Arkansas Legislature

Local & Regional News
12:18 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Arkansas Justices Ask For Higher Raises For Supreme Court

Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Karen Baker complained that, with milieage allowance, Court of Appeals judges would make more than Supreme Court justices.
Credit Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Two members of the Arkansas Supreme Court are urging a panel reviewing elected officials' salaries to give justices a higher pay raise than what's initially been recommended.

Justices Jo Hart and Karen Baker told the Independent Citizens Commission on Monday that justices deserve a higher pay raise because of their workload and in order to ensure the state's most talented lawyers are running for the court. They were among five people to speak at a public hearing on the commission's pay proposal.

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Local & Regional News
4:27 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Panel OKs School Consolidation Waiver, Bill Heads To Full House

Credit arkansas.gov

An Arkansas House panel is supporting a proposal to grant waivers to some school districts that fall below the state's minimum enrollment, rolling back a key part of reforms enacted in response to a long-running education funding case.

The House Education Committee on Thursday advanced the proposal to allow districts with fewer than the required 350 students to request waivers from the state Board of Education if they're not classified as being in academic, fiscal or facilities distress.

The proposal now heads to the House.

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Local & Regional News
2:25 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Bill To Include Drones In Anti-Voyeurism Law Heads To Governor

The Arkansas Senate passed a bill Thursday to add drone surveillance to the state’s voyeurism laws. The legislation would make it illegal to use a drone to photograph or view someone underneath their clothing, or in private.  

Sen. Jon Woods, R-Springdale, spoke in favor of the bill, which passed 27-1. He said the Arkansas State Police had issues with the original language of the bill, but that this version would not interfere with their duties.

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Local & Regional News
2:18 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Arkansas Lawmaker Plans To File Firing Squad Legislation

Civil War reenactors play out the execution of a war deserter in Landis Valley, Pennsylvania in 2006.
Credit Jeffrey Martin / Flickr.com

An Arkansas lawmaker whose daughter was murdered by a man now on death row says she will file a bill legalizing firing squads after a Senate committee passed a bill to ban capital punishment.

Republican Rep. Rebecca Petty of Rogers said she plans to introduce a bill this week instructing the state to consider other execution methods, including firing squads. Arkansas has 32 inmates on death row, but hasn't executed anyone since 2005 due to ongoing legal challenges over lethal injection protocol.

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Local & Regional News
1:46 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Arkansas House Committee Endorses Guns On Campus Bill

Rep. Charlie Collins of Fayetteville speaking to reporters after passage of his bill by a House committee Thursday.
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Public colleges and universities in Arkansas would be required to allow staff and faculty with concealed carry licenses to carry their guns onto campus under a bill approved by a House committee.

The House Education Committee voted Thursday for the reworked measure that was narrowly defeated earlier this month.

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Local & Regional News
1:29 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Arkansas Legislative Panel Rejects 'Conscience-Protection' On 3-3 Vote

A "conscience-protection" proposal that critics say is an attempt to sanction discrimination against gays and lesbians has failed before an Arkansas legislative panel.

The Senate Judiciary Committee rejected the proposal to ban any local or state laws or regulations that substantially burden religious beliefs unless a "compelling governmental interest" is proven.

The House-backed measure faced mounting criticism from businesses, local governments and advocacy groups. They said it targeted gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.

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Local & Regional News
1:18 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

ACLU Opposes Abortion Restriction Signed By Gov. Hutchinson

The American Civil Liberties union says telemedicine legislation signed by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson is aimed at blocking access to abortions.

A Hutchinson spokesman says the governor signed a bill earlier this week that requires a doctor to be physically present when a woman takes abortion-inducing medication.

The bill by Republican Sen. Missy Irvin of Mountain View was a top legislative priority of anti-abortion groups and was supported by overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate.

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Local & Regional News
12:47 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Arkansas Panel OKs Eliminating Death Sentence As Penalty

A proposal to abolish Arkansas' death penalty is heading to the state Senate.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved legislation that would eliminate the death penalty as a sentencing option in capital murder cases.

Arkansas has 32 inmates on death row but hasn't executed anyone in nearly a decade due to legal challenges over the state's lethal injection procedures.

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Local & Regional News
4:34 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Arkansas House Panel To Consider Robert E. Lee Memorial Day

An Arkansas lawmaker plans to revive an attempt to separate the state's practice of honoring civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on the same day by creating a memorial day for Lee.

A similar bill failed twice to advance out of the House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee after an outpouring of public comment from people who said the change belittles southern heritage.

Local & Regional News
3:27 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Gov. Hutchinson Signs Measure Expanding Computer Science Classes

Gov. Asa Hutchinson signs the computer science bill into law Tuesday at the Capitol.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law a measure requiring public high schools to offer computer science courses in the coming school year.

Hutchinson signed the bill Tuesday, following through on a campaign promise he says was inspired by his 12-year-old granddaughter learning computer coding. Hutchinson, a Republican, was elected in November.

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