Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 15:27:00

Not-guilty pleas entered in college kickback case

Three men implicated in a kickback scheme involving state tax money directed to Ecclesia College in Springdale pleaded not guilty today in federal court in Fayetteville.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 15:05:00

Death Row inmates file a second federal lawsuit to stop executions

For the second time this week, men on Death Row in Arkansas have sued in federal court to halt the eight executions set in April.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 14:53:00

Senate beats FOI-weakening bill

The Senate today defeated, on a vote of 11-14, SB 373 by Sen. Bart Hester to exempt communications between an attorney and a public client from the Freedom of Information Act. The vote was expunged so it could come up again.

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STAFF BLOGS: ARKANSAS BLOG

Today's headlines: State budget problems

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 14:34:00

Tuesday: A video headline roundup and an early open line

The Tuesday open line and daily news roundup.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 13:29:00

Judge Griffen dismisses execution challenge; says hands tied by 'shameful' Ark. Supreme Court ruling

Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled today that he had no choice based on  a past Arkansas Supreme Court decision  but to dismiss a lawsuit by Death Row inmates seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection process.But the judge did so unhappily with sharp criticism of the Arkansas Supreme Court for failing to address critical points raised in the lawsuit.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 12:50:00

Attack on free speech clears House committee

A bill that would criminalize protest cleared the House Judiciary Committee today on a voice vote. Senate Bill 550 would make "unlawful mass picketing" a Class A misdemeanor.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 12:13:00

Bid to require racial impact statements fails again

Sen. Joyce Elliott's latest attempt to require racial impact statements on criminal justice bills failed to advance in the House Judiciary Committee today. Elliott unsuccessfully tried to pass similar legislation in 2013 and 2015.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 12:10:00

School voucher bill approved in House committee

The House Education Committee today approved SB 746 to put $3 million a year into a program to give public money to send children to private schools, essentially a voucher program.

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STAFF BLOGS: ARKANSAS BLOG

Today's headlines: State budget problems

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 11:07:00

Internet sales tax bill fails in committee

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee voted 9-6, two votes short of the number required, for Sen. Jake Files SB 140 to assess the sales tax on Internet sales if courts ruled that's constitutional.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 09:34:00

Repeal Obamacare: The GOP crusade was just a charade

Republicans made clear last week that the long campaign to repeal Obamacare was never about principle or policy, only the politics of Obama destruction.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 07:47:00

Trump paternalism: A strategy, not a gaffe, writer suggests

When Trump gathers a group of men to talk about restricting health coverage for women, it may be a considered political strategy, not bone-headed paternalism, a New York Times writer suggests.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 07:34:00

Pour on the coal: Trump to reverse Obama on cleaner air

Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order reversing the federal government's course on attempting to reduce pollution from power plants. Jobs will be more important than cleaner air, in short.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday, March 27, 2017 - 22:45:00

Bryan King's $692 million bid to crack down on repeat offenders

The bill is projected to add 5,500 inmates to the already over-capacity state prison population in 2026. They would likely be mostly people convicted of nonviolent drug and property crimes.

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Monday, March 27, 2017 - 20:26:00

Joint Budget approves money increase for voucher program

The Joint Budget Committee adopted an amendment last week to expand the appropriation for a special needs voucher program. An earlier version of the appropriation bill for the state Department of Education called for $800,000 to fund the Succeed Scholarship program for the 2017-18 school year, the same amount of money for the program that was appropriated in the 2016 fiscal session of the General Assembly. The amended version increases the appropriation to $1.3 million.

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Monday, March 27, 2017 - 18:31:00

Highway bill stymied again

No go again today for a highway construction plan.

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Monday, March 27, 2017 - 17:20:00

Guns vs. a battered spouse? No contest which is more important in Arkansas House

Gun insanity continues in Arkansas. The House today defeated a bill to prohibit gun ownership by someone convicted of domestic battery. The vote was 31-46.

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Monday, March 27, 2017 - 16:24:00

Ethics from the Arkansas Senate? Not today

Sen. Linda Collins-Smith (R-Pocahontas) made a run at imposing a stronger ethics requirement on the legislature, but she fell short. Her bill got a 20-6 favorable vote in the Senate, but as amendment to an initated act, an ethics reform measusre of 1988, she need 24 votes.

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Monday, March 27, 2017 - 15:24:00

Amended bill to strengthen dyslexia intervention clears Senate committee

A bill that would give teeth to a law that requires dyslexia screening and intervention in public schools passed by unanimous voice vote out of the Senate Education Committee Monday.

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Monday, March 27, 2017 - 15:01:00

Parole board recommends no clemency for two inmates facing April 20 execution

In Johnson's case, two members of the seven-person parole board recommended his death sentence be commuted to life without parole.

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Monday, March 27, 2017 - 14:46:00

Another week, another open line

The Monday open line and the daily news roundup.

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