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John Moritz

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Prison officer shortage national; unfilled positions exceed 500 in Arkansas

Fielding questions from lawmakers last week about the state's struggles to find and retain corrections officers, prisons Director Wendy Kelley responded with a simple defense: Arkansas isn't the only state with a problem.

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Plan to fund Arkansas prisons draws cool reaction

Lawmakers say they’ll push for hiring of more officers

Gov. Asa Hutchinson's more than half-billion-dollar spending plan at prisons and community corrections received a tepid reaction from lawmakers Wednesday, with some already saying they'll seek additional funds to hire more probation and parole officers.

Conway-area House seat draws interest of 3 men

The state House seat being opened next year by the departure of Republican Rep. David Meeks of Conway has drawn the interest of two Democrats and a GOP candidate.

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Arkansas governor calls for $172M increase in state spending, asks universities not to increase tuition

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has proposed increasing state spending by more than $172 million in fiscal 2019 as part of a $5.62 billion budget plan that calls for more money going toward the Department of Human Services, higher education and public safety.

Extensive abuse of Arkansas tax credit doubted

Lawmakers looking at ways to identify Arkansans who are wrongly claiming multiple homestead-tax exemptions heard from an official Monday who questioned how widespread the problem is.

Progress in foster care seen for state

Agency: 6 of 11 goals completed

Two and a half years after announcing a planned course of action in response to a critique of the state's overburdened foster care system, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said last week that he gives the Division of Children and Family Services more credit than it gives itself for fulfilling the "intent" of the report's recommendations.

No pause expected for Rx pot in state

Panel continues its licensing reviews

Arkansas officials are not pausing their rollout of the state's voter-approved medical-marijuana program after the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday that it will again allow federal agents to crack down on the drug in states that have legalized its use.

Prison system reports attack on guard

A corrections officer at the Varner Supermax Unit was assaulted on New Year's Eve and received "minor" injuries, according to a Department of Correction spokesman.

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Applications connect governor's son, Senate candidate's uncle to medical marijuana industry in state

A son of Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a law firm associated with a former governor and a relative of a recent U.S. Senate candidate are among those with ties to the state's burgeoning medical marijuana industry, according to documents unveiled this week.

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Open carry is in law, Arkansas governor tells officials

State police, prosecutors don’t alter policies

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, in a letter sent to the Arkansas State Police and prosecutors, said this month that he believes that a much-debated 2013 state law allows for the open carry of handguns, though no officials have announced a change in policy in response to the governor's message.