Arkansas Government

Arkansas Department of Emergency Management director David Maxwell (right) and Arkansas Natural Resources Commission executive director Randy Young (left) testify to a joint meeting of legislative committees on levees and flooding.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The state agency responsible for coordinating disaster responses between a wide array of local, state, and federal organizations is getting a new director. Governor Asa Hutchinson announced on Tuesday he is bringing in former Chief of Police for the Conway Police Department A.J. Gary as director of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

On July 1, Gary will replace current director David Maxwell who has planned to retire at the end of June.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Legislation outlining Arkansas' $5.3 billion budget for the coming year calls for funding increases for the state's Department of Human Services and public schools, with $13.8 million in money being set aside for the rainy day fund.

Legislative leaders have released the proposed Revenue Stabilization Act, the budget bill that calls for a $142.7 million increase in spending. House Speaker Jeremy Gillam says he expects his chamber to take up the legislation on Wednesday with lawmakers hoping to wrap up the fiscal session this week.

Tim Griffin
David Monteith / KUAR News

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin says the state's Department of Human Services needs to overhaul its structure so it can better serve clients.

Griffin on Monday detailed his recommendations for changing DHS, which include eliminating its current system of divisions that he says aren't communicating well with each other. Gov. Asa Hutchinson last year asked Griffin to lead a review of the department, and the lieutenant governor delivered his recommendations to the governor on Friday.

The Arkansas auditor has admitted to instructing employees to use private email accounts after previously denying the allegation.

State auditor Andrea Lea said Wednesday that she made an incorrect statement to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in a previous article in which she denied telling anyone to use private email accounts for state business.

Lea's former chief of staff, George Franks, provided text messages that said otherwise.

Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin heads the Common Core task force.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin says he has wrapped up an eight-week review of the state Department of Human Services.

Griffin offered no recommendations on how to improve the agency Tuesday but says he looks forward to providing suggestions to Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

In December, Hutchinson asked Griffin to lead the review of DHS. Griffin says that since January he has interviewed individuals with a broad range of backgrounds and perspectives about the agency.

Former Governor, Senator Bumpers Honored At Service

Jan 11, 2016

Family, friends and colleagues of former Arkansas Governor and Senator Dale Bumpers gathered for a memorial service Sunday. The service was held at downtown Little Rock’s First United Methodist Church. Former President and Governor Bill Clinton, former U.S. Senator and Governor David Pryor and veteran journalist Ernie Dumas eulogized Bumpers. He died on New Year’s Day at the age of 90.

 

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R)
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has appointed three people to the boards of trustees of three universities in Arkansas.

Hutchinson on Wednesday appointed Stacy Crawford of Jonesboro the Board of Trustees of Arkansas State University, Bunny Adcock of Conway was named to the University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees and Tom Kennedy of Little Rock was named the Board of Trustees at Arkansas Tech University.

Arkansas Municipal League

Community-based policing is a focus at this fall’s Arkansas Municipal League conference. About 750 municipal and county officials discussed “respect and understanding” in law enforcement on Wednesday in Springdale.

Whitnee Bullerwell  is the League’s spokesperson. She said a panel of police officers and mayors shared their experiences with improving community relationships.

"Offering advice on what they've done in the past in  making certain community-based policing is a priority and all demographics are taken into account and considered," she said. 

Governor's Working Group on Highway Funding
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A group tasked by Governor Asa Hutchinson with finding additional revenue for highways in Arkansas is a step closer to submitting recommendations. Stakeholders conducted their final meeting Thursday in anticipation of finalizing proposals by mid-December. Chairman Duncan Baird said some ideas have more political support than others.

Arkansas State Capitol
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Arkansas’ state government scored a D-, or 35th in the nation, regarding its laws, practices and systems for accountability and transparency, according to a report released Monday by The Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organization, and Global Integrity, a research organization.

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