Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's departure from the state Department of Human Services more than a decade ago is the subject of a new lawsuit filed Thursday on behalf of the state Democratic Party.

The lawsuit, filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court on behalf of party spokesman Reed Brewer, alleges the Department of Human Services violated the Freedom of Information Act by withholding parts of Rutledge's personnel file during her time as a staff attorney at the department.

Judge Mark Derrick
Bad Government In Arkansas Blog

A civil rights organization has filed a lawsuit alleging that an Arkansas district court judge is running an illegal “debtors’ prison” in White County. The Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law contends that Judge Mark Derrick not only imposes excessive fines without evaluating the ability of defendants to pay, but also jails defendants for nonpayment 30 days at a time.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of six plaintiffs, all residents of White County, who say they have been jailed or otherwise threatened with legal punishment for being unable to pay court-ordered fines.

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre
www.therep.org

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre in Little Rock, which shut down in April because of financial difficulties, is preparing to reopen with a new season of performances in January.

The turnaround of the professional theater is thanks to more than $500,000 in donations, which was matched by the Windgate Charitable Foundation in Siloam Springs, according to Ruth Shepherd, the chair-elect for The Rep’s board of directors.

Tom Cotton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' junior U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton says he's running for reelection in 2020, but that his focus now is on helping Republicans win state and national offices in this year's midterm races.

Cotton appeared at a political event Wednesday and said he thinks Republicans will hold their majority in the House of Representatives and expand their majority in the Senate.

Arkansas State Capitol
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

The state Tax Reform and Relief Task Force on Tuesday adopted a proposal by the panel’s co-chairs to back potential legislation to cut the state’s marginal tax rate to 6%, as well as backing another measure to join the growing list of states to cash in on remote or Internet sales tax bounty.

The two proposals were among a working list of nearly 20 corporate and income tax proposals and exemptions that lawmakers have sifted through for nearly a year to decide if certain exclusions that reduce state revenue are justified, need to be changed, or nixed from Arkansas’ tax structure.

Arkadelphia
Nick Juhasz / Wikimedia Commons

The consequences of President Donald Trump's trade battle are hitting home in one rural Arkansas town.

Arkadelphia has been planning on a new paper mill and the hundreds of jobs it would create since the project was announced two years ago by a Chinese company.

But optimism has been giving way to concern in recent months amid Trump's escalating trade dispute with China.

Wendell Griffen
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

An Arkansas judge who was banned from hearing execution cases after participating in an anti-death penalty demonstration is seeking the removal of an attorney investigating his ethics complaint against the state Supreme Court.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Term Limits spokesman Tim Jacob says it’s time for the wishes of state voters to be honored and this year’s term limits proposal should keep lawmakers from altering them in the future.

On Friday, supporters of a proposal to curtail term limits gained approval of signatures from the Secretary of State’s office to qualify for the November ballot.

David Monteith / KUAR news

Little Rock is getting help in its fight against childhood hunger. On Monday officials announced a $139,500 grant had been awarded to the city by the Food Research Action Center and the National League of Cities.

Mayor Mark Stodola said the efforts of multiple partners helped Little Rock become one of six cities nationwide to receive the grant.

Arkansas Baptist College
Arkansas Business

Arkansas Baptist College is again struggling to organize its finances. Members of the school’s board blame former President Joseph Jones with squandering a budget surplus by not focusing on enrollment and replacing staffers with new employees who were paid higher salaries.

Jones is accused of hiding the deteriorating financial situation from the board until the college was in a crisis. Now officials are working to address an estimated $4 million hole.

Arkansas Business digs into the situation in this week’s issue:

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