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Arkansas gov. defends private option savings figure

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe says his proposal to boost funding for the state's prison system will be threatened if lawmakers halt a compromise Medicaid expansion approved last year.

Beebe told members of the Arkansas Sheriffs' Association on Tuesday that the new money he's proposed to build new prison beds and reimburse county jails for housing state inmates could be at risk if the private option isn't renewed during next month's legislative session. Beebe has said $89 million from his proposed budget relies on savings the state expects to see from the private option cutting down on uncompensated care costs.

Beebe also defended the state's estimate on the impact ending the private option would have on the state's budget.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

More than 50 registered to attend political candidates training seminar

More than 50 registered to attend political candidates training seminar

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (ECA) —More than 50 attendees from across Arkansas are registered to attend a political candidate training seminar on Tuesday, Jan. 21 from 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas offices at 1 Cooperative Way in Little Rock. The event is sponsored by the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas and the Arkansas Broadcasters Association.

“The seminar is designed to assist political candidates in preparing for and operating a successful campaign for public office,” said Carmie Henry, vice president of governmental affairs for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. “Running for elected office and serving as an elected official is one of the greatest privileges and responsibilities of United States citizens.”

ACRJ, Right to Life hold rallies at Capitol over weekend

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., (KTHV) - As the 41st anniversary of Roe vs. Wade draws near, several groups are marching around the state capitol to bring awareness to each of their causes. Arkansas Coalition for Reproductive Justice (ACRJ) and Arkansas' Right to Life noth made an appearance at the steps this weekend.

Saturday, the ACRJ held its fourth annual rally on the steps of the capitol. One of the projects the group is most excited about is sending postcards to lawmakers.

Chair of the rally Ali Taylor said education is the most important part of reproduction.

"Education is a primary objective because you cannot protect yourself and maintain your health if you're not educated about how to do that," Taylor explained.

McDaniel announces Ethics Commission appointment

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has announced that he has appointed a longtime educator and philanthropist to the Arkansas Ethics Commission.

McDaniel said Wednesday that he's appointed Sybil Jordan Hampton of Little Rock to the commission.

Hampton began her career as an elementary school teacher and has served on various civic and community boards. She retired in 2006 as president emeritus of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.

She replaces Rev. J. Barrington Minix Sr. for a term that expires in 2019.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Ross raises $540K in final months of '13 for bid

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mike Ross has raised more than $540,000 in the final months of 2013 in his bid for Arkansas' top office.

The former congressman's campaign said Wednesday that he ended 2013 with $2.5 million cash on hand and had raised $3.65 million since announcing his bid in April. Wednesday is the deadline for candidates to file their fundraising reports for the quarter that ended Dec. 31.

Ross is the only Democrat seeking the state's top office. Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe is barred by term limits from seeking re-election this year.

Former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson, state Rep. Debra Hobbs and Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman are seeking the GOP nomination. Hutchinson announced last week that he raised more than $445,000 during the quarter.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Same-Sex Marriage Initiative Group to start collecting signatures on Saturday

Same-Sex Marriage Initiative Group to start collecting signatures on Saturday

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AIME) - The Arkansas Initiative for Marriage Equality (AIME) is prepared to collect signatures for The Arkansas Same-Sex Marriage Amendment (ASSMA) after the certification of their popular name and ballot title by the Attorney General, the filing of the petition part with Elections, and the first batch of petitions being printed.  They will start collecting on January 18th at the Fourth Annual Rally for Reproductive Justice (1:00pm on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol).

Lawmakers back keeping Lieutenant Governor's office open

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - With Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr stepping down next month over ethics violations, legislative leaders say there's growing support to change the law to keep his office vacant and avoid a special election to fill the post for just a few months.

Gov. Mike Beebe said Monday that he was still researching whether the law requires him to call a special election to fill the vacancy for Darr, a Republican who announced Friday he would step down Feb. 1. Beebe said he was also researching whether Darr had actually resigned since he hadn't submitted a formal letter to the governor's office.

Legislative leaders are gauging support for changing the law during next month's legislative session to give Beebe the ability to not call a special election.

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