KASU

Associated Press

Arkansas State Capitol
Wikipedia.org

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas lawmakers have approved the state's $5.6 billion budget for the coming year, wrapping up this year's fiscal session in four weeks.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The number of deaths due to the flu rose by five in the past week to bring the total number to 184 in what was already the state's deadliest flu season since the state Department of Health began tracking the deaths in 2000.

Down Main Street - Pine Bluff, Arkansas
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PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) - A medical marijuana firm originally from northeast Arkansas has chosen to build its cultivation plant in the Pine Bluff area.

Legislation detailing Arkansas' proposed $5.6 billion budget for the coming year calls for increasing funding for Medicaid and setting aside nearly $64 million in surplus funds.

Lawmakers on Monday got their first look at the proposed Revenue Stabilization Act, the budget bill that calls for a nearly $173 million increase in spending for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The Joint Budget Committee is expected to take up the measure on Tuesday.

A proposal to legalize casinos in Arkansas has been revised to allow expanded gambling at a greyhound track and horse track that already offer video poker and other electronic games.

Driving Arkansas Forward submitted its proposed constitutional amendment to the state attorney general's office, which had rejected an earlier version of the proposal. The AG must certify the measure's wording before the group can begin gathering signatures to try and place it on the November ballot.

Ann Kenda, Arkansas Public Media

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Just days after severe storms brought tornadoes and heavy rain to Arkansas, another round of storms is expected to bring more precipitation.

The National Weather Service says rain is expected to begin Tuesday night and continue through Thursday.

stock photo of freeway roads
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SEARCY, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas highway officials have revealed plans to turn U.S. 67 into an extension of Interstate 57.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that officials unveiled six signs on Friday displaying "Future I-57."

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission plans to announce the first five groups that will be allowed to legally grow medical cannabis, but potential growers don't know what to make of the reveal.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas lawmaker says she'll drop her push to take up the issue of pharmacy reimbursement during the ongoing fiscal session after the governor assured that her proposal will be considered in a special session.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A storm system brought heavy rain across Arkansas with as much as eight inches reported in isolated areas of central and western sections of the state and flooding in the southeast.

Outside of the gates of the Arkansas Governor's mansion in Little Rock.
Wikipedia

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - This year's campaigns for state and federal offices in Arkansas is officially kicking off as hundreds of candidates will be filing paperwork to make their candidacies official during the next week.

The one-week filing period for this year's election begins Thursday at noon at the state Capitol. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson plans to file paperwork for his re-election bid on Thursday afternoon.

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JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — Prosecutors have decided to drop murder and battery charges against a suspect in last year's shooting in northeast Arkansas after deciding the case didn't implicate him.

The Jonesboro Sun reports that 19-year-old Chauncey Thomas and 20-year-old Kalius Lane were charged with first-degree murder and first-degree battery in connection to the May 14 shooting that left one dead and six injured in Jonesboro.

Billy Graham, American religious figure.
Wikipedia

Two former Arkansas governors who were involved in national politics are expressing their condolences after the passing of Rev. Billy Graham on Wednesday.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - An Illinois megadonor is contributing $500,000 to the effort to make Missouri a right-to-work state.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Richard Uihlein donated the money Tuesday to a political action committee named "Freedom to Work." It's raising cash to fend off a union-led attempt to kill efforts to change state labor laws.

Arkansas State University

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow taxpayers with tax-deductible 529 college savings plans to withdraw funds for tuition at public, private and religious K-12 schools.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - An Arkansas judge has ruled that almost $1 million in state economic development funding must be returned to public reserves.

WYNNE, Ark. (AP) - Authorities in northeastern Arkansas are trying to determine the cause of death for two newborns whose bodies were discovered inside of a suitcase along a rural road last week.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Strong winds toppled power lines and damaged buildings as a line of storms began its slow move through Arkansas.

National Weather Service
National Weather Service in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Officials are asking residents to prepare for the possibility of flooding as a weather system carrying heavy rain passes through parts of Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Several rounds of heavy rain are expected throughout much of Arkansas this week, and forecasters say flash flooding and river flooding are both possible.

All but a dozen Arkansas House members have gone through voluntary courses on sexual harassment that are being offered in response to a wave of high-profile misconduct cases nationwide.

Eighty-seven of the House's 99 members attended a course that was offered throughout the day on Wednesday, according to sign-in sheets released by the chamber. A spokeswoman for the House said the other 12 members of the chamber are scheduled to attend a make-up course being offered next week. There is one vacant seat in the 100-member House.

Arkansas State Capitol
Wikipedia.org

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - An Arkansas lawmaker says he won't push for a measure easing a requirement for concealed handgun trainers during this year's session after the governor said he supports delaying the mandate's deadline so the issue can be addressed later.

Republican Sen. Trent Garner said Thursday he'll drop his proposal removing the requirement that concealed carry instructors offer both the regular training and the enhanced training under an expanded concealed handgun law approved last year.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has passed a bill to make it legal for organizations to provide free needles to drug users.

House members voted 135-13 Thursday to send the bill to the Senate.

Republican Rep. Holly Rehder has said Missouri groups now pass out clean syringes to intravenous drug users with the goal of preventing the spread of hepatitis C and HIV through dirty needles. But state law bans possessing drug paraphernalia, which puts the needle exchanges in murky legal waters.

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CORNING, Ark. (AP) - State health officials say people who visited a Taco Bell restaurant in northeast Arkansas may have been exposed to hepatitis A after an employee tested positive for the virus.

The health department says the affected restaurant is in Corning, about 150 miles (241 kilometers) northeast of Little Rock. The department says anyone who ate food from that Taco Bell between Jan. 24 and Feb. 7 may have been exposed to the virus, which can cause fever, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain and other symptoms.

Gov. Eric Greitens
Eric Greitens Official Facebook Page

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Investigators from the St. Louis prosecutor's office have visited the Missouri Capitol in the investigation of Gov. Eric Greitens, and one lawmaker suggests the probe has expanded to include a look at the Republican governor's use of "dark money."

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner launched an investigation in January after Greitens admitted to a 2015 affair with his St. Louis hairdresser. Greitens has denied taking a compromising photo of the woman as potential blackmail.

SEARCY, Ark. (AP) - A public school in north-central Arkansas has removed Bible verses from the walls after an anonymous complaint was made to a nonprofit supporting the separation of church and state.

The Daily Citizen reports that posters displaying scriptures had been hung in the choir room of Searcy High School.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Student journalists would largely be shielded from censorship by their schools under legislation that has won first-round approval in the House.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the idea started to gain traction in the 2016 legislative session. It stemmed from frustration over University of Missouri communications professor Melissa Click, calling for "muscle" to remove student journalists during November 2015 protests.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - People with misdemeanor convictions of domestic violence would be barred from having access to guns under proposed legislation.

Confederate Park in Downtown Memphis, Tennessee. Jefferson Davis statue
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee comptroller's report says Memphis officials followed state open meetings law when they sold two parks to a nonprofit, which removed three Confederate statues.

The report Wednesday also says Memphis followed municipal law by selling the parks in December to Memphis Greenspace Inc. for $1,000 apiece.

Auditors said Memphis didn't make the nonprofit submit a financial stability application. The city said it met with the group to discuss finances and cited three other property sales without applications.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A judge is weighing on whether to void the Missouri Board of Education's decision to fire the former education commissioner.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that attorneys representing the board argued in circuit court Tuesday against lawyers representing Springfield teacher Laurie Sullivan, who sued the board in November.

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