansas death row inmate out of appeals at the state level wants another chance before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Don Davis on Wednesday asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to recall a day-old order ending his most recent appeal.

Davis intends to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether Arkansas' justices erred when they said he wasn't entitled to independent mental health experts before and during his trial. The U.S. Supreme Court considered a similar case last year.

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