Associated Press

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An Arkansas lawmaker has dropped a "bathroom bill" that had faced opposition from the state's Republican governor and tourism groups, and says she wants the issue studied for the future.

Republican Sen. Linda Collins-Smith on Wednesday withdrew her proposal to require every restroom or changing facility accessible by multiple people at the same time in a government building be designated for use by members of only one sex. The proposal had not advanced past a Senate committee and the Legislature is entering the final days of this year's session.

adc.arkansas.gov

Attorneys for an Arkansas inmate facing lethal injection next month are asking a state judge to block his execution, saying he's mentally incompetent to be put to death.

Convicted murderer Bruce Ward asked a Jefferson County judge Wednesday to issue a preliminary injunction preventing his April 17 execution. Ward is among eight inmates the state plans to put to death over a 10-day period.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed a measure that would impose fines and prison time on doctors who perform abortions that are based solely on whether the mother wants to have a boy or girl.

The measure was signed Wednesday.

A physician performing the abortion would ask the patient if she knows the sex of the child. If she does, the doctor must let her know that it's illegal to have an abortion based solely on gender.

Arkansas House of Representatives.
ArkansasHouse.org

An effort to keep Arkansas' hybrid Medicaid expansion for another year fell short in the state House days after an attempt by congressional Republicans to repeal the federal health law that created the program failed.

The House voted 73-17 Wednesday for the budget for the state Medicaid program, including the expansion, falling two votes short of the 75 needed to send the measure to the governor. House leaders did not indicate when they would try another vote on the bill.

One of eight Arkansas death row inmates facing lethal injection next month is asking the state's highest court to block his execution so evidence from his murder trial can be retested.

Stacey Eugene Johnson asked the state Supreme Court Wednesday to stay his execution scheduled for April 20, one of the four double execution dates the state has set over a 10-day period.

Johnson asked justices to allow him to seek new testing of evidence from his conviction in the 1993 death of Carol Heath. The evidence includes hairs found at Heath's apartment.

Arkansas State Capitol
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

The Arkansas Senate has approved keeping the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion another year after Republican efforts to repeal and replace the federal health law that created the program failed in Congress.

The state Senate voted 27-1 Tuesday for the budget for the state's Medicaid program that includes the hybrid expansion. The bill that now heads to the state House had failed to get the three-fourths majority vote needed on two separate votes Monday.

Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen
PBS

An Arkansas judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the state's lethal injection law, the latest setback for efforts to block the state's unprecedented plan to conduct four double executions over a 10-day period next month.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen granted the state's motion Tuesday to dismiss the lawsuit filed by eight inmates facing lethal injection next month. Griffen said he has no jurisdiction over the case after the state Supreme Court upheld the lethal injection law and protocol.

The floor of the Arkansas Senate.
Arkansas.gov

An effort to continue the hybrid Arkansas Medicaid expansion another year has failed in the state Senate, days after Republican efforts to repeal and replace the federal health law that enabled the expanded coverage faltered in Congress.

The Senate voted 19-1 and later 20-1 in favor of the budget for the state's Medicaid program, including the hybrid expansion, short of the 27 votes needed to advance. More than 300,000 people are on the program, which uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents.

Marissa Marisa Pavan Birth Certificate certificates same-sex marrriage
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A bill that would allow married gay couples in Arkansas to list both spouses' names on their children's birth certificates without a court order has failed to advance out of a Senate committee.

Democratic Sen. Joyce Elliott's bill failed to advance Monday from the Senate Judiciary Committee due to a lack of a second motion. The proposed measure would have changed the presumption of parentage under the state's artificial insemination and surrogacy laws.

A lawsuit contends Arkansas is violating the state’s open records law and its own execution policy by refusing to release documents proving they obtained lethal drugs from legitimate sources ahead of four double-executions set for next month.

Steven Shults says he can no longer receive product labels from the Arkansas Department of Correction. The agency used to release the material, but said it will no longer do so after The Associated Press used the label’s distinct typography to unmask the manufacturers in 2015.

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