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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A joint convention of the Tennessee General Assembly has approved new terms for three constitutional officers.

On Wednesday, lawmakers elected Secretary of State Tre Hargett to another four-year term, while Comptroller Justin Wilson and Treasurer David Lillard will serve two-year terms.

All three were first elected in 2009 after Republicans took control of the Legislature from Democrats.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A Marianna man who says he plotted to defraud a feeding program for children in low-income areas has been sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to make $380,000 in restitution.

The U.S. Attorney's office said 34-year-old James E. Franklin Jr. was sentenced Tuesday for conspiring to commit wire fraud. After completing his prison term, he will be on two years' supervised release.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission says it will allow 32 dispensaries to be evenly distributed among the state's four congressional districts.

Wikipedia.org

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is urging the state Legislature to support his plans including a $50 million dollar tax cut for more than 600,000 low income residents. 

Hutchinson delivered the State of the State address to a joint session of the state House and Senate. He delivered the address on the second day of the 91st General Assembly. 

ArkansasHouse.org

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Latest on Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson addressing the state Legislature on the second day of the 2017 session (all times local):

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A new entertainment complex featuring exhibits and restaurants focused on the life and career of Elvis Presley is scheduled to open in March at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.

The 200,000-square foot complex will be located across the street from Graceland, Presley's longtime home. The house was turned into a museum after his death in 1977. It has attracted Presley fans and tourists from around the world ever since.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A state lawmaker is seeking an end to Tennessee's firearm silencer ban in the name of "hearing protection."

Republican Rep. Tilman Goins of Morristown has filed legislation that would remove silencers from the list of weapons banned for having "no common lawful purpose." Others include machine guns, short-barreled shotguns, brass knuckles and explosive weapons.

The possession, manufacture or sale of a silencer is considered a felony under current state law.

Goins has dubbed his bill the "Tennessee Hearing Protection Act" of 2017.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is making his case to lawmakers for a legislative agenda that includes a $50 million plan to cut taxes for low-income residents.

Mark Smith

In this congressional interview, KASU News Director Johnathan Reaves talks to US Senator John Boozman about this week's Senate confirmation hearings, Obamacare and his priorities in his second term.  Click on the Listen button to hear the entire interview.  

pixabay.com

Craighead County's Treasurer says he is nervously watching the county's year end budget numbers through the rest of the month.  

The Delta Regional Authority has donated $1 million toward the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub’s I-Fund, a funding and training program for small businesses started by college students. The program will expand in its geographical reach and will be called the Delta I-Fund, according to an email newsletter from the Hub.

The next two 12-week sessions will be in the fall, offering $50,000 in potential funding for each startup. All companies accepted to the program will receive $5,000. Participants will be selected by a five-person committee, according to the Hub.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State lawmakers convene the 110th Tennessee General Assembly on Tuesday with new leadership in the Senate and a House speaker eying a gubernatorial bid.

Both chambers featuring heavy Republican majorities are scheduled to begin their organizational sessions at noon Central.

Longtime Sen. Randy McNally of Oak Ridge is the Republican nominee to succeed Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville. Rep. Beth Harwell of Nashville is the GOP choice to stay in charge of the House, though her 40-30 nomination vote was closer than she hoped.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas officials say the number of mumps cases in the northwest part of the state appears to be leveling off.

The Arkansas Department of Health says there were 2,400 confirmed or strongly suspected cases as of Jan. 5. State epidemiologist Dr. Dirk Haselow says there are about 10 new cases of mumps per day. According to Haselow, health officials were seeing 40 or 50 new cases a day at the height of the outbreak.

Mumps symptoms can include fever, aches and swollen salivary glands.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A recent census says a majority of Arkansas' work-related deaths in 2015 were linked to transportation.

The Arkansas Department of Labor's census shows the state had 74 work-related deaths in 2015. That is up from 67 the previous year.

More than half of the 2015 deaths, about 55 percent, were the result of transportation incidents. The transportation-related fatalities include 33 roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles, three aircraft incidents and one water vehicle incident.

Arkansas State University

JONESBORO – The Endangered Wolf Center will present "Red Wolf Revival," the award-winning short documentary by the Nestbox Collective and Susannah Smith, at Arkansas State University.

Open to students, faculty and the public, the screening will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, in the third floor auditorium of the Reng Student Union (GPS 101 N. Caraway Road).  The North Parking Facility, adjacent to the Union, will be open to the public at no charge.

Wikipedia.org

This is an interview between KASU's News Director Johnathan Reaves and U.S. Representative Rick Crawford about several topics, including the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.  Click on the "Listen" button to hear the interview.

Wikipedia

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Eric Greitens has been many things in his 42 years, including a Navy SEAL officer, Rhodes scholar, White House fellow, charity founder, best-selling author and inspirational speaker.

On Monday, he'll begin his new life as a public servant when he is sworn in as Missouri's 56th governor during a ceremony in front of the Capitol building.

Greitens, a Republican who has portrayed himself as a political outsider, has been promising to spur economic growth and shake up the state capital.

Pixabay

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Divisions within the Republican Party over tax cuts and questions about the launch of the Bible Belt's first medical marijuana program are expected to dominate the agenda when Arkansas lawmakers return to the Capitol this week to start their 2017 session.

Wikipedia.org

  This is Governor Asa Hutchinson's weekly address as he talks about the legislative session that starts Monday:

This week, the State Capitol was buzzing as the final days of preparation before the upcoming legislative session came to an end. Monday, January 9, 2017 will mark the beginning of the 91st General Assembly of the Arkansas State Legislature.

Yesterday

NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart says it named John Furner as CEO of its Sam's Club stores to replace Rosalind Brewer, who is retiring next month.

Furner, who is 42, will head the membership-only warehouse chain next month. Furner has been Sam's Club's chief merchandising officer since October 2015. Wal-Mart says he first joined the company as an hourly store associate in 1993.

Brewer will leave her position February 1. The 54-year-old has been CEO of Sam's Club for five years and has had a variety of executive roles since joining the company about 11 years ago.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The lawyers who secured a $45 million settlement for Marlboro Lights smokers in Arkansas have asked a judge to decide how much they should be paid.

The lawyers didn't ask for a specific amount in their payment petition last month, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2iQBov5 ) reported. But they said there is precedent that would allow them between $12.4 million and $30 million from the settlement fund, based on the value a judge places on their representation.

Gov. Hutchinson and Facebook Announce Arkansas & Facebook Techstart Partnership

Jan 5, 2017
pixabay.com

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the details of an agreement with Facebook, Inc. to launch the company’s Techstart program in Arkansas high schools. The Arkansas & Facebook Techstart Partnership is a first-of-its-kind partnership with the social media giant. Under the agreement, Facebook will donate 500 Virtual Reality (VR) classroom kits, including computers, cameras and the Oculus Rift equipment necessary to administer the Techstart program.  

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

 Almost 700 veterans from Northeast Arkansas are taken to the Veterans Administration hospitals in Little Rock and Memphis.  Disabled American Veterans is getting a new van to replace one that had over 170-thousand miles.  Vans take veterans to Little Rock on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and to Memphis on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Lloyd Davis has been volunteer driving for six years.  He says the service is one that is needed in this region.

Craighead County-Jonesboro Public Library

In 2017, the Craighead County-Jonesboro Public Library turns 100 years.   Public Relations Manager Brandi Hodges talks with KASU News Director Johnathan Reaves about the history of the museum and how the museum is evolving in a digital age.  Click on the Listen button for the entire interview.  

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he expects a tougher fight over his $50 million tax cut plan than what he encountered two years ago when he won approval for a much larger reduction for thousands of middle-income taxpayers.
 
In an interview Thursday with The Associated Press ahead of the legislative session, Hutchinson said he wouldn't support rolling back a grocery tax cut enacted in 2013 to help pay for a larger tax cut. The Republican governor has proposed cutting taxes for thousands of low-income residents.
 

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