KASU

Associated Press

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas State Medical Board has approved draft regulations aimed at reducing opioid abuse.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the board unanimously voted in favor of the regulations Thursday. The requirements are based on guidelines issued last year by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and his senior staff are using a secretive app that erases messages after they're read.

The Kansas City Star reports that use of the Confide app by the governor and some of his top advisers is raising concerns that it could be used to undermine open records laws. But it's unclear whether the governor and his staff are using the app for state business, personal use or campaign work.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An eastern Arkansas woman has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison after being convicted in a scheme to steal millions of dollars from a federal program meant to feed underprivileged children.

Jacqueline Mills was sentenced in U.S. District Court on Wednesday. The 42-year-old must also pay more than $3 million in restitution.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Transportation officials in Arkansas are considering an $8.4 billion funding plan for highway and bridge maintenance.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the Arkansas Highway Commission met Wednesday to look at a potential new funding program for lawmakers or voters to consider next year.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - More than a dozen Arkansas residents are headed to Washington, D.C., to join thousands from across the country at a rally in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the group of residents left Little Rock on Tuesday. Officials with the organizing groups United We Dream and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement say they expect up to 17,000 people to attend Wednesday's rally.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Monsanto has asked a judge to prevent Arkansas lawmakers from banning the use of a weed killer that farmers in several states have said drifts onto their crops and causes widespread damage.

The Missouri-based agribusiness asked a Pulaski County judge to issue a preliminary injunction preventing the state from banning dicamba's use while the company challenges a prohibition approved by the Arkansas Plant Board last month.

BENTON, Ark. (AP) - A former Saline County prosecuting attorney will become a Saline County Circuit Court judge.

The Saline Courier reports that Gov. Asa Hutchinson has chosen Barbara Womack Webb to succeed current Judge Bobby McCallister.

McCallister has been suspended and announced he will resign Dec. 15 as he faces charges of failing to pay or file taxes.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - State figures show that enrollment in Arkansas' Medicaid expansion program increased by 2,100 people in October.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the average monthly cost per enrollee fell by nearly $3.70 during the same month.

The figures were released on Monday by the Arkansas Department of Human Services. The increase in enrollment brings the number of people in the program to almost 310,000.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - An analysis has found that substance abuse annually costs Tennessee more than $2 billion, with most of it attributed to lost income from people who've fallen out of the labor market.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas children and pregnant women who are covered by a federal health insurance program will continue to be covered until the end of March. But the plan's future after that is uncertain.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that Congress hasn't reauthorized funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, which covers more than 48,000 children and pregnant women in Arkansas. The $15 billion program covers nearly 9 million children and 370,000 pregnant women nationwide.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Severe thunderstorms with high winds, hail and possibly tornadoes were forecast from the Southern Plains to Illinois and Iowa as a strong cold front approaches the region.

The Storm Prediction Center said the strongest storms were possible from the Ozarks into northeastern Missouri. Humid air extended from Texas into Iowa on Monday morning, but a cold front was expected to cross the region overnight.

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - Insurance companies have classified Missouri as one of three states deemed "high-risk" for deer collisions.

The Joplin Globe reports that the other two states considered high-risk are Arkansas and Kansas, according to State Farm.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says that accidents involving deer are common, but fatalities and injuries are rare. The patrol reported three deaths and just more than 300 injuries from deer collisions in 2015.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission says the highest-scoring bids to become the first legal growers of medical marijuana in the state will be announced Feb. 27.

The five-member commission will receive 95 applications for one of the state's five cultivator licenses in two weeks and will review and score the applications by Feb. 20.

In addition to the 95 applications to grow marijuana, the commission received 227 applications in October to open one of 32 dispensaries where the drug will be sold to qualifying patients.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas finance officials say better than expected individual income tax collections helped push the state's revenue above forecast last month.

The Department of Finance and Administration on Monday said the state's net available revenue in November totaled $379 million, which is $1.7 million below the same month last year but $9.4 million above forecast. The state's net available revenue so far for the fiscal year that began July 1 is $2.1 billion, which is $26.8 million below forecast.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas children and pregnant women who are covered by a federal health insurance program will continue to be covered until the end of March. But the plan's future after that is uncertain.

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