Benji Hardy will be back later with a full report, but he reports that the board that oversees state and school employee health insurance plans has approved a subcommittee's proposal for rates released yesterday, except the deductibles on the lower-cost plans have been lowered slightly.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has named Benton County Assessor Bear Chaney as director of the Arkansas Assessment Coordination Department. It's the agency that makes sure property assessment procedures for purposes of assessing the property tax meet statutory and constitutional muster.
A fight could be brewing over regulation of puppy mills, with legislation planned to better protect dogs and opposition already underway from a state representative who makes a living working with commercial dog breeders.
SB 202, which will take effect Tuesday unless Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoes it, isn't the only legislation pending that aims at protecting discrimination against gay people. A companion bill, HB 1228, by Rep. Bob Ballinger, has similar intent to protect "conscience" as a pretext for legal discrimination against gay people in matters unrelated to religious practice.
The Presbytery of Arkansas, the governing body for Presbyterian churches in the northern two-thirds of Arkansas, met Saturday at Clarksville and adopted a resolution urging Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto SB 202, which is aimed at preventing local government from passing anti-discrimination laws to protect gay people. The Presbytery also expressed its opposition to a pending House bill that, in the name of "conscience," would protect those who discriminate against gay people.
It is hard for a straight person, The Observer included, to imagine what it would be like to be born gay — to be shipwrecked here on this space-going clod, where nearly every textbook, novel, film and television show, nearly every blaring screen or billboard or magazine ad, reinforces the idea that "normal" means "heterosexual."
The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus has issued a news release pointing to the recent double murder/suicide ascribed to UALR faculty member James Wibanks as an illustration of the potential for problems in legislation to allow staff members to carry guns on campus.
The chambers of commerce apparently have their vehicle to restore tax subsidies put in jeopardy by Circuit Judge Mackie Pierce's ruling that the Arkansas Constitution forbids local tax money contributions to private corporations such as chambers of commerce.