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Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Shelby County Commission has decided against naming an interim replacement for a Republican state House member who resigned amid a sexual harassment investigation.

The Commercial Appeal reports (http://memne.ws/2niIydu) that commissioners voted 6-5 against a resolution to schedule the appointment to replace former Rep. Mark Lovell. That means nobody will hold the seat until after the general election scheduled for June 15.

The primary will be held on April 27.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal that would create a school voucher pilot program for Shelby County has passed in a House committee following rancorous debate.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Harry Brooks, a Republican from Knoxville, would allow public school children to use taxpayer money to go to private schools.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State Sen. Mae Beavers, the sponsor of a bill seeking to require students to use restrooms and locker rooms of the sex on their birth certificates, says she is exploring a bid for Tennessee governor.

The Mt. Juliet Republican tells WKRN-TV (http://bit.ly/2nOkX1T) she's considering entering the race to succeed term-limited Gov. Bill Haslam in the event Sen. Mark Green gets appointed to President Donald Trump's administration.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected an effort to block the execution for one of eight inmates who are scheduled to be put to death next month.

Justices on Thursday denied a motion to recall the mandate in the case of convicted murderer Jason McGehee, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection on April 27. McGehee's attorney had asked justices to vacate his death sentence and send his case back to a lower court for resentencing, citing problems with the verdict forms in his resentencing.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Results from a monthly survey of business supply managers suggest manufacturing is boosting economic conditions in nine Midwest and Plains states.

The Mid-America Business Conditions Index report released Wednesday says the overall economic index for the region rose to 60.5 in February from 54.7 in January. It's the highest figure since April 2014 and the fourth monthly increase in a row.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says the increases point to the improving regional manufacturing economy.

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An emergency management official says storms that swept through a northern Arkansas county damaged 40 homes and injured at least 10 people.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Severe weather is in the forecast early this week in Arkansas as a strong storm system is set to cross the state.

AState Carl R. Reng Center Student Union
Arkansas State University Jonesboro Website (astate.edu)

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas State University has suspended all fraternity and sorority social events until April 1 after a student was accused of raping a woman at a fraternity party.

The letter was sent out Tuesday by the university's Greek Life officials. The suspension includes "all registered social events, drop-ins, formals, semi-formals, date nights" or any other social events.

The university says it will host mandatory "risk-reduction" training sessions in March for fraternity and sorority members.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Middle Tennessee State University poll finds that registered voters favor Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to pay for a new road program primarily through a fuel tax hike by a margin of 38 percent to 28 percent.

The remaining third of the 600 people surveyed said they weren't sure about the governor's plan. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Kings of Leon, Snoop Dogg, Soundgarden and Sturgill Simpson are among the musical acts scheduled to perform at the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis in May.

Festival officials also announced Wednesday that Widespread Panic, Death Cab for Cutie, Wiz Khalifa, Booker T. Jones, Bush, Ludacris and Jill Scott also are in the lineup for the 41st installment of the annual three-day festival.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is shunning the state plane and instead relying on private donors and campaign funds to pay for his flights.

Since taking office in January, the Republican governor has not flown on a state airplane. That's a significant departure from his Democratic predecessor, Jay Nixon, who frequently used state airplanes.

Greitens' Chief of Staff Michael Roche says the governor is committed to spending as little of the taxpayers' money as possible on travel.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence plans to talk about job growth while visiting an equipment and engine dealer in Missouri.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens will join Pence on Wednesday at the Fabick Cat headquarters in Fenton, Missouri, outside of St. Louis. Pence will meet with workers, get a tour of the facility, and give a speech at 1:30 p.m.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court has announced that free legal clinics will be held around the state to help citizens who find themselves in need of a lawyer's advice on matters outside criminal law. It's all part of the court's initiative known as Access to Justice, a program aimed at helping a growing number of people find assistance when they can't afford an attorney.

Arkansas State University

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas State University officials are hoping to create a council to address the campus climate.

The national Campus Climate Network Group defines campus climate as behaviors in a work or learning environment "ranging from subtle to cumulative to dramatic" that can influence whether someone feels safe, valued and respected.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Department of Agriculture says the manufacturer of Amish Classic Colby deli horn cheese has recalled several lot numbers and instructed wholesalers and retailers to stop selling their stock.

The action comes after the Agriculture Department discovered listeria monocytogenes in a sample of the cheese from a store in Trenton, Tennessee.

State agriculture officials urged anyone who purchased any of the items not to consume them. No illnesses have been reported in Tennessee.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Lawmakers are questioning a newly revised policy allowing visitors to bring firearms into the Missouri Capitol.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/2k83UVx) reports that Gov. Eric Greitens' administration lifted a month-old prohibition Monday on allowing people with concealed-weapon permits to carry their guns into the statehouse.

Members of a Senate panel recommended Wednesday to look at potentially changing the rules that govern what happens with firearms inside the Capitol.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A bill proposed in Tennessee's legislature would create a sales tax holiday for guns and ammunition.

The bill, filed Wednesday by Republican Rep. Dennis Powers, calls for a "Second Amendment sales tax holiday" on the first weekend of September each year.

Knoxville station WBIR reports that Tennessee already has a sales tax holiday at the end of the summer that's meant for back-to-school shopping. Last year, Louisiana and Mississippi each hosted sales tax holiday weekends on guns.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law a bill that links college and university funding to factors such as the number of students who complete their degrees.

Hutchinson on Wednesday signed the bill that requires the state to adopt a "performance-based" model for funding higher education rather than basing the money on enrollment.

Hutchinson has said he'll call for increasing higher education funding by $10 million in 2018 if the plan was approved.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has appointed two new heads of the state's emergency management and fire safety divisions.

Greitens appointed Ernie Rhodes to be the director of the State Emergency Management Agency and Tim Bean as the state Fire Marshal in an announcement Wednesday at the St. Louis Fire Academy.

Rhodes currently serves as the fire chief for the West County EMS and Fire Protection District. He previously served as the director of Emergency Management in St. Charles, Missouri.

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Three months after losing his bid for the U.S. Senate, former Democratic Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander is launching an organization that's taking a new approach to fight what he calls voter suppression efforts.

Kander on Tuesday announced an organization called Let America Vote. A 27-member advisory board includes elected officials from across the country, communications leaders, and activists that include Martin Luther King III, the son of the slain civil rights leader.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Parts of Arkansas could see stormy weather late Monday and early Tuesday with damaging winds and large hail the biggest threats.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, says parts of the state are at a slight risk Monday for bad weather, including Fort Smith and Fayetteville. Forecasters say isolated thunderstorms could develop Monday afternoon, but the main threat will be later in the evening.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — About 80 members of the Arkansas National Guard are headed to the Middle East for a deployment in Kuwait.

A send-off ceremony was held Sunday at Camp Robinson for members of the 77th Combat Aviation Brigade. The group includes aviation support personnel who will provide helicopter maintenance and operation in Kuwait.

Officials with the Guard say about 400 Arkansans are now deployed to Kuwait, while another 700 National Guard members are stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas, as they prepare for a deployment to Africa.

Eric Greitens Official Facebook Page

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' budget proposal released Thursday for the 2018 fiscal year (all times local):

11:10 a.m.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas finance officials say the state's revenue has fallen $57 million below forecast this year, with word coming the day after the state's Republican governor signed into law an income tax cut that'll take effect in two years.

The state Department of Finance and Administration on Thursday said the state's net available revenue last month totaled $535.9 million, which was $15.9 million below the same month last year and $47.1 million below forecast. The state's net revenue for the fiscal year that began July 1 totals $3.1 billion.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — The director of the Missouri State Parks division says he's been removed from the job without explanation.

Bill Bryan told The Springfield News-Leader (http://sgfnow.co/2ktFgTG) he was told Jan. 23 that his services were no longer needed. He says no explanation was given and he didn't ask for one.

Bryan was appointed by former Gov. Jay Nixon in 2009 to head the state parks department. During his tenure, the park system added seven new parks.

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