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The Week That Was, July 7-13, 2010 

It was a good week for ...

PULASKI COUNTY TEACHERS. For the second time, Circuit Judge Tim Fox nullified a vote by the Pulaski County School Board to withdraw recognition of the Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers. The board first voted to stop negotiating with the teachers union in December. Fox ruled in April that the board had exceeded its authority. The board tinkered with its policies, trying to comply with Fox's ruling, then voted again to sever relations with the union. Fox ruled Monday that the board had again exceeded its statutory authority. He ordered the board and the union into mediation over a new contract for teachers, and told them to report back in three weeks.

ARKANSAS STUDENTS. More than 90 percent of them earned passing scores on the state Algebra I test and therefore won't have to retake it or put their high school graduation in jeopardy.

ARKANSAS MOTORISTS. The State Police revealed that the number of fatal accidents on Arkansas roadways in the first six months of 2010 was down 22 percent from the same period in 2009.

COMPROMISE. Little Rock police and firefighter unions voted to accept a city offer of an extra week of vacation and a one-year contract extension in exchange for deferring a 4 percent pay raise city officials said they didn't have the funds to give. The agreement postpones, at least, any legal action against the city by the unions.

IT WAS A BAD WEEK FOR ...

ATTORNEY GENERAL DUSTIN MCDANIEL. First he stumbled confusedly through a controversy over whether he should have paid taxes on his use of a state vehicle, at one point lashing out at Lt. Gov. Bill Halter because Halter did pay taxes on use of a state car. McDaniel and Halter are considered likely political opponents in the future. McDaniel later realized his mistake and apologized all around. But then he joined in a demagogic appeal of a federal judge's quite proper ruling that invalidated a law requiring the president to declare a "National Day of Prayer" every year.

The UNEMPLOYED. A worse week than usual, that is. About 2,600 Arkansans stopped receiving federal unemployment benefits after Congress recessed without approving legislation to continue the benefits. Republicans filibustered bills that would have kept the benefits coming.

The ANTI-ALIEN MOVEMENT. A group called Secure Arkansas failed to submit the required number of signatures to place on the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at denying certain public benefits to illegal aliens.

HELENA-WEST HELENA CITY GOVERNMENT. Members of the city council, complaining that Mayor James Valley was bad-mouthing them on the radio, asked the attorney general if they could stop Valley from using recordings of council meetings without their permission.

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