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Arkansas AG rejects proposed measure to conduct elections via hand-marked paper ballots

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin on Wednesday rejected two proposed constitutional amendments to remove voting machines from Arkansas’ election process.  One proposal would require hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballots, while the other would create absentee ballot procedures.  Griffin cited several reasons for rejecting the proposed popular name and ballot title of both initiatives, including a lengthy…

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First ballot language submitted for Arkansas government transparency amendment

A government transparency group took the first formal step Monday to refer a proposed constitutional amendment to the 2024 ballot that would prevent the state Legislature from making government less open without a statewide vote.  Arkansas Citizens for Transparency submitted a proposed ballot title and popular name for the “Arkansas Government Transparency Amendment” to Attorney…

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Arkansas governor appoints two conservatives to state library board amid lawsuit, content debate

Former Arkansas state senator Jason Rapert, a Conway Republican who founded the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, is one of the newest members of the Arkansas State Library Board at a time when children’s access to library materials is a subject of statewide debate. Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced a range of appointments to state…

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Worries over secrecy grow as state officials shield records from the public

Just weeks after lawmakers in Little Rock passed legislation shielding certain state records from public disclosure, opponents launched an effort to amend the Arkansas Constitution to protect access to government documents. “The coalition that’s coming together on this is about as broadly bipartisan as you could get — from the extreme, extreme right to the…

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Arkansas charter schools perform in top half, nationwide study finds

Arkansas charter schools performed slightly above average on a national assessment over the course of a decade, according to a new report released Tuesday.  Arkansas ranked 14th out of 35 states and Washington D.C. in a first-ever ranking of charter student performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Arkansas ranked just ahead of…

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VA veterans crisis line to face new investigation by congressional watchdog agency

WASHINGTON — The Government Accountability Office plans to investigate multiple whistleblower allegations of “gross mismanagement” at the Department of Veterans Affairs veterans crisis line, following a request from Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran, States Newsroom has learned. Moran, ranking member on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, sent a letter to the VA secretary this week…

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Auditor: Investigation into Arkansas governor’s lectern purchase unlikely to end this year

The investigation into Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ controversial lectern purchase and effort to shield records related to her security detail likely won’t be finished this year, the lead auditor at Arkansas’ nonpartisan agency that investigates government spending said Wednesday. Sanders’ office drew widespread attention in September for the purchase of a $19,000 lectern and…

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Panel approves Buffalo River water-quality project over trail connectivity proposal

A state panel on Tuesday rejected a proposal to create a recreation master plan for the Buffalo National River in favor of a project that aims to improve water quality through community engagement.  The Buffalo River Conservation Committee approved the disbursement of its remaining funds, $69,676, to support H2Ozarks’ proposal to hold landowner workshops and…

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Arkansas senator hopes to defund library advocacy group, which is not a state-funded agency

An Arkansas state senator said Tuesday he hopes the state will withhold funding from a library advocacy organization — a group that does not receive state funds, according to its president. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Jonesboro, has been critical of the Arkansas Library Association (ArLA), the state’s chapter of the American Library Association. Both organizations advocate…

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