Since scheduling the executions of eight inmates over the course of 11 days, Governor Hutchinson has said little publicly on the topic. Today, at meeting with press at the Governor's Mansion, Hutchinson acknowledged that it was unlikely he would grant executive clemency to any of the seven men scheduled to die beginning Monday.
The Senate today approved SB 724 to provide exemptions from a new expanded concealed weapon bill to allow them to be banned from college athletic events. The vote was 23-7 and the bill goes to the governor.
A nursing home lawsuit appears to be at the root of one of the worst bills of the session — to eliminate class action lawsuits under the deceptive trade practices act. It's heading to the governor, who should veto it.
An amended version of a bill that would allow for racial impact assessments for certain criminal justice bills advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee Thursday on a 10-7 vote with three members not voting.
A controversial bill that would establish education savings accounts to be used at parents' discretion to fund private school and other education costs passed in an 11-5 vote in the Arkansas House Education Committee Tuesday.
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.
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.
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.
Ledbetter, the former state Board of Education chair who cast the decisive vote in 2015 to take over the LRSD, writes that Education Commissioner Johnny Key "has shown time and again that he is out of touch with our community and the needs of the district." However, Ledbetter supports the May 9 vote as a positive for the district's students and staff.
At a press conference today at the Doubletree Hotel just across from the Pulaski County Courthouse, Pulaski County Fifth Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen and his attorneys announced that he has asked the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission to investigate the conduct of the entire Arkansas Supreme Court, and asked the director of the Arkansas Committee on Professional Conduct to investigate the conduct of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and several others in the AG's office, related to what Griffen and his attorneys claim were forbidden ex parte conversations between the Supreme Court and the AG's office.
The execution of Kenneth Williams for his 1999 slaying of Cecil Boren during a prison escape remains scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight, though actions in state and federal courts are anticipated in the final hours.
Photos taken Thursday night by Brian Chilson and David Koon, at Cummins Prison in Grady, the State Police barricade away from the prison and in front of the Governor's Mansion, before and after the execution of Ledell Lee.