Associated Press

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Arkansas Works Governor Asa Hutchinson Work Requirement
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Trump administration is appealing recent rulings by a federal judge that blocked work requirements for some low-income people on Medicaid.

The rulings last month by Judge James Boasberg in Washington, D.C., blocked work requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky. The Arkansas requirements were already in effect, while in Kentucky they are a top priority for Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

The Justice Department filed notice on Wednesday appealing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Bills outlining Arkansas' proposed $5.7 billion budget for the coming year are heading toward their first votes in the state Legislature.

The Joint Budget Committee on Monday approved the proposed Revenue Stabilization Act, which calls for increasing state spending by $124 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1. The House and Senate are expected to vote on identical versions of the legislation on Tuesday. Lawmakers hope to wrap up this year's legislative session by Wednesday.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers have sent the governor a measure imposing a new requirement on doctors who perform abortions over the objections of medical groups that call the move unnecessary.

The House on Thursday voted 70-15 in favor of the proposal, which would require doctors who perform abortions to be board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology. The measure now heads to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's desk.

Medical groups have called the requirement unnecessary. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says it opposes such restrictions.

Johnny Cash Daisy Bates
Library of Congress/ National Park Service

Arkansas is moving closer toward replacing its statutes at the U.S. Capitol with ones depicting civil rights leader Daisy Bates and singer Johnny Cash.

The House approved Tuesday by 71-12 vote legislation to replace the state's statues at the Capitol depicting Uriah Rose and James P. Clarke. Rose was a 19th century attorney and Clarke was a governor and U.S. senator in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The bill now heads to Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who plans to sign it into law.

Arkansas House
ArkansasHouse.org

The Arkansas House has approved a proposal banning abortion 18 weeks into a woman's pregnancy, moving the state toward enacting what could be the strictest prohibition in the country.

The House on Monday approved the ban by a 77-13 vote. The measure now heads to the state Senate.

Terry Rice
www.arkleg.state.ar.us

The Arkansas Senate has approved a plan to raise fuel taxes and tap into expected casino revenue to increase funding for the state's highways.

The Senate voted 27-8 Thursday for a key part of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's $300 million highway funding plan. It now heads to the House.

Terry Rice
Arkansas Legislature

An Arkansas Senate panel has endorsed a proposal to raise gas taxes and tap into expected casino revenue to increase funding for the state's highways.

The Senate Revenue and Tax Committee on Wednesday approved the first part of a $300 million highway funding plan that Gov. Asa Hutchinson and legislative leaders unveiled last week. The measure is expected to go before the full Senate for a vote on Thursday.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen taking part in an anti-death penalty demonstration in front of the Arkansas Governor's Mansion in April 2017.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Supreme Court is leaving in place a decision dismissing a lawsuit filed by a judge in Arkansas who was barred from overseeing execution-related cases after he participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration.

The justices said Tuesday that they wouldn't get involved in the lawsuit filed by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Governor's Office / You Tube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson's $97 million plan to cut the state's top income tax rate has passed the Senate, a day after it fell short of the votes needed.

The Senate on Wednesday voted 28-5 in favor of the proposal to cut the top income tax rate from 6.9 percent to 5.9 percent over the next two years. The measure needed at least 27 votes in the 35-member Senate to advance to the House.

The proposal fell short by two votes on Tuesday. It won the support Wednesday of two Democrats and a Republican who didn't vote a day earlier on the measure.

LGBTQ Flag
wikipedia.org

Arkansas' highest court says a city can't enforce an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, saying it's already ruled the measure violates a state law aimed at preventing local protections for LGBT people.

The state Supreme Court on Thursday reversed a Washington County judge's decision to allow Fayetteville to continue enforcing its anti-discrimination ordinance while the city challenged the constitutionality of a 2015 law preventing cities and counties from enacting protections not covered by state law.

Interstate highway big rock interchange interstates 630 430
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An Arkansas lawmaker has proposed tapping into tax revenue from car sales and imposing a new tax on motor fuels to raise money for the state's highways, combining two approaches that have faced significant opposition in the predominantly Republican Legislature.

Republican Rep. Dan Douglas filed a bill Monday that he said he hoped would start the conversation on highway funding, which legislative leaders and Gov. Asa Hutchinson have called a priority for this year's session.

Southland Gaming and Racing
Wikipedia

A greyhound track in east Arkansas is spending $250 million to build a new casino complex and high-rise hotel.

Delaware North, the parent company of Southland Gaming and Racing in West Memphis, said Thursday it plans to begin construction this summer on its new 113,000 square-foot casino complex and 20-story hotel tower. The expansion is expected to add as many as 60 live table games and expand its gambling machines from 2,000 to 2,400.

Gilbert Baker
Arkansas Legislature

A former Arkansas lawmaker has pleaded not guilty to charges he conspired to bribe an ex-judge who admitted to lowering a jury's award in a negligence lawsuit in exchange for campaign contributions.

A federal judge on Thursday set a Feb. 25 trial date for former Sen. Gilbert Baker, who is charged with conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud in the alleged scheme. Baker was ordered to enter an inpatient substance abuse treatment program and surrender his passport.

Alan Leveritt
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A federal judge has let stand an Arkansas law requiring contractors to pledge not to boycott Israel, ruling that such a boycott is not protected by the First Amendment.

U.S. District Judge Brian Miller on Wednesday dismissed the lawsuit the Arkansas Times had filed challenging the 2017 law. The newspaper had asked the judge to block the law, which requires contractors to reduce their fees by 20 percent if they don't sign the pledge.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A bill heading to the Arkansas Senate would ban sex offenders from participating in Halloween activities with children, including wearing costumes or handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday endorsed a proposal prohibiting Level 3 and 4 sex offenders from distributing candy or other items to minors as part of a Halloween-related event.

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