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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

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 - 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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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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Today's headlines: White House and football follies

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 - 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 - 07:42:00

UPDATE: Senate's big party leads the freebie list this week

A fancy dinner for the Senate president pro tempore is among the social events for legislators this week.

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday, March 26, 2017 - 22:32:00

Bill to strengthen dyslexia intervention runs into opposition in Senate committee

A passionate group of parents and reading advocates left the state Capitol disappointed but determined not to give up last week when a bill that would give teeth to a law that requires dyslexia screening and intervention in public schools failed to pass out of a Senate committee.

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Sunday, March 26, 2017 - 09:54:00

Legislative small print: Gambling expansion gets a vote Monday

The House is set to vote Monday on bill that requires a law enforcement agency to stop enforcing an anti-gambling law. Really.

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Today's headlines: White House and football follies

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 17:32:00

Expansion of voucher program for foster children clears committee

A bill that would expand a special-needs education voucher program to include foster children passed on a voice vote with some dissent in the Senate Education Committee Wednesday.

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017 - 22:58:00

Revived voucher-like bill clears Senate committee

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 a voice vote with some dissent in the Senate Education committee Monday.

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Monday, March 20, 2017 - 15:10:00

ACLU, HRC, Ark. Trans Equality Coalition decry anti-trans bills

In a press conference on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol this morning, representatives of the Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition (ARTEC), ACLU of Arkansas and a transgender pioneer spoke out against a number of anti-trans and anti-LGBT bills working their way through the state legislature. Citing the economic and political fallout for North Carolina over their "bathroom bill," the groups say the bills will harm the Arkansas economy.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 13:30:10

Update: State reps' effort to strip Arkansas Tech funds delayed, ATU board issues resolution

The assault on the budget of the diversity department, which is being led by Reps. Trevor Drown (R-Dover) and Mary Bentley (R-Perryville), stemmed from a sex education event sponsored by a student group. Russellville's mayor urged legislators to reconsider the move.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 07:55:00

Legislative attack on sex at Arkansas Tech raises accreditation question

A showdown expected this morning at the Capitol over legislature unhappiness about a sex education event at Arkansas Tech University may be delayed. In the meanwhile, the legislative interference has raised questions about a loss of accreditation for the campus.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 18:35:00

Grocery stores can bulk up wine departments

Grocery stores with wine permits will be able to expand their selections come Oct. 1 under legislation signed Wednesday by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 18:11:00

Bid to eliminate corporal punishment in schools fails

A bill that would have banned corporal punishment in public schools failed on a voice vote in Senate Education Committee Wednesday.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 17:22:00

Arkansas House committee endorses bill to end dual Robert E. Lee-ML King holiday

The House Education Committee this afternoon approved a bill to end the dual observance of a state holiday for Robert E. Lee and Martin Luther King Jr.The approval came on a voice vote, over some objections, but nobody requested a roll call. The bill now goes to the House for final action.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 12:13:40

Revised school voucher bill clears House committee

Though Rep. Jim Dotson has scaled back HB 1222, the school voucher bill,  to a $3 million annual program that Gov. Asa Hutchinson is apparently willing to accept, strong opposition continues.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 11:42:00

Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway and Tel Aviv)

Sen. Jason Rapert wants to add the state of Israel to U.S. government debt that qualifies for state investment.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 11:31:00

Expanded campus gun bill approved by House committee

The dramatically expanded bill that began as an effort to allow university staff members to carry concealed weapons on campus was approved this morning in a House committee. It concurred in a Senate amendment on a voice vote.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Monday, March 13, 2017 - 21:05:00

More on voucher expansion for foster kids

A bill that would expand a special-needs education voucher program to include foster children passed in a 82-3 vote in the House Monday.

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