Arkansas Monday happenings

Mike Huckabee scored well ahead of the pack in the Values Voter presidential straw poll in an early test of how well potential candidates resonate with social conservatives.

Arkansas’ two U.S. senators report a bipartisan health care reform bill is still possible even though no Republicans have endorsed a proposal by the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

The Department of Workforce Services  says that the Extended Benefit Program, which provides up to 13 additional weeks of unemployment insurance benefits to individuals who exhaust their regular and Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits, will end September 26.

With the mood on Capitol Hill rapidly turning against ACORN, all six members of the congressional delegation voted last week to deny federal funding to the community organizing group that began nearly four decades ago as an advocate for the poor in Arkansas.

House Speaker Robbie Wills is making a vigorous defense of legislative plans to take over most of the so-called Big Mac building on the state capitol campus, convert it into offices for the lawmakers and construct a $1.8 million dollar tunnel.

Lottery officials are working to get employees at convenience stores and other outlets ready for the games, all of which should be up and running within about six weeks. Rain has slowed installation of satellite equipment at retail locations.

Arkansas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined three-tenths of a percentage point to 7.1 percent in August.

Arkansas is the first state in the nation to make the online version of its appellate court opinions the sole official version, leading some to wonder how secure those rulings will be in a world of hackers or under the control of a perhaps less-scrupulous future state Supreme Court or Court of Appeals.

A series of laws designed to improve driver safety by restricting the use of cell phones by young drivers and text messaging by all drivers takes effect Oct. 1.

Many Arkansans can expect lower heating bills this winter, thanks to enormous levels of natural gas stored across the country.

Murphy Oil Corp. has been actively pursuing natural gas deposits in the South China Sea offshore Malaysia for a couple of years. The El Dorado-based oil and gas firm announced that production has started in offshore Malaysia.

Jennings Osborne is pleased with a jury award of $3 million in his lawsuit against Warren Stephens over the failure of the business Osborne sold to Stephens, Arkansas Research Medical Testing Center. Osborne had asked for $6 million.

At least one Tunica casino has reported an operating loss this year; another casino is up for sale. And all of them have shed employees — more than 2,000 casino workers have lost work in the Tunica region in the past two years, based on Mississippi Gaming Commission records.

The toxicology report has been completed in the death of Lucie Hamilton, the Little Rock transgendered woman who died in June during a Vodou ritual in New Jersey. It provides no insight on the cause of her death.

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About patlynch
I am a broadcaster in Arkansas, a former freelance writer and political columnist in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Writing Coach. Speaker. Director of the Christian Foundations for Ministry program, and presently enrolled in the Anglican School of Ministry Master of Ministry program.

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