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Justice

Arkansas State Capitol
Wikipedia.org

The freshly minted Select Committee on Senate Ethics held its first meeting Thursday and elected its leadership. The Senate last week approved rule changes creating the committee to hear and investigate claims of corruption. Its formation comes on the heels of federal investigations that have led to five former lawmakers being convicted.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
Arkansas.gov

The latest effort to combat public corruption in Arkansas is coming from the state’s top law enforcement official.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced Wednesday her office is forming a Public Integrity Division under the existing Special Investigations Department to investigate claims of corruption against public officials.

File photo of the Jonesboro Police Department
Cynthia Barnhill / KASU Graphics Design, Photojournalism Intern

The CVS Pharmacy robbery in Jonesboro on June 21 may have been connected to a string of gang-related robberies that began in Indiana.

On Tuesday, the Jonesboro Police Department released more details about the robbery.  Two people were held hostage during the robbery.  Witnesses said the suspects were 3 males between 15 and 17 years old and dressed in dark-colored hoodies. 

Pixabay

Incoming Senate President Jim Hendren, R-Sulphur Springs, says he wants members to vote later this year to open up the Senate chamber and its committee meetings for live-streaming.

The Arkansas Supreme Court today overturned a lower court's ruling, and thus, an appointed commission and a state agency may resume rollout of the state's medical marijuana program, stalled since March.

But the court's majority opinion hewed closely to a procedural consideration, and its chief justice appears to be cautioning the Medical Marijuana Commission to re-evaluate its procedures.

The whole scene may end up back in court before long, says one lawyer close to the process.

Brandon Tabor / KASU News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the way for the state to launch its medical marijuana program, reversing and dismissing a judge's ruling that prevented officials from issuing the first license for businesses to grow the drug.

The discovery by the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks of an impaired pathologist on staff last autumn was finally made public Monday morning at a hastily called press conference inside the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks auditorium.

Three members of Arkansas's congressional delegation, regional and federal Veterans Administration officials, and myriad veterans group leaders were present.

Officials say after an internal investigation it has been determined that the medical records of more than 19,000 veteran patients from across the country treated at the Fayetteville VA will have to be externally reviewed for errors.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson
ArkansasHouse.org

Gov. Asa Hutchinson closed out the annual Arkansas Bar Association (ABA) meeting in Hot Springs on Friday (June 15) by urging Arkansans not to rush to judgment concerning the ongoing federal bribery probe involving his nephew and other state lawmakers, but he still used the forum to lay out a few ethics proposals he hopes will help address legislative misconduct at the State Capitol.

Arkansans seeking a medical abortion with the aid of mifepristone or misoprostol will have to find them in another state.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week not to hear an appeal from Planned Parenthood paves the way for Act 577 of 2015, and conservatives in the state are applauding the court’s decision.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction. Arkansas is a pro-life state, and we will continue to be so,” says state Rep. Andy Mayberry (R-Hensley), president of the Arkansas Right to Life board.

Just minutes ahead of a scheduled hearing in Pulaski County Circuit Court, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge asked a federal court to take up a lawsuit against her that alleges she’s obstructing ballot initiatives.

It did, and the hearing was postponed.

In a statement afterward, her office said the attorney general “removed this case to federal court because the plaintiffs asserted claims under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, the federal court is the proper forum to hear the case."

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