News

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Legislation to reduce the scholarship amount paid to students from the Arkansas Lottery is now going to the Governor for a signature.

The bill would set scholarships in tiers. Freshmen would receive $2,000, which would increase by $1,000 each year until senior year, topping out at $5,000.

The program currently pays $4,500 per year to four-year college students.

Two-year college students would be eligible for $2,000 per year, down from $2,250.

Governor Mike Beebe is heading back from Washington DC, and with him are answers to lawmakers’ questions about the state’s options for expanding Medicaid under the Federal health care law.

The Governor, a Democrat, supports expansion, but some Republicans want more flexibility in the plan.

Representative Charlie Collins of Fayetteville says he and his colleagues want to see more private insurance options.

Photo shows a section of children's course, with founder and zipline consultant Robert Nickell (front) and several staff, note the launch platform in the distance.
Photo: Jacqueline Froelich

A new outdoor adventure park will open in North West Arkansas, just west of Eureka Springs.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (4th District) speaking in 2013 at the Arkansas Capitol when he was a State Rep.
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

The sponsor of a bill that would create a controversial state-spending cap says he will try it again in House committee Tuesday.

House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman, a Republican from Hot Springs, says he’s been researching successful spending caps in other states.

Arkansas Receives $42 Million Health Care Grant

Feb 22, 2013

Governor Mike Beebe met with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in Washington DC this Friday to discuss how low-income Arkansans can purchase insurance without going on expanded Medicaid. 

Arkansas is one of six states to be awarded a $42 million dollar grant for a new health care initiative. Beebe says the plan will address preventative care, as well as existing chronic conditions. 

New Survey: Arkansans Divided On Concealed Weapons Bill

Feb 22, 2013

A survey released Friday by Talk Business and Hendrix College finds by a slight margin that most respondents support a bill that would allow weapons to be carried on college campuses by licensed faculty and staff. 

49% are in favor of the proposal, while 43-percent are against it.  Roby Brock with Talk Business Arkansas says it shows that gun rights issues remain a divisive topic.  

New Survey: Arkansans Divided On Concealed Weapons Bill

Feb 22, 2013

A survey released Friday by Talk Business and Hendrix College finds by a slight margin that most respondents support a bill that would allow weapons to be carried on college campuses by licensed faculty and staff. 

49% are in favor of the proposal, while 43-percent are against it.  Roby Brock with Talk Business Arkansas says it shows that gun rights issues remain a divisive topic.  

Governor Mike Beebe met with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in Washington DC this Friday to discuss how low-income Arkansans can purchase insurance without going on expanded Medicaid. 

Arkansas is one of six states to be awarded a $42 million dollar grant for a new health care initiative. Beebe says the plan will address preventative care, as well as existing chronic conditions. 

Lieutenant Governor's office

With Gov. Mike Beebe out of state attending a National Governors Association meeting in Washington, Lt. Gov. Mark Darr Friday signed into law a bill that makes private a list of people who can carry concealed weapons in Arkansas.

Gov. Beebe had said he would not sign the bill, but also would not veto it, which would allow it to become law five days after reaching his desk.

But in his role as Acting Governor, Darr signed it into law, saying in a written statement that he felt there should be no delay.

Governor Mike Beebe is neither vetoing, nor signing a law to make a list of concealed handgun permit holders a secret.

Instead, he’ll let the law take effect without his signature.

Matt DeCample, the Governor’s spokesman said Thursday that the Governor is against the law, because he says there hasn’t been any instances of permit holders being victimized due to their information being out there.

Candis Collins
Malcolm Glover

The inability of Congress to reach an agreement on ending the sequester means some programs in Arkansas could suffer if mandatory spending cuts in defense and domestic programs go into effect March 1.

At an event in Little Rock Wednesday, various interest groups rallied together and encouraged lawmakers to act before it’s too late.

Chilly temperatures and freezing rain weren’t going to stop Candis Collins from voicing her concerns about looming federal cuts. She and others gathered outside Martin Luther King Magnet Elementary School in Little Rock.

Flickr.com

While central Arkansas has seen some sleet and snowflakes today, there has been no accumulation because temperatures have remained above freezing.

But with another round of precipitation expected, the National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for counties in north and central Arkansas for late Wednesday through Thursday afternoon.

Senior Forecaster John Lewis says little to no accumulation is expected in the Little Rock area.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

A bill that would require voters in Arkansas to show a valid picture ID when casting a ballot is moving to a House committee after the Senate passed it this Wednesday.

Senator Bryan King, a Republican from Green Forest, sponsored the bill. He says it will make voters more confident in the voting process.

“We know that photo ID is an everyday part of life, that you have to use a photo ID to get on a plane, you have to use a photo ID to get a library card, it’s just an everyday part of life,” King said.

Economic Development Project Moves Forward

Feb 20, 2013

Arkansas Business has a report on the latest on Big River Steel Mill project.

The Arkansas House of Representatives is set to vote on two controversial abortion bans, possibly later this week, after a committee approved the legislation Tuesday.

  The Arkansas House of Representatives is set to vote on two controversial abortion bans, possibly later this week, after a committee approved the legislation Tuesday.

One bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks, and the other would ban them after 12. Both bills have been amended to include exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the mother, but some say both bills go too far, infringing on women’s rights to control their reproductive health.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

  Arkansas now has a beefed-up statute designed to deal with human trafficking offenses after the Governor signed the Human Trafficking Act of 2013 into law Tuesday.

The bill will exempt victims of human trafficking from being prosecuted for prostitution and it stiffens penalties for human traffickers.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Republican Representative Missy Irvin of Mountain View, says the bill will help the fight against human trafficking in Arkansas.

U.S. Marshals
Flickr.com

Organizers of a planned U.S. Marshals Museum in western Arkansas are getting a big boost with a big donation.

The project in Fort Smith will cost $50 million, which covers the building, exhibits, endowments, and the first year’s operation cost.

Jessica Hayes, the museum Vice President, says its goal is to honor the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency in the country.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

A bill to allow public university faculty and staff who have concealed handgun permits to bring their guns on campus passed a vote in the House of Representatives Friday morning.

New Arkansas Program Tries To Improve Emotional Health

Feb 15, 2013

While some Arkansans are taking the necessary precautions to protect their physical health through diet and exercise, many people still aren’t managing their emotional wellbeing.

Wally Goddard is a professor of Family Life for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. After reviewing research, Goddard started a new curriculum that helps people build better relationships and it’s being distributed statewide through the Cooperative Extension Service.

Former Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter disagrees with the House and Rules Committee’s bill to decrease the amount of lottery funded scholarships awarded to college students across Arkansas.

He says over 100,000 students have already benefited from the $4,500 awarded to them each year, with freshman enrollment of Arkansas students increasing significantly since instating the scholarship program. 

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

  Arkansas voters are currently asked to show ID when voting, a new bill approved in Senate committee Thursday would require voters to show a government issued ID when casting a ballot.

The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee passed the bill on a voice vote.

Its sponsor, Republican Representative Bryan King of Green Forest insists there is voter fraud happening in Arkansas and says the need for the bill is a simple one.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

  The Little Rock Tech Park Authority Board is still looking at three potential tech park sites as relatively equal rivals following their meeting Wednesday afternoon.

The Tech Park Authority Board’s meeting yielded no clear favorites from three sites in its afternoon meeting.  Board Chair Mary Good attributed part of the indecision to an engineer’s report that didn’t find any site particularly stronger than the others.

Rogers Photo Archive

With this year marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 120 rare photos of the president will be on display next month in central Arkansas.

"The JFK 50 Years Later" exhibit will highlight rare and never before seen photos of John F. Kennedy and his family," said John Gaudin, chairman of the Board of Directors for the Argenta Arts Foundation.

The exhibit will be held at various arts locations and will be free to the public.

U.S. Representative Bruce Westerman during his time in the Arkansas Legislature.
Maggie Carroll / KUAR News

The House Revenue and Tax Committee on Tuesday advanced legislation that would cap state spending.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

  A House Committee is advancing a bill that would let state colleges and universities decide whether to let permitted faculty and staff carry concealed handguns on campus.

The House Education Committee passed Representative Charley Collins’ bill Tuesday on a voice vote. Collins, a Republican from Fayetteville, says his bill is a preventative solution.

20,000 tons of debris remains scattered across Little Rock, left behind by the Christmas Day storm. The Little Rock Board of Directors is choosing one of 18 contractor bids tonight, in order to get the fragments cleaned up.

Assistant Public Works Director, Ronny Loe says FEMA will reimburse the city for the money spent to hire and compensate a contractor.

"The original FEMA estimate was around 22,000 tons, and as of the beginning of this week we have picked up around 6,000" says Loe.

Arkansas State Legislature

Lawmakers may soon have a new tool aimed at rooting out fraud and corruption in state government.

A House committee today advanced legislation that would pay a reward to any state employee who reports waste or inefficiency. That employee would stand to receive 10 percent of any savings the state gains from their report.

  Republican Representative Nate Bell of Mena says he sees his bill is a safeguard.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

As lawmakers look for ways to fill a $61 million shortfall in the Medicaid budget and weigh the possibility of expanding the program, an audit released Friday afternoon shows the program has paid $1.36 million to individuals ineligible to receive Medicaid since 2009.

House Republican Majority Leader Bruce Westerman says the audit’s results show a broken system.

File photo. State. Senator Jason Rapert (R-Bigelow) with former State Representative Anne Clemmer testifying to a committee in 2013.
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

After tabling the issue, a House committee is advancing a bill that would ban most abortions in Arkansas after 12 weeks.

Senator Jason Rapert’s bill seeks to prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat has been detected.

It passed the Senate but was tabled in a House committee until a lunchtime hearing Thursday, when it was brought back up with two amendments.

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