Associated Press

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A proposal to legalize casinos in Arkansas has been revised to allow expanded gambling at a greyhound track and horse track that already offer video poker and other electronic games.

Driving Arkansas Forward submitted its proposed constitutional amendment to the state attorney general's office, which had rejected an earlier version of the proposal. The AG must certify the measure's wording before the group can begin gathering signatures to try and place it on the November ballot.

Cody Hiland violent crime
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A federal prosecutor says 49 people have been indicted on gang- and drug-related charges in a crackdown on gun violence in Arkansas' capital city.

U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland says law enforcement officers arrested 21 people in early-morning raids Thursday and another 14 were taken into custody last week. Five defendants are in state custody and nine are fugitives.

Pulaski County Sheriff's Office

Crews in central Arkansas rescued 17 students after a school bus drove off the road and got stuck in floodwaters.

The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office says the bus became stuck Wednesday morning in a rural part of North Little Rock. No one was hurt.

Authorities say crews with the county's road and bridge department backed a truck up to the rear of the bus and rescued the students, eight at a time.

Flood warnings are in effect Wednesday across several states, from Texas to Ohio.

classroom desks
http://www.nctq.org

Arkansas lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow taxpayers with tax-deductible 529 college savings plans to withdraw funds for tuition at public, private and religious K-12 schools.

A legislative subcommittee on Wednesday recommended including the change in a budget bill for the state treasurer's office. The proposal now heads to the Joint Budget Committee.

A former Arkansas judge who admitted giving lighter sentences to men in return for sexual favors was investigated for similar crimes two decades ago but was never charged because he gave up his job as a deputy prosecutor.

Joseph Boeckmann later became a district judge, then preyed on men who appeared in his court for minor offenses. He pleaded guilty last year to wire fraud and witness tampering, and faces sentencing Wednesday.

The government says the FBI investigated Boeckmann more than 20 years ago but that no one raised a red flag when he later ran for the bench.

The Arkansas House of Representatives chamber.
arkansashouse.org

All but a dozen Arkansas House members have gone through voluntary courses on sexual harassment that are being offered in response to a wave of high-profile misconduct cases nationwide.

Eighty-seven of the House's 99 members attended a course that was offered throughout the day on Wednesday, according to sign-in sheets released by the chamber. A spokeswoman for the House said the other 12 members of the chamber are scheduled to attend a make-up course being offered next week. There is one vacant seat in the 100-member House.

Trent Garner
Arkansas Times

An Arkansas lawmaker says he won't push for a measure easing a requirement for concealed handgun trainers during this year's session after the governor said he supports delaying the mandate's deadline so the issue can be addressed later.

Republican Sen. Trent Garner said Thursday he'll drop his proposal removing the requirement that concealed carry instructors offer both the regular training and the enhanced training under an expanded concealed handgun law approved last year.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson giving his State of the State address to Arkansas lawmakers at the start of the fiscal session Monday.
ArkansasHouse.org

Arkansas' governor says he wants to cut the income tax for the state's top earners by $180 million, and says his plan to set aside $48 million in surplus money will help set the stage for that reduction.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson told lawmakers Monday he'll push for cutting the state's top income tax rate from 6.9 percent to 6 percent. Hutchinson issued the recommendation as lawmakers convened for an abbreviated session focused on the state's budget.

Anne Pressly
KATV-Channel 7

The Arkansas Supreme Court says the mother of a television news anchor killed in a 2008 attack can move forward with a complaint that hospital employees not involved in the journalist's medical care acted outrageously as the woman was dying.

Justices said Thursday that St. Vincent Infirmary could be released from part of a lawsuit filed after the workers looked at Anne Pressly's medical records. The court dismissed a cross-appeal, however, which will let a Pulaski County judge decide whether the employees acted in an "extreme and outrageous" manner.

Voter ID Vote photo ID
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A lawsuit challenging Arkansas' new voter ID law has been filed, arguing the requirement causes the same problems as a nearly identical law that was struck down four years ago.

The lawsuit filed by a voter in Pulaski County Circuit Court on Wednesday is challenging the measure's constitutionality ahead of the state's May 22 primary. Early voting for the primary begins May 7.

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