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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal judge has blocked an Arkansas anti-loitering law that opponents say unfairly targets panhandlers, calling it "plainly unconstitutional" and saying that other laws address the safety concerns state officials cited as the need for the restrictions.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A "semi-retired" rancher and farmer who hasn't sought political office before said Tuesday he's challenging an Arkansas Republican congressman as a Democrat next year.

Mike Nelson said he is seeking the party's nomination to challenge Republican Rep. Rick Crawford in the 1st Congressional District. Crawford has held the seat since 2010 and is seeking re-election next year.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' highest court is seeking an 11 percent pay raise for its justices, a move the chief justice says is needed to be in line with what other state supreme courts in the country are paid.

Chief Justice Dan Kemp on Tuesday outlined the proposal to the Independent Citizens Commission, which sets salaries for the state's top elected officials.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas is cutting its budget for the coming fiscal year by $43 million, state officials announced Tuesday, days after the governor ordered reductions in this year's funding for state agencies.

The Department of Finance and Administration lowered its forecast for the state's revenue for the fiscal year that begins July 1 to $5.4 billion. The reductions will affect programs for about a dozen agencies under a lower priority category of the state's budget.

MICHAEL HIBBLEN / KUAR NEWS

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers have approved an effort to scale back the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion by moving 60,000 people off the program and to require some remaining participants to work.

The Senate and House gave final approval to identical measures Wednesday allowing the state to seek federal approval for the new restrictions to the program, which covers more than 300,000 people. The program was created in 2013 as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health overhaul.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Two condemned Arkansas killers who admit they're guilty but fear their poor health could lead to extreme pain during lethal injections set for Monday might become the first inmates put to death in a double execution in the U.S. in more than 16 years.

Jack Jones and Marcel Williams are set to die in what would be the second and third executions in Arkansas this month. The state set an aggressive plan to execute several inmates before one of its lethal injection drugs expires at the end of April.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas judge who participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration after issuing an order blocking the state's executions is defending the move, saying his ruling was guided by property law and not his views on capital punishment.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The American Bar Association urged Arkansas on Tuesday to back away from its unprecedented plan to put seven men to death over 10 days starting next week, with the group saying it was worried the timeline could undermine due process for the inmates facing lethal injection.

ABA President Linda Klein asked Gov. Asa Hutchinson to give more time between the executions, which are set to begin on April 17. Hutchinson scheduled the executions to take place before the state's supply of midazolam, a controversial sedative used in lethal injections, expires.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' governor says he has signed legislation expanding the locations where concealed handguns are allowed in the state to include colleges, some bars, government buildings and even the state Capitol.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Supreme Court justices have questioned whether a city's ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity flies in the face of a 2015 state law that was intended to prevent local LGBT protections.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas Senate panel has advanced Gov. Asa Hutchinson's $50 million proposal to cut income taxes for more than 600,000 low-income residents.

The Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee on Wednesday endorsed the Republican governor's proposal to cut income taxes for those making less than $21,000 a year. The legislation would also form a task force to recommend further tax cuts before the 2019 legislative session.

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.

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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.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — What a difference one election can make.

The approval of a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana and Donald Trump's surprise White House win weren't just two of the biggest political stories in Arkansas. They also upended the agenda for the upcoming legislative session and are likely to dominate Arkansas' politics in 2017.

From establishing the first medical pot program in the Bible Belt to the future of a hybrid Medicaid expansion program covering thousands, the state faces plenty of questions in the new year.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party said Thursday he won't seek another term, announcing his departure after three years that have been marked by Republicans making widespread gains in what had once been a Democratic holdout in the South.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Opponents of an effort to build a Ten Commandments monument near Arkansas' Capitol urged a panel to reject the statue on grounds that it could bring lawsuits, while the lawmaker behind the display said Wednesday that the only decision remaining is where to install it.

The privately funded monument is, by law, allowed to be on Capitol grounds. But the Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission must issue its recommendation on the monument's location and design to Secretary of State Mark Martin before he can approve it.