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.

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. 

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.

ABC News To Look At Rep. Justin Harris 'Rehoming' Daughters

Oct 22, 2015
Justin harris
Arkansas Times

The ABC News program 20/20 will air a one-hour special this Friday, October 23 about Arkansas State Representative Justin Harris "rehoming" his adopted daughters and the controversy surrounding it.

ABC News released this statement Thursday about the special:

Dennis Milligan treasurer
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Ethics Commission has dropped eight of the 13 allegations from its investigation of Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan.

Milligan's former campaign staff filed more than a dozen amended campaign finance reports on Friday to address complaints filed by Little Rock attorney and blogger Matt Campbell.

Under ethics law reforms passed by voters last year, Milligan had 30 days to fix any unintentional reporting violations and the Ethics Commission then does not take action on those matters.