Arkansas Friday morning summary

Politico is reporting that Sen. Lincoln is among those who have submitted an amendment to pending health legislation that would effectively eliminate all state regulations concerning what insurance companies must cover. Lincoln also voted to keep Medicare cuts in current legislation while strongly denying Sen. John McCain robo-call allegations that senior’s benefits will be cut.

President Obama has declared a major disaster in 37 Arkansas counties following the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that struck beginning Oct. 29.

Gov. Mike Beebe is willing to listen to suggestions for improving the way Arkansas handles parolees sent to Washington state, though he maintained the state acted appropriately in the case of an ex-convict suspected of slaying four police officers in a Tacoma suburb.

Former Appeals Court Judge Wendell Griffen and Governor Mike Beebe are sparing over the appointment of Bill Bowen, who is white, to the State Supreme Court. Griffen observes there are no blacks on the high court and Beebe says he offered the position to three black attorneys and each declined for various reasons.

One-hundred lottery ticket vending could be operating in the state as early as March 2010.

Little Rock Police Department is coming in $800,000 over its original budget for the year. This as the city tries to shave millions from next year’s budget.

The latest housing market report from the Arkansas Realtors Association shows the impact of the first-time home buyer tax credit. Sales statewide were up 24.1 percent in October, however prices were off 3 percent from last year.

Dillard’s November same-store sales are down 11 percent and total sales down 13 percent as compared to last year.

The $1 million Arkansas Derby is one of three stakes that have been upgraded in status to Grade I for the 2010 racing season. The annual Oaklawn meet begins January 15.

The state Supreme Court upholds, on a 4-3 vote, a Pulaski County robbery conviction of Hutson Burks despite unanimous agreement that the prosecutor’s office used testimony obtained improperly by promise of reduction of a sentence already in effect for the critical witness. The court referred the witness’ attorney, the prosecutor’s office and the trial judge to disciplinary bodies for review.

Drug court judges in Arkansas cannot ignore the state criminal code when handing down sentences, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

A Crossett woman filed a lawsuit in federal court against the former director of Southeast Arkansas Education Service Cooperative claiming he sexually harassed her.

No charges have yet been filed against Warren High School JROTC Director Robert Avery, accused of raping a 16-year-old student in Monticello last month.

A Conway woman pleads guilty to charges of DWI, criminal mischief and prescription fraud relating to an incident June 6, 2008, in which she crashed into three vehicles parked at a drive-in restaurant and three more as she attempted to drive away from the scene.

A Fort Smith man was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree sexual assault of a disabled woman in a nursing home.

Authorities called in a bomb squad after a suspicious package was sent to the home of a doctor and member of the state Medical Board who was injured earlier this year in a bomb blast in his driveway. It turned out to be a book.

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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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