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Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' governor has released a plan to expand access to high-speed broadband communities with more than 500 residents by 2022.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday detailed the Arkansas State Broadband Plan , which is aimed at expanding access to high-speed internet to rural communities around the state. The plan includes calling for a state broadband office, which would be tasked with helping citizens, companies and municipalities use federal programs.

Pine Bluff tornado
Bill Wingand / KATV-TV

Forecasters have confirmed a small tornado touched down in central Arkansas, damaging two apartment complexes and injuring four people.

The National Weather Service said a twister with winds between 86 and 110 mph lasted for less than a minute Wednesday evening when it hit Pine Bluff.

Meteorologist Thomas Jones says the tornado was about 100 yards wide and traveled for only about a quarter of a mile, but still managed to damage the brick facing and roof of the apartments. Jones says at least two walls caved in.

Danny Lee at an arraignment hearing on Oct. 31, 1997 for the murders of members of a Russellville family. A federal judge Tuesday denied a request for a new trial.
The Russellville Courier

A federal judge in Little Rock has again denied an Oklahoma man's request for a new trial following his 1999 federal murder conviction and death sentence in Arkansas.

The request by Danny Lee to overturn his conviction in the deaths of gun dealer William Mueller, his wife and her 8-year-old daughter, and stealing guns and cash in a plot to establish a whites-only nation in the Pacific Northwest was rejected Tuesday.

Little Rock Police Officer Charles Starks shooting 30-year-old Bradley Blackshire on Feb. 22 near West 12th Street and South Rodney Parham Road.
Little Rock Police Department

Police in Little Rock, Arkansas, have fired a white officer who killed a black motorist by shooting at least 15 times through the windshield as the car was moving.

Police spokesman Michael Ford says Officer Charles Starks was terminated Monday. Prosecutors on April 19 declined to file charges in the death of 30-year-old Bradley Blackshire.

Police say Starks was responding to a call after a detective confirmed that the car Blackshire was driving was stolen. Video released of the Feb. 22 shooting showed Starks on the hood of the slowly moving car firing into the windshield.

Pulaski County Clerk Terri Hollingsworth
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

County officials across Arkansas have sent out notices to remind state residents who did not vote in the past election to update their ballot information.

The decision complies with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which permits people to register to vote while acquiring driver's licenses.

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission
Facebook

Medical marijuana sales in Arkansas are set to begin around May 12 as cultivators plan to begin harvesting the plant in the coming days and regulators finish the approval process for state's first dispensaries.

Department of Finance and Administration Spokesman Scott Hardin said Friday the final decision for licensing Doctor's Orders RX in Hot Springs, which would be the state's first operational dispensary, will be made within the next two weeks.

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.

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