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A federal appeals panel is considering whether to uphold or strike down a judge's decision to temporarily block Arkansas from cutting off Medicaid payments for three Planned Parenthood patients.

Attorneys for the state and Planned Parenthood appeared Wednesday before a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals over the preliminary injunction preventing the defunding move for the patients. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker issued the injunction last year and Planned Parenthood has asked her to expand the order to any current or future patients.

Gov. Mike Beebe
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe is opposing a ballot measure that would legalize casinos in three counties.

Protect Arkansas Values/Stop Casinos Now announced Wednesday the former Democratic governor is opposing the proposed constitutional measure that's on the Nov. 8 ballot. Beebe said in a statement released by the group that he believes the measure would not give local communities the right to decide whether they want expanded gambling.

Downtown Magnolia, Arkansas.

A fuel-cell manufacturer has notified local officials that it will shut its plant in Magnolia, putting about 300 people out of work in south Arkansas.

Magnolia Mayor Parnell Vann says he was notified last week that American Fuel Cells and Coated Fabrics Co., also known as Amfuel, will shut down production at its plant. The manufacturer has been located in Magnolia for more than 60 years.

A spokesman for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission says the agency was notified of the plant's closure and said the company received no state incentives.


Cosmetics maker L'Oreal USA is building thousands of solar panels at manufacturing facilities in Kentucky and Arkansas, a move the company says will help cut carbon emissions and create two of the biggest solar-powered projects in each state.

The subsidiary of the L'Oreal Group said Tuesday it plans to install 5,000 solar panels at its Florence, Kentucky, plant and another 4,000 at its North Little Rock, Arkansas, plant, with both projects expected to be operational by the middle of next year.

The campaign behind an effort to legalize casinos in three Arkansas counties is asking the state's highest court to dismiss a lawsuit trying to block votes for the ballot measure.

Arkansas Wins in 2016 asked the state Supreme Court on Monday to dismiss the lawsuit by opponents that claims the ballot measure is misleading and that supporters didn't follow the law for reporting paid canvassers. The lawsuit asks the court to block election officials from counting any votes for the measure in the November election.

The University of Arkansas has announced the start of a fundraising campaign that officials hope will raise $1 billion.

The university said in a news release that the money raised by Campaign Arkansas would be used to support academics, including scholarships and fellowships, endowed chairs, interdisciplinary academic programs and capital projects that include renovation of existing facilities.

UA Chancellor Joe Steinmetz said that without increases in state funding, private fundraising is needed to support the programs and projects.

Leslie Rutledge attorney general

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is asking the state's highest court to hold oral arguments in the lawsuit challenging a city ordinance that bars discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender orientation.

Authorities say a McCrory police officer has died from his injuries after his patrol car collided with a deer in Woodruff County.

Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler says Officer Robert Aaron Barker died at a Searcy hospital after the collision Thursday morning. Sadler says Barker was responding to a call at about 5 a.m. to assist a Woodruff County sheriff's deputy when he struck the deer.

The crash happened on Arkansas 17 south of Patterson.

Barker was 26. He was a four-year veteran of the McCrory Police Department.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has ordered a resentencing for an inmate who has served nearly 40 years in prison for a crime committed when he was 16 years old.

Billy Ray Smith, who is now 59, challenged the life sentence he received in Pike County for rape. Smith, who represented himself in court filings, argued that a life sentence without parole for a non-homicide offense was illegal for a juvenile, and the state's highest court agreed on Thursday.

The court sent Smith's case back to Pike County Circuit Court with orders that his sentence be modified to 50 years.

Arkansas lawmakers have endorsed an agency's plan to collect a 3 percent fee on plans offered through the state's health insurance exchange.

The Arkansas Health Insurance Market Place Legislative Oversight Committee on Wednesday backed the marketplace board's plan to begin collecting the fee in December. The 3 percent fee would replace a 3.5 percent fee that has been collected by the federal government since enrollment in the exchanges began two years ago.