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Rep. Lanny Fite, seen here in May 2009 when he was Saline County Judge, has become the latest state legislator to test positive for the coronavirus.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Another Arkansas lawmaker has tested positive for the coronavirus. That's the third member of the Legislature to be infected since lawmakers convened this year's session last week.

Rep. Lanny Fite said Wednesday that he tested positive but has not had any symptoms. Fite said he is isolating at home and had already been quarantining since Rep. Milton Nicks tested positive last week. Fite sits next to Nicks in the House chamber.

At least 24 Arkansas lawmakers have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An effort to enact a hate crimes law in Arkansas is in jeopardy, despite a push by the state's popular Republican governor and major corporations.

The leader of the state Senate has predicted the measure proposed for the session that begins Monday won't pass, and conservatives are working hard in the majority-GOP Legislature to defeat the bill.

The obstacles threaten what supporters calls Arkansas' best chance in years to end its distinction as one of a handful of states without a hate crimes law.

A federal appeals court has kept on hold two Arkansas abortion restrictions. One bans abortions 18 weeks into a woman's pregnancy. The other bans the procedure from being performed because the fetus has Down syndrome.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a judge's 2019 ruling temporarily blocking Arkansas from enforcing the laws.

A judge in 2019 said the two measures unconstitutionally restrict abortion before the point of viability.

UAMS Medical Assistant Latondra Ford prepares to stick a swab into the nose of a man going through the hospital's drive-thru triage location on July 23.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas has hit a grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic: a record high of more than 4,300 new COVID-19 cases counted in a single day.

The state had 2,785 new, confirmed cases of the virus Friday and another 1,519 probable cases, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. Arkansas also recorded 1,185 people hospitalized with the disease and another 35 fatalities from it.

The actual number of cases is believed to be far higher because many people haven’t been tested and some who get sick don’t show symptoms.

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Coronavirus hospitalizations in Arkansas rose on Sunday to near their recent record high, as state health officials reported more than 900 new cases of COVID-19 and 41 more deaths linked to the disease.

The Arkansas Department of Health says there are 1,093 state residents hospitalized with COVID-19, 34 more than on Saturday. Those on a ventilator also increased by 13, for a total of 186.

Of the total 214,877 cases, with 908 of those cases announced Sunday, 21,454 are considered active, which is a decrease of 835 compared to Saturday’s numbers.

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

A White House panel says Arkansas remains in the “red zone" for new coronavirus cases and 88% of the state's counties have moderate or high community transmission of the virus.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force issued its latest findings in a report released Wednesday by the state.

The panel said Arkansas last week ranked 24th in the country for new cases per capita and 30th for test positivity. The report also said the COVID-19 risk to all Americans is at a historic high.

Arkansas' COVID-19 hospitalizations have been reaching new record highs.

UAMS Clinical Services Manager Deborah Hutts speaks to staffer at a morning huddle before they begin conducting coronavirus tests.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas health officials report more than 1,200 new cases of COVID-19 and 21 more deaths linked to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Authorities reported 1,030 Arkansas residents were hospitalized with COVID-19 Sunday, 20 more than on Saturday. The Arkansas Department of Health says the state added 1,221 confirmed and probable cases Sunday. 

"I think about the loss to so many families and the stress on our health care workers," Gov. Asa Huthinson said on Twitter. "We have a lot of work to do between now and Christmas."

Paul Petersen, seen here while still assessor for Maricopa County in Arizona, has acknowledged running an illegal adoption scheme involving women from the Marshall Islands.
Facebook

Prosecutors in Arkansas will seek a 10-year prison sentence next week for a former Arizona politician who acknowledged running an illegal adoption scheme in three states involving women from the Marshall Islands.

Prosecutors said former Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen defrauded state courts, violated an international adoption compact and took advantage of birth mothers.

Petersen is a Republican who also worked as an adoption attorney.

He faces sentencings in January for convictions in Arizona and Utah.

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Arkansas health officials reported 867 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday and 33 more deaths from the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The Arkansas Department of Health reported 757 confirmed cases and 110 probably cases. That raised the state’s totals to 113,057 probable and confirmed case and 1,791 deaths since the outbreak struck at the start of March.

An Arkansas state senator has tested positive for the coronavirus, marking the 7th virus case among lawmakers in the past week. Sen. Cecile Bledsoe tested positive Sunday for the virus. That's according to Senate President Jim Hendren. Bledsoe is the late
Arkansas Senate

An Arkansas state senator has tested positive for the coronavirus, marking the 7th virus case among lawmakers in the past week.

Sen. Cecile Bledsoe tested positive Sunday for the virus. That's according to Senate President Jim Hendren.

Bledsoe is the latest lawmaker to test positive in an outbreak that prompted a halt to budget hearings last week. Bledsoe co-chairs the Joint Budget Committee and the Legislative Council.

She's the mother of state Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen
Arkansas Times

An Arkansas judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a group of Republican legislators seeking to invalidate a mask mandate and other restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen on Wednesday ruled that the directives issued by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson's administration are within the governor's authority under state law and legislative rules.

The crime scene at an EconoLodge in Pine Bluff where a detective was killed Monday afternoon.
KATV-Channel 7

Authorities say a police officer has been fatally shot and anopther was injured in an exchange of gunfire at an Arkansas hotel.

Pine Bluff Chief Kelvin Sergeant says Officer Kevin Collins was killed in the shooting Monday afternoon at the EconoLodge in Pine Bluff, about 40 miles southeast of Little Rock. Lt. Ralph Isaac was also injured in the shooting and is in stable condition.

Police say the shooting involved three officers and one suspect. Authorities have provided no details about the suspect or investigation, including whether any arrests have been made.

Lines of cars go through a triage center Monday at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock for people to be tested for the coronavirus. A spokeswoman says the average wait time has been three to four hours, with about 500 people tes
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas health officials reported another 488 cases of COVID-19 Sunday while the number of deaths due to the illness caused by the coronavirus rose by 18.

There are now 1,425 reported deaths, 1,278 confirmed and 147 probable, due to COVID-19, according to the Arkansas Department of Health, up from 1,407 Saturday.

The department reported 83,306 confirmed cases of the virus and another 3,707 probable cases Sunday, compared to 82,851 confirmed and 3,674 probable cases a day earlier. There are 1,424 active, according to health officials.

Little Rock Police Chief Keith Humphrey becoming emotional during a lengthy news conference Wednesday announcing his federal lawsuit.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Little Rock's police chief is suing the local police union, two assistant chiefs and several officers, accusing them of a conspiracy aimed at forcing him out of his job.

The federal lawsuit filed Wednesday by Chief Keith Humphrey is the latest round in an escalating public fight within the department centered on his response to the fatal shooting of a Black motorist by a white police officer last year.

Humphrey is accusing the union of orchestrating a campaign against him that included lawsuits claiming retaliation against assistant chiefs.

Atkins School Superintendent Jody Jenkins died Tuesday morning from COVID-19, the district announced.
Atkins School District

An Arkansas school superintendent died Tuesday from the illness caused by the coronavirus, as a White House task force said the state continued to have one of the highest rates of new virus cases in the country.

The Atkins School District announced that Superintendent Jody Jenkins died due to complications from COVID-19. Jenkins, 57, announced on Sept. 13 that he had tested positive for the virus and had been hospitalized for the past several days.

Little rock school district
KATV-Channel 7

The Little Rock teachers union says its members won't show up for in-person classes due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus in schools.

The Little Rock Education Association said Sunday its members are willing to teach classes virtually, but accused district administrators of not doing enough to prevent the virus's spread.

The superintendent of the state-controlled district said it was taking additional steps to ensure schools stay open for in-person instruction.

Lines of cars go through a triage center Monday at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock for people to be tested for the coronavirus. A spokeswoman says the average wait time has been three to four hours, with about 500 people tes
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Department of Health is reporting the number of coronavirus cases increased by 549 in the state while the number of deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the disease, stayed the same.

On Sunday, the health department reported there were 73,690 confirmed cases of the virus, up from 73,141 cases reported on Saturday.

The number of deaths remained at 1,181, the figure reported on Saturday. The number of deaths includes both confirmed and probable cases.

UAMS covid-19 coronavirus
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas has reported 399 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 10 more deaths from the illness caused by the virus.

The Department of Health said at least 69,449 people have tests positive for the virus since the pandemic began. The department also said an additional 21 people tested positive through antigen testing since Sunday, bringing the total number of those cases to 1,178.

The deaths reported Monday brings the state's COVID-19 fatalities to 986. Five more people were hospitalized, bringing the total to 378.

Arkansas health officials say the state has 572 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and nine additional deaths due the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The Arkansas Department of Health on Sunday said there are 49,383 confirmed cases in the state. The death toll stands at 544.

The department says 41,452 people have recovered from the virus and there were 7,387 active cases Sunday.

The true number of coronavirus cases in Arkansas is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

Jason Rapert Ten 10 Commandments
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An Arkansas state senator is in the hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Sen. Jason Rapert on Thursday said in a statement provided by the Senate that he was hospitalized after being diagnosed with pneumonia and testing positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The statement said Rapert was responding well to treatment.

Rapert is a 48-year-old Republican who has served in the Senate since 2011. Last year he announced he was seeking the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor in 2022.

Former U.S. Senator David Pryor (center) at a KUAR-hosted discussion on Oct. 4, 2017 at the main branch of the Central Arkansas Library System.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The family of David Pryor, a former Arkansas governor and U.S. senator, says he's hospitalized in Little Rock after testing positive for COVID-19.

The family's statement said David Pryor and his wife Barbara Pryor both received positive test results Friday. Barbara Pryor, who didn’t have symptoms, is quarantining at home but David Pryor, who is 85 and a stroke and heart attack survivor, was admitted Saturday to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Daniel Lewis Lee, seen here at an arraignment hearing on Oct. 31, 1997, was convicted in the deaths of an Arkansas family as part of a plot to set up a whites-only nation in the Pacific Northwest.
Russellville Courier

A U.S. district judge on Monday ordered a new delay in federal executions, hours before the first lethal injection was scheduled to be carried out at a federal prison in Indiana. The Trump administration immediately appealed to a higher court, asking that the executions move forward.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said there are still legal issues to resolve and that "the public is not served by short-circuiting legitimate judicial process." The executions, pushed by the Trump administration, would be the first carried out at the federal level since 2003.

NBC's Andrea Mitchell questions Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson about the coronavirus pandemic Sunday on "Meet the Press."
NBC News

If President Donald Trump decides to hold a campaign rally in Arkansas, the state will insist that all participants are socially distanced and wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Sunday.

Hutchison’s comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press” follow Trump rallies in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and at an Arizona megachurch, as well as an Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore, where most of the thousands of participants flouted public safety guidelines on maintaining a safe distance and wearing masks.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Officials say a state program that was created to process unemployment applications in Arkansas for self-employed individuals or gig economy workers appears to have been illegally accessed and has been shut down.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Saturday an applicant for the program is believed to have somehow accessed the system, prompting an investigation of a possible data breach. The probe will determine if any personal data from applicants was obtained.

Varner Arkansas Department of Correction Cummins Prison
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Department of Corrections says two more state prison inmates who were being treated for the coronavirus have died.

Department spokesman Solomon Graves says the cause of their deaths will be determined by medical officials, but that both inmates who died Sunday at the Cummins unit were being treated for COVID-19.

State health officials earlier confirmed the deaths of two other inmates at Cummins, where at least 860 prisoners have tested positive.

Union Pacific
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A company representative says Union Pacific Corp. is furloughing most of the staff at its facility in North Little Rock that repairs the railroad’s locomotives after seeing a substantial drop in business volume because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kristen South is the Nebraska-based railroad's senior director for corporate communications and media relations. She declined to specify how many people were laid off but said employees on Thursday started receiving notifications regarding the Jenks Locomotive Facility’s temporary closure.

A group representing the only surgical abortion clinic in Arkansas says the state's move to resume elective surgeries could still effectively ban the procedure because of a lack of widespread coronavirus testing.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas on Friday did not say whether Little Rock Family Planning Services would be able to resume surgical abortions when the state eases its restrictions on elective procedures next week.

A group of medical professionals is asking death penalty states, including Arkansas, for medications used both for lethal injections and to help coronavirus patients who are on ventilators.

But a doctor who's behind the request and a death penalty expert say secrecy surrounding executions could hinder their efforts.

A federal judge has blocked Arkansas' order preventing the state's only surgical abortion clinic from performing the procedure during the coronavirus pandemic.

The judge's decision on Tuesday came as health officials said the number of coronavirus cases in the state has risen to nearly 1,500 people.

The number of deaths in Arkansas increased by two to 32.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said the decision on when to lift Arkansas' restrictions remains with the state, despite President Donald Trump asserting he has “total” authority.

Varner Arkansas Department of Correction Cummins Prison
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The first state prisoner in Arkansas has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

Arkansas Department of Corrections spokeswoman Dina Tyler says the man tested positive for COVID-19 at a hospital Saturday. He was being held at the Cummins Unit in Grady, about 75 miles southeast of Little Rock.

Other prisoners and staff who were exposed to the man have been tested for the virus, and access to his housing unit has been restricted. Tyler says that as of Friday 13 corrections employees were quarantined after testing positive.

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