KASU

Associated Press

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A federal civil rights lawsuit has been filed on behalf of five people who say they were discriminated against while trying to take part in a Black Lives Matter demonstration at Elvis Presley's Graceland.

The protest coincided with an annual candlelight vigil held by fans at the singer's home on the Aug. 15 anniversary of his death.

Graceland owner, Elvis Presley Enterprises, and the city of Memphis are named in the complaint filed Wednesday.

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — Renasant Corp. announced Tuesday that it's buying Metropolitan BancGroup for $190 million in stock.

The Tupelo-based bank says acquiring Metropolitan's $1.2 billion in assets will boost its market share, making it the fifth-largest bank in the metro areas of Memphis, Tennessee, and Jackson, Mississippi. Metropolitan has eight total offices, four in the Jackson area and two apiece in Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A Pulaski County Circuit judge approved paying $29.1 million from a lawsuit settlement fund to more than 21,000 Marlboro Lights users and their attorneys.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2iIDrgI) reports the $45 million settlement fund was set up to end a 13-year-old lawsuit alleging that Philip Morris USA and parent company Altria Group misled smokers in Arkansas by advertising Marlboro Lights and Ultra-Lights were safer than regular cigarettes.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' State of the State address Tuesday (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

Republican legislative leaders are planning to get to work quickly on some of the priorities outlined by Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens in his first State of the State address.

In a nearly 40-minute speech Tuesday night, the new Republican governor said Missouri could grow its economy by limiting union powers and liability lawsuits against businesses, cutting state regulations and revamping its tax laws.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A contentious right-to-work bill to ban mandatory union fees is set to be debated by the Missouri House.

On Wednesday, the Republican-led House is expected to take up the measure for an initial vote of approval. A final vote to send the legislation to the Senate could come as early as Thursday.

GOP legislative leaders strongly support right to work. It's on the fast-track to passage now backers have support from the state's new Republican governor, Eric Greitens.

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NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart plans to add about 10,000 retail jobs in the U.S. as it opens new stores and expands existing locations.

The world's biggest retailer said Tuesday that there will also be about 24,000 construction jobs as well.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says there will be 59 new, expanded and relocated Walmart and Sam's Clubs facilities.

 COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Ameren Missouri electric customers will now have to pay about $3 more on their monthly bill to support energy efficiency efforts by the utility company. The Missouri Public Service Commission says the charge will apply to the bills of 4,118 customers in Boone County and 1.26 million customers statewide.

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Arkansas' Crawford named to House Intelligence Committee

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — President Barack Obama's administration has scaled back new safety measures for the sprawling network of fuel pipelines that crisscross the United States after oil industry complaints over the cost.

The administration has released long-delayed regulations for almost 200,000 miles of pipelines that transport oil, gasoline and other hazardous liquids.

The changes Friday include more rigorous inspections of lines in rural areas and new requirements for leak detection systems.

Wikipedia

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The National Park Service has awarded Memphis a $400,000 grant for preservation of the historic Clayborn Temple, which served as the home base for the sanitation workers strike that brought civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. to the city.

The grant was announced Thursday, along with funding for more than 35 other projects associated with the civil rights movement across the country.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Some Republican lawmakers in Missouri are proposing to overhaul the state's Medicaid system without waiting for President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress to act first.

A Senate committee heard testimony Wednesday on a bill that would direct the state Department of Social Services to seek a "global waiver" from federal Medicaid requirements to remake the state's program.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
 

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission is discussing whether to revive a $10 million cost share program for improving state roads and bridges.
 
The program discussed during a budget workshop Wednesday would match state dollars with local funds to complete projects that otherwise would not have been done so quickly if they relied solely on state funding.
 
The program was suspended in January 2014 amid declining revenues.
 

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Gov. Asa Hutchinson has approved proposed regulations by the Arkansas State Plant Board to limit use of herbicides containing dicamba.
 
Hutchinson said Wednesday that he's determined the proposal will not cause unnecessary burdens on businesses, but said the methods and research used by the board must be clearly defined and he wants the board to provide "clear rules" within 45 days.
 

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Prosecutors say an Arkansas lawmaker set to leave office next week has pleaded guilty to conspiracy for arranging bribes while he was a member of the state House.
 
The U.S. Attorney's office says 42-year-old Republican Rep. Micah Neal of Springdale pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. A sentencing date was not announced.
 
A phone call to a number listed for Neal was not immediately returned.
 

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