Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

The 91st General Assembly of 2017, in a decision that brought Supreme Court Chief Justice Dan Kemp over to the old Supreme Court chambers in the Capitol — now the scene of Senate committee meetings — decided to put to voters this November a big cap on lawsuit awards as well as a legislative power grab.

A rendering of an expanded I-30 corridor in downtown Little Rock. 30 Crossing
Arkansas Department of Transportation

The Arkansas Department of Transportation is holding a final public hearing Thursday on a proposed expansion of a 6.7 mile stretch of Interstate 30 through the downtowns of Little Rock and North Little Rock.

The meeting will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel at 2 Riverfront Place in North Little Rock. The department, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is seeking public input at the hearing.

Bishop Woosley Arkansas Lottery
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery reports that during the budget year that ended June 30, a record $500.4 million in revenue was collected. Nearly $92 million of that will go toward college scholarships, which is the third highest amount since the lottery was created in 2009.

"We broke several records, and we had an excellent year for our proceeds," said Lottery Director Bishop Woosley. He attributed the growth to a number of factors, including large Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots, along with growth in the sales of instant ticket games.

Rock Region Metro transit buses CAT central arkansas transit
David Monteith / KUAR News

A new executive director is getting settled in at Rock Region Metro. Charles Frazier says he hopes to expand the role of public transit in central Arkansas. Frazier comes to Little Rock from Palm Beach County, Florida where he was an assistant director at Palm Tran, the transit agency there. 

Veteran patients crowded into a town hall meeting Monday morning at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville demanding answers about a Department of Veterans Affairs pathologist recently fired for working while impaired. 

The impaired pathologist has been identified by media as Dr. Robert Morris Levy of Fayetteville. 

Officials previously admitted pathology reports Levy wrote were wrong. They again assured concerned veterans an external review is underway to determine just how many pathology reports are flawed. 

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Law enforcement and education officials from around the state are meeting in North Little Rock this week to discuss best practices for improving school security.

The 14th annual Arkansas Safe Schools Conference comes one week after the Arkansas School Safety Commission released its preliminary report on how to thwart and respond to threats of school violence.

Louis Jordan Highway
Stephen Koch / Arkansongs

A pioneering musician from Brinkley is being posthumously honored by having part of U.S. 49 in eastern Arkansas dedicated as the Louis Jordan Memorial Highway. A ceremony was held Monday with officials from the Arkansas Department of Transportation and other dignitaries who came together to unveil a sign alongside the highway.

Arkansas is one of just two states in the country that has criminalized drowsy driving, but it’s almost never enforced.

Just three convictions have occurred under the state’s 2013 law, according to the most recent data from 2016.

To convict someone under the law, a death must occur, and there must be proof a driver had not slept for 24 hours before the accident. New Jersey, the other state that criminalized drowsy driving, requires proof that a driver missed 16 hours of sleep in order to convict them.

Dr. Joe Thompson
Arkansas Center for Health Improvement

It's likely that thousands of Medicaid enrollees in Arkansas did not meet a deadline to report whether they are fulfilling new work requirements being implemented by the state. 

The Arkansas Division of Human Services told KUAR on Thursday that, as of June 29, only 370 of the 8,534 enrollees were in compliance. Enrollees had until Thursday, July 5, to log in to the state website and report their activities.

Arkansas Secretary of State

Friday was the deadline for groups hoping to put proposals before Arkansas voters in November to deliver signed petitions to the state. 

Three groups, two putting forth constitutional amendments and one an initiated act, hauled in box loads of petitions throughout the day to the Secretary of State's office. Among the petitioners are groups seeking to allow casino gaming, raise the minimum wage, and impose overall term limits on state legislators.

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