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State Sen. Jason Rapert (file photo).
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An Arkansas lawmaker has filed legislation that would ban abortion in the state if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its landmark 1973 decision that legalized the procedure across the nation.

Republican Sen. Jason Rapert's bill filed Tuesday would trigger the ban if the Roe v. Wade decision is overturned or the U.S. Constitution is amended to allow states to prohibit abortions. The Guttmacher Institute says four other states have similar trigger laws in effect.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says it could cost millions more than first estimated to extinguish an underground fire at a landfill containing wood waste.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that cleanup at the Bella Vista stump dump could cost $21 million to $37 million. The project was initially estimated to cost up to $10 million.

Hutchinson says he's asked the state Department of Environmental Quality and engineering firm EnSafe to find a more cost effective solution.

Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-Hindsville) in 2015.
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR News

Two Republican lawmakers in Arkansas are proposing exempting school employees, people under 18 and others from voter-backed increases in the state's minimum wage.

The bill filed by Sen. Bob Ballinger and Rep. Frances Cavenaugh on Wednesday comes two months after Arkansas voters approved an initiative to gradually raise the state's minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2021. The state's minimum wage rose from $8.50 an hour to $9.25 an hour on Jan. 1.

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

Arkansas officials say the number of people who have lost Medicaid coverage for not complying with a work requirement has risen to more than 18,000.

The Department of Human Services on Tuesday said more than 1,200 people were kicked off the state's Medicaid expansion for not complying with the requirement for three months. The rule requires beneficiaries to work 80 hours a month. Beneficiaries lose coverage if they don't meet the requirement for three months in a calendar year. The months reset at the end of the year.

arkleg.state.ar.us

A former Arkansas lawmaker has been charged with conspiracy in an alleged bribery scheme with an ex-judge who admitted to lowering a jury's judgment in a negligence lawsuit in exchange for campaign contributions.

A federal indictment unsealed Friday shows that former state Sen. Gilbert Baker was also charged with bribery and wire fraud in connection to the scheme involving former Judge Michael Maggio.

marijuana
npr.org

Officials say thousands of Arkansas residents with valid medical marijuana licenses can receive a temporary medical marijuana adult license in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has issued more than 33,000 patient licenses since voters overwhelmingly authorized medical cannabis in June. And KFSM reports residents of Arkansas and other states with state-issued medical marijuana licenses can apply for a temporary license in Oklahoma.

The temporary license lasts for 30 days. It can be renewed but can't exceed the expiration date on the out-of-state license.

Federal Government Shutdown Central High National Park Service
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Two major tourist attractions in Little Rock are at least partly closed becuase of the partial shutdown of the federal government.

The Clinton Presidential Center said Saturday that temporary and permanent exhibits at the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum will be closed. A statement on the library and museum's website says National Archives facilities are closed due to the shutdown and websites are not being monitored or updated.

The center is located in Little Rock and is a top tourist attraction for Arkansas' capital city.

Ten Commandments Jason Rapert
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A federal judge is allowing the Satanic Temple to join a lawsuit challenging a Ten Commandments monument installed near Arkansas' state Capitol.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Monday granted the Satanic Temple's request to intervene in the lawsuit seeking to remove the privately funded monument. A 2015 law required the state to allow its construction.

Opponents argue the government has unconstitutionally endorsement religion.

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission
Facebook

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission says it will wait until early next year to award licenses to the state's first dispensaries for the drug, which voters legalized for medicinal purposes more than two years ago.

The panel had planned to meet later this week to announce the dispensary scores, but the panel on Tuesday pushed back the meeting until Jan. 9 to allow newly appointed commissioners time to be briefed on the issues.

 Justice Courtney Goodson Judicial Crisis Network.
Arkansas Times / You Tube

An Arkansas court is dismissing a television station's appeal of an order that prohibited it from airing a conservative group's attack ad against a state Supreme Court justice during her re-election bid.

The Court of Appeals on Wednesday dismissed the appeal by Tegna, Inc., which challenged the ruling preventing several television stations from airing the Judicial Crisis Network's ad targeting Justice Courtney Goodson last spring. Goodson won re-election in November.

Alan Leveritt
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

An Arkansas newspaper is asking a federal judge to strike down a state law that requires government contractors to pledge to not boycott Israel or reduce their fees by 20 percent.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas challenged the law on Tuesday on behalf of the Arkansas Times LP, which says the University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College refused to contract for advertising with the newspaper unless the Arkansas Times signed the pledge. The lawsuit argues the requirement violates the U.S. Constitution.

Dicamba damage
University of Arkansas

An Arkansas panel has given initial approval to allowing restricted use of an herbicide that was banned following complaints that it drifted onto crops and caused damage.

The Arkansas Plant Board on Thursday approved new restrictions for the use of dicamba. The new restrictions prohibit dicamba's in-crop use from May 21 to Oct. 31. The rule includes a one-mile buffer zone around research stations, organic crops, specialty crops, non-tolerant dicamba crops and other sensitive crops for applications from April 16 to May 20.

A Tennessee rapper has been sentenced in Arkansas to five years in prison on a federal weapons charge that came after he was arrested with a gun a week before a shooting at an unrelated event at a Little Rock nightclub where he was performing.

Ricky Hampton, who performs under the name Finese2Tymes, was sentenced Thursday in Little Rock.

Hampton, who has a prior felony conviction, initially pleaded guilty in March to possessing a gun at a Forrest City nightclub in eastern Arkansas. He sought to withdraw his guilty plea in October, but withdrew the request two weeks later.

The Delta Queen
www.save-the-delta-queen.org

After a decade in dock, the historic 1920s-era Delta Queen riverboat will cruise again.

President Donald Trump signed legislation on Tuesday authorizing the 285-foot-long (87-meter-long) riverboat immortalized in poems and songs to cruise again along the Mississippi and several other rivers.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

A banking executive and former highway commissioner has become the first African-American elected to lead Arkansas' capital, six decades after it was the center of a school desegregation crisis.

Frank Scott defeated Baker Kurrus in Tuesday's runoff for Little Rock mayor. The 35-year-old Scott is a former adviser to former Gov. Mike Beebe and served on the state's Highway Commission.

The 64-year-old Kurrus, who is white, is an attorney and businessman.

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