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Arkansas Senate votes to cut scholarship awards for freshmen


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Senate has voted to cut the lottery-funded scholarships incoming freshmen will receive and base its eligibility solely on standardized testing, days after the same proposal narrowly failed before the chamber.

The bill approved on a 22-12 vote Monday lowers the scholarship amount incoming freshmen receive from $2,000 to $1,000 and increases the amount sophomores receive from $3,000 to $4,000. The amounts received in the following years - $4,000 for juniors and $5,000 for seniors - would remain the same.

The proposal also eliminates the minimum 2.5 grade point average students could use to qualify for the scholarship, instead requiring them to score at least 19 on the ACT. Students can currently qualify using the GPA or ACT requirement.

The bill now heads to the House.

Arkansas House supports concealed firearms in polling places


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Concealed firearms would be allowed into certain polling places under a bill endorsed by the Arkansas House.

Lawmakers voted 73-17 Monday to advance the proposal to the Senate. It would allow people with concealed carry licenses to bring their guns on election day into places where firearms are otherwise allowed, such as certain churches or stores. Guns would still be barred from polling places at courthouses or schools.

Democratic Rep. Jeff Wardlaw of Warren says he proposed the bill because a constituent asked him to. Other proponents say guns won't make voters feel less safe.

Opponents questioned the need for the bill and cited a lack of mass shootings at polling places. They say the change could deter voters.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


Arkansas Senate backs Planned Parenthood defunding measure


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Senate has voted to cut off public funding to abortion providers and entities that perform abortion referrals, a move aimed at blocking grants Planned Parenthood has received for sex education programs.

The measure approved by the Senate on a 26-5 vote Monday doesn't specifically name Planned Parenthood and is identical to a proposal that stalled in the Legislature two years ago. The bill now heads to the House.

The proposal does not apply to Medicaid funding, and would also bar any public funding going toward "affiliates" of abortion providers or entities that perform referrals. Opponents of similar restrictions in the past have said it could threaten money that domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers and doctors receive if they refer women to abortion providers.

DFA to issue updated vehicle expiration decals


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (March 9, 2015)—The Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) announced today that license plate decals issued to taxpayers will change beginning March 16. DFA currently issues two decals when a new license plate is issued. One decal indicates the calendar month the registration expires and the other indicates the year the registration expires. When a vehicle registration is renewed, DFA currently issues a single decal indicating the year the registration expires.

Beginning on Monday, March 16, DFA will begin using a single decal with new tags bearing both the month and the year the vehicle registration expires. Persons renewing their vehicle registration will be provided the new decal one time blank decal to cover the month decal previously issued.

Special community presentation of survey data from Little Rock residents south of I-630


LITTLE ROCK - Working in collaboration, the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service and Arkansas Community Organizations are presenting the results of surveys and focus groups taken in Fall of 2014 of residents living in central, east, and south Little Rock. The special community presentation will take place on Monday, March 9 at 4:30 pm in the theater of the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library (4800 W. 10th Street in Little Rock).

Arkansas Community Organizations and their partner organization, the Arkansas Community Institute, worked with Dr. Warigia Bowman and forty-eight students from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service to conduct twelve focus groups and over four hundred surveys of residents living in neighborhoods south of I-630 and east of University Avenue about their views of Little Rock city government and concerns about their communities.

Road crews shift focus to pothole repairs


LITTLE ROCK, Ark.(KTHV)- If road conditions weren't difficult enough this week, potholes are popping up all over central Arkansas and beyond.

Arkansas Highway Department Spokesperson Danny Straessle said that Friday morning, a section of Interstate 30 had to be shut down as crews patched a large pothole.

"The larger ones we're addressing immediately as they present themselves."

Straessle says the changing weather creates ideal conditions for potholes. Water gets into the cracks and crevasses of the pavement.

He says then as the water freezes and thaws, it loosens the asphalt and creates holes in the road.

"The snow plows across pavement, running traffic across pavement, and of course the groundwater, the melting snow. Anything that freezes or impacts the roadway is a candidate to help form a pothole."

LANTERNS! Festival to kick off this weekend


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The sky at the Wildwood Park of the Arts will be lit up with lanterns starting Friday night.

It's for the annual LANTERN! Festival, and this year's event includes food from Asia, Austria, Ireland, Mexico, 1950's America, and Shakespeare's England.

The festival will run from Friday thru Sunday, March 8 until 6 p.m.

The cost is $10 for adults, 5$ for children 5-12, and free for children under 5.

There will be a free shuttle running between the park gates and the parking lot of the Chenal Kroger.

Wildwood Park for the Arts is located at 20919 Denny Road in Little Rock.

For more information, click here.