Four counties, five companies, lots of jobs in the cannabis business.
Green acresMarch 8, 2018
Vol 44 • No 27
We'll crown a winner Friday, March 9.
And much more.
Arkansas State University heard from a paid consultant last week about ways to become more efficient — make more money, in other words — and perhaps even serve students better.
As a parent and teacher, I write to argue against President Trump's assertion, implicitly supported by Governor Hutchinson, that arming teachers would improve safety in our schools. Following the tragedy in Parkland, American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association oppose allowing nonsafety personnel to carry guns in schools.
It's four years off, but worth the wait.
Most years around this time, political scientists come together at the Arkansas Political Science Association's annual meeting for a session in which we provide our analysis of where Arkansas politics has just been (if a general election has just happened) or where it's going (if we're at the start of an election year).
Also, Miranda Lambert is at Verizon.
Some, but not all, of the five companies the state has scored as eligible for cannabis cultivation in Arkansas included in their applications estimates of job hires and financial impact. Companies estimate hires between 25 and 60; two estimate payrolls will exceed $1 million.
A truth all teachers know: If you want to see the secrets and shortcomings of any community, just take a peek inside its classrooms. You'll find poverty, lack of education, substance abuse, unstable families and socioeconomic segregation. Children have no choice but to bear the brunt of social ills, making schools the easiest places to spot and measure our failings.
Arkansas enters the Southeastern Conference tournament in, of all odd locales, St. Louis this week, and they arrive there with what we'll call the Baskin-Robbins resume. After 31 games, the flavors have mostly been sweet, but there are a handful of 'em that you wouldn't want to sample again.
The things we're all probably better off not mentioning in service of our collective sanity is growing by the day and hour here in Trumpistan.
It was the year of the merman.
A school safety commission NOT about guns and Finese 2 Tymes to federal prison.
Jesus found something blessed about poor people, even promising them the kingdom of God, and he was always admonishing his disciples to feed and tend to them when they were sick. He reviled the rich and the uncharitable.
Play at home while not making recipes from "Breaking Bad."
Any day now, somebody's going to get busted for taking an emotional support cow on an airplane.
Sushi to the rescue.
Three female camels have joined the display at the Little Rock Zoo.
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a growing presence in Arkansas, will take its message about safer gun policy to a meeting today of the state Board of Education.
Questions continue about the medical marijuana permit award process. For example, did Commissioner Travis Story know people for whom he'd done legal work were behind one of the winning applicants, which earned the second-highest score he awarded in the process.
The State Police reports a Missouri man is in critical condition with a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a car chase from Bald Knob to Beebe last night.
Ditto was effusive about her roots in rural Arkansas, her skilled bandmates, her fans, her fellow White County queer movers and shakers (House of Avalon, specifically) and most notably, her family.
Who benefits from transfer of tax dollars to private schools through a shell game voucher program being pushed in the legislature? Rich people, according to an analysis in Iowa.
The House today called it quits temporarily on attempting to provide a tax subsidy to K-12 private schools in the current budget session, which should end tomorrow.
Circuit Judge Alice Gray has a hearing this afternoon to consider Secretary of State Mark Martin's request that he not be required to comply with the state Freedom of Information Act in supplying the information sought in a lawsuit challenging the new state law requiring an ID to vote.
Developments in the 1st Amendment lawsuit challenging Donald Trump's blocking of people from seeing his Twitter account is running in favor of access.
The daily dose of news and comment, plus your Thursday open line.
The state Board of Education today voted 6-1 to reject requests from Camden-Fairview, Hope, Lafayette County and Junction City to be exempt from the state law requiring students to be able to freely transfer between school districts."Freedom of choice" and the segregation it encourages are now the official policy of Arkansas.
Hunter Field of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette added today to the haze of pollution surrounding the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission's deliberation on cultivation permits. It increases the need for Commissioner Travis Story to answer some questions about what he knew about an application he graded from a legal client.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has rejected his first submission of a ballot title and popular name for a proposal to change the way congressional districts are redrawn every 10 years.
Many Walmart workers across the country got bonuses Thursday. A Walmart critic provides some context: The big winner from the corporate tax cut was Walmart, not its workers.
Wes Flanigan has been fired as men's basketball coach at UA-Little Rock. He had a 22-42 record in two seasons.
In this week's edition of our new podcast, "The Conversation," host Matt Price interviews The Property Group Co-Founder and President Robert Klein, who talks about what inspired him to start his own real estate agency and how experiencing loss early on in his life defined who he is today. Plus, some pretty funny anecdotes about showing houses.
A legal ad in today's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette says the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is seeking proposals for front-door security at its headquarters in western Little Rock — armed guards specifically.
Scott Hardin of the Department of Finance and Administration says Natural State Wellness has paid its $100,000 permit fee and posted the $500,000 bond required for issuance of its permit to grow medical marijuana.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson's office says the special legislative session will begin Tuesday. Adjournment of the current budget session will occur Monday afternoon. Pharmacy benefits, hog farming and school vouchers seem likely to be on the agenda. Along with the question of what got Speaker Jeremy Gillam so hot and bothered about transferring state tax money to private schools.
A packed episode this week of "No Small Talk": a chat with Katy Henriksen, from Of Note on KUAF; Stephanie Smittle breaks down the Spring Arts issue; and we finish up with just a tiny bit of Oscar chatter.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has for the second time rejected the wording of a proposed constitutional amendment to clean up the legal confusion left by a recent Arkansas Supreme Court ruling on "sovereign immunity,' the constitutional principle that prevents lawsuits against the state.
Mark Friedman of Arkansas Bsuiness reports that Cantrell Pharmacy, a drug compounding operation, has settled a complaint with the Food and Drug Administration that will allow the company, which is reorganizing in bankruptcy, to stay open.
The latest legislative doings and medical marijuana news — on this week's podcast.
Olly Neal of Marianna, a retired judge on the Arkansas Court of Appeals, has filed a complaint with the Arkansas Ethics Commission over Medical Marijuana Commissioner Travis Story's scoring a cultivation permit application by a company owned by people who have been Story's legal clients.
On the Little Rock City Board agenda: marijuana law enforcement; crime at Southwest Little Rock apartments; a meeting with U.S. Rep. French HIll on sales taxes.
The story of an Ohio pig farmer who decided after Donald Trump's election that he wouldn't hear another word about it. The New York Times visits "The Man who Knew Too Little."
The readers take over.
A state legislator says the Medical Marijuana Commission should delay awarding permits next week because of questions about whether all the rules were followed by applicants, particularly on tax issues.
Donald Trump unleashed another SOB yesterday, this one at Chuck Todd of NBC. Remember when the president was dignified?
The New York Times reports on efforts to fix the hastily approved tax cut legislation. Consequences — both intended and unintended — now have corporate lobbyists looking for fixes. They include provisions with broad application in Arkansas.
The Sunday open line includes a forecast of news tomorrow about lawsuits against the Little Rock Police Department and complaints about scoring of medical marijuana cultivation permits.
The University of Arkansas has scheduled a town hall meeting tonight with top campus officials as a response to a student's recent blackface photo on Snapchat.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was interviewed on 60 Minutes Sunday night and the reviews seem universal: Leslie Stahl knows more about schools than DeVos. It gets worse. She's apparently to be tapped by Donald Trump to head a commission studying school safety.
A driver who fled a traffic stop early Sunday morning by driving into the parking deck of Regions Bank and jumping over a barrier on the second floor to a ramp below is in critical but stable condition at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock police said.
A date has been set for "A Summit Concerned Arkansans" about the Department of Arkansas Heritage, the state Archives and other issues related to management of the dpartment by Stacy Hurst.
The unemployment rate held steady in January.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson added some additional members to his school safety task force, a group that he has previously said would NOT consider gun safety issues. Still no students.
The Department of Finance and Administration has responded to Rep. Scott Baltz's request for confirmation that the state Medical Marijuana Commission made sure no applicants for cultivation permits were delinquent on state taxes.
As predicted, a protest has been filed over the state Medical Marijuana Commission's choice of five winning applicants for marijuana cultivation permits, expected to be ratified at a meeting Wednesday.
Saying the Little Rock Police Department is riddled with racism and racial discrimination, attorney Mike Laux announced this morning that he has filed suit against the city on behalf of three black LRPD officers and one former LRPD officer who say they were discriminated against by the LRPD through a pattern of lack of promotions, lower salaries and uneven discipline when compared to their white counterparts on the force. Laux said two other black officers will join the plaintiffs once they receive approval to sue from the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.
The line is open. With news and comment on the legislature and other stuff.
Kati McFarland, whose challenge of U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton's dereliction on health care at a raucous town hall last year drew national attention, asks for a mention about her candidacy for state legislature. Happy to oblige a resister.
The Arkansas House case secret ballots after adjournment today to pick a speaker for the 2019 special session and the winner was Rep. Matthew Shepherd, an El Dorado Republican.
Like hog manure and school vouchers? You'll love the special legislative session that begins Tuesday.
Congratulations to the winner of the 2018 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, Jamie Lou & The Hullabaloo!
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has rejected the wording of a proposed constitutional amendment to expand casino gambling in Arkansas.
Whoa. Rusty Cranford, the former powerhouse lobbyist indicated for scheming to kickback a nonprofit's money for profit, bribes and political contributions, has now been named in federal court documents as plotting to kill a co- conspirator
Come mothers and fathers throughout the land. High school students plan walkouts Wednesday in solidarity with the movement begun by the Florida school massacre. The usual school leadership divide has emerged: Authoritarianism (see Bentonville) to enlightenment (Little Rock).
Donald Trump has fired Rex Tillerson as secretary of state for occasional truthiness. He'll be succeeded b CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Republican Sen. Tom Cotton who'd been mentioned as a possible CIA director in such an event, wasn't tapped for the job.
A fast-track legislative session bodes ill for the citizenry. Consider school voucher, hog waste, and jury trial legislation for starters. There'll be no citizen input and limited debate before pending proposals are crammed into the law books.
Little Rock police found a woman fatally shot and a man seriously wounded about midnight last night at 26th and Izard.
The Communications Workers of America has issued a statement knocking Verizon Wireless' plan to cut 3,000 of 6,500 workers at six call centers, including one in Little Rock.
Here's the open line with a headline roundup that includes suggestions of criminal activity related to both a White House employee and a former top Arkansas lobbyist.
River Valley Relief Cultivation, one of the unsuccessful applicants for a marijuana cultivation permit, has filed a letter of protest with the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission.
The first lawsuit has been filed over the state Medical Marijuana Commission's scoring of the top five applicants for cultivation permits under the new medical marijuana law. Shortly after, a second was filed.
Leaders of a Little Rock high school and the state school in Hot Springs for brainy students take different approaches to tomorrow's national student demonstration on gun violence.
On Tuesday morning, a legislative committee overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow the Arkansas Insurance Department to regulate pharmacy benefit managers and require PBMs to obtain licenses to do business in the state.
A special election for state Senate was a victory for Obamacare. Really.
Who could possibly want to expand the ability to waive jury trials? Not consumers. This is a bill so bad — even with amendments — that some Republicans oppose it.
Rules are rules in authoritarian-controlled Bentonville School District, First Amendment be damned.
Get yourself on social media. And if you don't know how, find a teenager to help you. Then check Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and all the rest for the outpouring of marching students.
Do we really want to put guns in the hands of teachers?
The Senate Education Committee this morning approved the bill to divert state tax money to private schools, a backdoor voucher bill that is a historic raid on tax money for private schools.
David O'Sullivan, European Union Ambassador to the United States, talked about the EU's opposition to the death penalty last night at the Clinton School.
Josh Duggar is trying again in state court with a suit he lost in federal court — a claim for damages against local officials for releasing information that reflected an investigation of Duggar for molesting his sisters when they were juveniles
Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, acting on a lawsuit filed by Naturalis Health, LLC, an unsuccessful applicant for a medical marijuana cultivation permit, has issued a temporary restraining order to prevent state officials from awarding permits at a Medical Marijuana Commission today.
Proof Bar and Lounge at 2611 Kavanaugh Blvd., which got its health inspection late last week and has been in the “soft opening” stage since, will celebrate St. Patrick's Day with special drinks from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, March 17.
Here's the open line. And the daily news roundup.
Just as Gusano's owner Tim Chappell told the Times a while back when he was talking about his plans to open The Shack in the River Market district, UberEATS, the food delivery service, launched today in Little Rock. A press release from the company said you can use UberEats to have food delivered from dozens of Little Rock eateries.
On Wednesday, both chambers of the Arkansas legislature approved identical versions of a bill to regulate pharmacy benefit managers, the powerful health care companies at the center of a dispute over cuts in reimbursements paid to pharmacists.
Benji Hardy reports for the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network on the legislature's completion of action on bills to address pharmacists' complaints about how pharmacy benefits managers have held down reimbursements for drugs covered by Medicaid.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has scheduled an 11 a.m. announcement of an unspecified nature Thursday. My guess is that it's intended to play well politically and that state employees might want to tune in.
Because of difficulty in obtaining drugs previously used in executions, Oklahoma is embarking on exploration of use of injection of nitrogen gas to kill inmates sentenced to die. Arkansas happens to be in a similar circumstance.