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Arkansas State Capitol

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Members of the Arkansas Legislature ended their 2018 session Monday but will return to the state Capitol on Tuesday to address concerns over reimbursement rates arranged by pharmacy benefit managers in state health insurance plans and to tweak laws that could pinch off some federal highway funding.

Picture of the Cummins Unit sign of the Arkansas Department of Corrections.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — One of the three drugs Arkansas uses in its death chamber expires Thursday, and unless the state can find a new supply it won't be able to execute three men with 11th-hour appeals pending at the state Supreme Court.

Joseph Boeckmann
Pulaski County Sheriff's Office via KUAR

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A former Arkansas judge who's set to be sentenced Wednesday for giving lighter sentences to male defendants in return for sexual favors had been investigated for similar crimes while a part-time prosecutor more than two decades ago, but federal prosecutors decided not to charge him because he agreed to step down, according to court records filed ahead of a hearing.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — State health officials say two dozen Arkansas residents died from the flu last week, pushing the total for the season to 94, and cautioned that based on previous outbreaks the state could see a total of about 270 before spring.

A number that high would be a modern record, passing the 109 deaths from three years ago. No other year this century has had more than 76.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Lawyers for the state of Arkansas said Thursday that two men who won temporary stays during a flurry of executions last spring never reached the minimum standards necessary to trigger aid from mental health professionals throughout their trials.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is visiting Arkansas to hold a roundtable discussion with the state's governor and to meet with farmers.

Perdue is participating in a roundtable lunch with Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the state's agriculture leaders at the governor's mansion on Friday. The event will include a question-and-answer session moderated by state Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward.

Perdue is also scheduled to tour a farm in England in Lonoke County on Friday afternoon.

updated 11:44 am - LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A Roman Catholic bishop who has led prayers at Arkansas anti-abortion rallies says he will not take part this year because its featured speaker is a public official who actively pushed for the state's aggressive execution schedule last year.

Bishop Anthony Taylor wrote an open letter to the state's 125,000 Catholics inviting them to special Masses instead of attending the event featuring Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas has identified a New York pharmaceutical company as the maker of one of its lethal injection drugs, and the company says it doesn't want any of its products used in executions.

A package insert for the state's supply of midazolam released by the state Wednesday identifies Athenex as the maker of the drug, one of three used in Arkansas' lethal injection process. The insert was included as part of an affidavit filed by state Correction Department officials.

Judge to decide if state must provide execution drug labels

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas judge has opened a hearing on whether the state must give a lawyer package labels from recently acquired execution drugs.

Lawyer Steven Shults says the state's Freedom of Information law requires Arkansas to hand over information about the drugs.

Lawyers for the state say a different portion of the law says the material must be kept secret.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An aggressive effort by the state of Arkansas to carry out its first executions since 2005 stalled for the second time this week as courts blocked lethal injections planned for Thursday, prompting Gov. Asa Hutchinson to express frustration at what he believes are legal delaying tactics.

While the latest court rulings could be overturned, Arkansas now faces an uphill battle to execute any inmates before the end of April, when one of its lethal injection drugs expires.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Lawyers for Arkansas inmates condemned to die Thursday in a planned double execution insist they are innocent and one of them says advanced DNA techniques could show he didn't kill a woman in 1993.

Their strategy to win stays of execution is in marked contrast to the first two inmates who faced the death chamber in Arkansas and were spared Monday by arguing they should not be put to death because of mental health issues.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' parole board is suggesting that Gov. Asa Hutchinson extend mercy to one of eight inmates scheduled to die in a series of double-executions this month.

The Republican governor is not bound by the board's recommendation Wednesday that he spare Jason McGehee's life. The 40-year-old inmate was convicted of killing a teenager who had told police about a theft ring operating in far northern Arkansas.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — How high is too high for a pile of chicken manure?

Eight feet, apparently.

Chicken waste is an excellent fertilizer, but with the growing season still weeks away it's piling up in barns across the South. To reduce the risk of fire from spontaneous combustion, poultry experts are warning farmers that piles 6½- to 7-feet high are high enough. One pile caught fire in western Arkansas this week, triggering a wildfire that destroyed a mobile home.