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Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016
Trade big part of Arkansas
Posted Tuesday, December 6, at 1:01 PM
LITTLE ROCK - Businessmen and state economic development officials understand that Arkansas is part of a global market place, and that many of their customers and much of their competition is overseas. Last year Arkansas companies exported $5.9 billion worth of products and services. Since 2010 the value of Arkansas exports has risen 12.5 percent. Over a three year period the average rate of growth in Arkansas exports was 2.8 percent a year...

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State Capital Week in Review
Posted Tuesday, November 29, at 10:29 AM

LITTLE ROCK - Adding 228 employees is one of several strategies proposed by the Division of Children and Family Services to improve the state's child welfare system, which division officials say is in crisis. In a recent report, the Division outlined several problems and proposed solutions. High employee turnover, high caseloads and lack of experienced staff were factors in most of the critical areas...

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Committee assignments
Posted Tuesday, November 22, at 9:07 AM

LITTLE ROCK - The 35 members of the state Senate chose their committee assignments for the 2017 regular session. The chairmen of the Senate's standing committees will be: Senator Cecile Bledsoe of Rogers - Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee; Senator Jake Files of Fort Smith - Revenue and Taxation Committee; Senator Jane English of North Little Rock - Education Committee; Senator Jeremy Hutchinson of Benton - Judiciary Committee;...

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State Capital Week in Review
Posted Tuesday, November 15, at 9:47 AM

LITTLE ROCK - As required by law, the governor proposed a balanced budget for state government for the next two fiscal years and presented it at legislative budget hearings. The recommendation will be the starting point for the legislature to use for adopting state agency spending levels. Lawmakers are meeting in budget hearings now, in preparation for the regular legislative session that begins on January 9...

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School funding to increase by one percent
Posted Tuesday, November 8, at 9:08 AM

LITTLE ROCK - The Senate Education Committee voted to recommend an increase in state funding of public schools next year of about 1 percent. The vote culminated months of work during which the committee met 20 times and staff surveyed administrators of dozens of school districts and conducted on-site interviews with principals. Their purpose was to determine what level of funding is needed to provide an adequate education to each of the 476,000 public school students in Arkansas...

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Voter turnout increases during presidential races
Posted Tuesday, November 1, at 9:05 AM

LITTLE ROCK - When there is a race for president on the ballot, voter turnout in Arkansas goes up. This year it looks as if voter turnout is going up even more than usual for a presidential election year, according to estimates by officials in the Secretary of State's office. Based on turnout in past elections and in this year's primary in March, election officials estimate that voter turnout will be about 70 percent...

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State Capital Week in Review
Posted Tuesday, October 25, at 12:00 PM

LITTLE ROCK - The state Supreme Court has stricken Issues Four and Five because of legal questions about their ballot titles, so any votes cast for them on November 8 will not be counted. Issue Four would have limited the amount of damages that could be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits...

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Capital Week in Review
Posted Wednesday, October 19, at 3:04 PM

LITTLE ROCK - A legislative task force on criminal justice has recommended changes in sentencing laws with the goal of controlling overcrowding of jails and prisons. The legislature will consider the recommendations during the 2017 regular session, which begins in January. Some proposals would require additional state funding, so the preliminary work on prison reform will necessarily take place during legislative budget hearings that are going on now...

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Budget hearings begin Oct. 11
Posted Tuesday, October 11, at 8:56 AM

LITTLE ROCK - Legislators are beginning a lengthy and detailed review of all state agency spending requests in preparation for the regular session that begins in January. Setting a balanced budget for state government every year is the most time-consuming duty of the legislature...

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Tourism is one of the cornerstones of Arkansas economy
Posted Tuesday, October 4, at 7:48 AM

LITTLE ROCK - Tourism is one of the cornerstones of the Arkansas economy, and the state Department of Parks and Tourism consistently modernizes promotional campaigns to make sure that travelers continue visiting the state. Last year $7.2 billion was spent on travel and tourism in Arkansas, an 8.7 percent increase over the previous year...

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State Capital Week in Review
Posted Tuesday, September 27, at 9:26 AM

LITTLE ROCK -From 500 to 900 people with developmental disabilities would move off the current waiting list and receive home-based or community-based services under a plan announced by the governor. He proposed allocating about $8.5 million from the state's tobacco settlement revenue to provide the services and shorten the waiting list, which now has about 3,000 people on it...

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State Capital Week in Review
Posted Tuesday, September 20, at 8:48 AM

LITTLE ROCK - Legal challenges have been filed against four measures that have been certified to appear on the November general election ballot. Three other measures were referred by the legislature and there is no legal question about their being on the ballot. Depending on the outcome of the legal challenges, it is possible from three to seven ballot issues will be decided by Arkansas voters on Nov. 8...

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Proposals discussed
Posted Tuesday, September 13, at 1:00 PM

LITTLE ROCK - Depending on the outcome of multiple legal challenges now being considered by the state Supreme Court, as many as six proposed constitutional amendments and one proposed initiated act may be on the November 8 general election ballot in Arkansas...

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State Capital Week in Review
Posted Tuesday, September 6, at 9:55 AM

LITTLE ROCK - Making criminal offenders pay restitution to their victims is politically popular. However, Arkansas and other states have run into obstacles when they have tried to put in place effective systems for collecting damages. One problem is that offenders often have little or no money when they're released from prison and their prospects of getting a good job are severely diminished because of their criminal record...

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Traffic safety campaign continues
Posted Tuesday, August 30, at 9:17 AM

LITTLE ROCK - The State Police will continue its traffic safety campaign through the end of the Labor Day weekend. The State Police Highway Safety Office is partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to stop drunk driving and save lives...

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State Capital Week in Review
Posted Tuesday, August 23, at 8:50 AM

LITTLE ROCK - During the first three months of this year 1,093 children in Arkansas were placed in foster care. During the same period 808 children were released from foster care and most of them, 70 percent, were reunited with parents or went to live with a relative. About 20 percent left foster homes because they were adopted...

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State Capital Week in Review
Posted Tuesday, August 16, at 9:28 AM

LITTLE ROCK - As parents and students prepare for the new school year, administrators are on the lookout for any changes in state policy on transfers and transportation. There is a history of litigation affecting the Arkansas law that allows students to transfer to schools outside of the district in which they live. The 1989 school choice act was stricken in 2012 by a federal judge who ruled it unconstitutional. The legislature enacted a new school choice law in 2013 and updated it last year...

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State Capital Week in Review
Posted Tuesday, August 9, at 9:14 AM

LITTLE ROCK - In a transaction that was termed "unique" by the governor, the state Health Department sold its in-home care operations to a private corporation based in Kentucky for $39 million. The Health Department set up the in-home care program in 1968, when fewer health care options existed in rural Arkansas. Now, about 13,000 patients receive some form of care in their homes. That number is down about 28 percent over the past five years...

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Sales tax holiday Aug. 6-7
Posted Wednesday, August 3, at 8:45 AM

LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas will hold its annual sales tax holiday on Saturday, Aug. 6, and Sunday, Aug. 7. The legislature created the sales tax holiday by approving Act 757 of 2011. The intent of the act is to help families with children in school, and is commonly known as the "Back to School" sales tax holiday. However, everyone benefits from the holiday, whether or not they have children of school age...

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Capital Week in Review
Posted Tuesday, July 26, at 8:52 AM

LITTLE ROCK - By the end of the current fiscal year Arkansas will be one of only three states in the country in which every public school will have access to high speed broadband Internet connections. The Senate Education Committee heard the good news from the director of the state Department of Information Systems, which has been working with schools and Internet providers to make broadband available throughout the state...

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State Capital Week in Review
By Senator David Burnett
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Hot topics
Trade big part of Arkansas
(0 ~ 1:01 PM, Dec 6)

State Capital Week in Review
(0 ~ 10:30 AM, Nov 29)

Committee assignments
(0 ~ 9:07 AM, Nov 22)

State Capital Week in Review
(0 ~ 9:47 AM, Nov 15)

School funding to increase by one percent
(0 ~ 9:08 AM, Nov 8)