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Journal Archives

Hansen wins, preserves Democrats' control of Senate (Delaware)

Source: The Providence New Journal

Democrat Stephanie Hansen won the special election for the 10th District Senate seat Saturday, capturing 58 percent of the votes cast and preserving her party's control of the Legislature.

The race drew national attention and donations from across the country. Former Vice President Joe Biden and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley both campaigned on Hansen's behalf in the weeks leading up to the election.

"This was the first swing election in the country since the inauguration. It was the first chance for voters to rise up with one voice to say we’re bigger than the bullies," Hansen said during her victory speech at the Odessa Fire Company. "It was the first chance for voters to declare with one loud voice that we’re better than the politics of fear and division. What we accomplished together will have implications for our entire state and country, and I think tonight they’re hearing us loud and clear in all corners of this country – and certainly in D.C. and in Dover."

The picture perfect weather and heavy spending in the race between Hansen, Republican John Marino and Libertarian Joseph D. Lansendorfer helped draw a higher than typical special election crowd. Temperatures reached into the mid- to upper 70s in most of the state, until about 4:30 p.m. when a thunderstorm swept through the region.

Read more: http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/25/senate-district-10-race-draws-crowd-complaints/98375166/

Legislation that would give charters first right to public school buildings clears committee

A bill that would grant Arkansas charter schools the right to use public school facilities that are unused or underutilized advanced out of the Senate Education committee Wednesday on a voice vote with some dissent.

"It’s to prevent empty buildings from sitting and falling down while we’re not using them. It’s as simple as that," Sen. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale), lead sponsor of the bill, said in an interview. "It allows charter schools to access those buildings if they have a need and if the building’s not being used."

Senate Bill 308 also gives charter schools the right of first refusal to purchase or lease a public school facility at fair market value.

Democratic lawmakers voiced several concerns.

"We keep talking about local control, but this is taking away local control," Sen. Linda Chesterfield (D-Little Rock) said.

Read more: http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2017/02/22/legislation-that-would-give-charters-first-right-to-public-school-buildings-clears-committee

Bill to prompt Arkansas consumers to pay Internet sales tax advances

LITTLE ROCK — A bill that would require Internet sellers to tell their Arkansas customers they owe taxes on their purchases cleared a Senate committee Wednesday.

In a voice vote that was not unanimous, the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee gave a "do pass" recommendation to House Bill 1388 by Rep. Dan Douglas, R-Bentonville. The measure is one of two different proposals in the Legislature aimed at collecting sales taxes on Internet purchases.

Under Douglas' bill, which passed in the House earlier this month in a 54-26 vote, a seller that is based out of state and has no physical presence in Arkansas would be required to notify every Arkansas customer at the time of a purchase that under existing Arkansas law, the customer is required to pay the state a consumer use tax on Internet purchases.

Failing to provide the notification at the time of a purchase could be punished with a fine of $5 for each failure to provide notice.

Read more: http://www.swtimes.com/news/20170223/bill-to-prompt-arkansas-consumers-to-pay-internet-sales-tax-advances

7-year-old to Sen. Tom Cotton: Dont sacrifice PBS Kids for Trumps border wall

Although the anecdotal nature of town halls made it impossible to determine if the anger on display was artificially inflated or not, a few spoke with clear passion. One woman told Cotton that, were it not for the Affordable Care Act, three members of her family would be dead.

"I am an angry constituent," the woman said. "You work for us." She implored the senator to meet with her family to hear her story.

If there was a citizen in the Springdale crowd who received more applause, it was the last person to hold the microphone. Toby Smith — age 7 "but almost 8″ — told Cotton that he found President Donald Trump's comments about Mexico concerning.

"Donald Trump makes Mexicans not important to people who are in Arkansas who like Mexicans," Toby said, pointing out that those Arkansans include himself and his grandma. Crucially for Toby, too, Trump's proposed border with Mexico wall posed a threat to PBS Kids and the national parks.

"He is deleting all the parks and PBS Kids just to make a wall," Toby said, "and he shouldn't do that. He shouldn't do all that stuff just for the wall."

The complete article is at http://www.swtimes.com/news/20170223/7-year-old-to-sen-tom-cotton-dont-sacrifice-pbs-kids-for-trumps-border-wall .

Ex-police chief of Gateway held in slaying

Gateway Mayor Andrew Tillman was on the phone with his brother-in-law, who worked for the city, when the man was fatally shot by the town's former police chief, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

Grant Hardin, 48, was arrested Friday on a capital-murder count. Hardin, who lives at 15617 Gann Ridge Road in the northeast part of the county between Garfield and Gateway, was being held without bail Friday at the Benton County jail.

James Appleton's body was found about 4:15 p.m. Thursday inside a white pickup on Gann Ridge Road, according to Benton County Sheriff Shawn Holloway.

Holloway said Thursday evening that Appleton, 59, had been shot in the head. The body has been sent to the state Crime Laboratory in Little Rock.

Read more: http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2017/feb/26/ex-police-chief-held-in-slaying-2017022/

City's bias rule breaks law, Arkansas justices say

An ordinance passed by Fayetteville voters protecting people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity violates Act 137 of 2015, which prevents cities from enacting such protections, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday.

The court declined to rule on whether Act 137 was constitutional. Instead, it remanded the issue back to Washington County Circuit Court, which will decide the issue. A ruling in favor of the state would uphold the law, while a ruling in favor of the city could reinstate the ordinance, Fayetteville City Attorney Kit Williams said.

The Supreme Court's decision reverses the Circuit Judge Doug Martin's ruling in March 2016 that the ordinance did not violate Act 137, because the state already had protected people from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in a law on bullying and a law on domestic violence. That had been the city's argument.

The court ruled Thursday that the ordinance intended to "extend" protections, given its use of the word "extend" in its language.

Read more: http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2017/feb/24/bias-rule-breaks-law-justices-say-20170/?f=news-politics

Bill seeks Clintons' name off Little Rock airport

A Conway state senator has filed a bill that is aimed at requiring Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Field to change its name.

Under S̶e̶n̶a̶t̶e̶ ̶B̶i̶l̶l̶ ̶2̶2̶1̶1 Senate Bill 430* by Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, no municipal airport in Arkansas that is paid for "in whole or in part with public funds" can be named for a living person who was elected to federal, state, county or municipal office and received a salary for his service in the office.

Also under the bill, any affected airport would have until Jan. 1 for its commission to rename it.

The Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission changed the airport's name in 2012 to honor the Clintons' years of public service and their impact on the state. The airport's new name was formally dedicated in 2013. It is the state's largest airport.

Read more: http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2017/feb/24/bill-seeks-clintons-name-off-airport-20/?f=news-politics

House debates edits to tort-caps proposal

The state House had a lengthy debate Friday on dueling revisions offered for a proposed constitutional amendment that would set limits on damages awarded in civil lawsuits.

By the end of the nearly two-hour discussion, lawmakers voted to leave Senate Joint Resolution 8 as it had been approved as revised by a committee on Thursday: a proposal to set the maximum limit in lawsuit awards at $500,000 for punitive damages and the same for noneconomic damages, which are for losses that don't have a monetary value.

Those caps have been pitched by SJR8 supporters as a way of creating a better business environment by reducing the liability Arkansans and corporations would face from potential lawsuits. However, opponents argue such limits on awards reduce Arkansans' access to justice. Previous attempts to enact tort-award limits in Arkansas have been rejected by courts in recent years.

Both chambers of the General Assembly must approve the resolution as amended before it can be referred to the voters on the November 2018 ballot.

Read more: http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2017/feb/25/house-debates-edits-to-tort-caps-propos-1/?f=news-politics

A $500,000 cap on punitive damages is a drop in the hat for a large corporation and is so low that they may not have the incentive to correct the issue that lead to the award of damages. The $500,000 limit on noneconomic damages is also extremely low for an injury that will last for the life of the injured person or to the family who is handling the death of one of the economic providers within the household. The result of such low limits is that the injured person may have to enroll in other social service programs so that the cost is passed along to the taxpayer rather than being paid by the company that is either responsible or negligent pertaining to the cause of the injury.

State pay plan flies through House

A bill that would overhaul the pay plan for about 25,000 state employees at a projected cost of $57 million in the coming fiscal year zipped through the Arkansas House of Representatives on Friday.

The House voted 93-0 to send Senate Bill 289 by Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, to the governor.

The House's action came a day after the Senate voted 34-0 to approve it and three days after the Legislature's Joint Budget Committee recommended approval.

Rep. Karilyn Brown, R-Sherwood, said one of her constituents is a state employee who wondered how current employees will be treated compared with new hires under the plan. The plan would take effect in fiscal 2018, which starts July 1.

Read more: http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2017/feb/25/state-pay-plan-flies-through-house-2017-1/?f=news-politics

Man pleads guilty to church embezzlement

A Raytown man pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to embezzling more than $86,000 from Nativity of Mary Church and school in Independence and Sacred Heart of Guadalupe Church in Kansas City, where he worked or volunteered.

David Townley, 59, pleaded guilty in Kansas City federal court to one count each of wire fraud, mail fraud and tax evasion. He initially faced a 14-count indictment when charged in June 2016.

By pleading guilty, Townley admitted that he committed wire fraud while serving as business manager at Nativity from December 2006 to June 2013. His job gave him access to collections, donations and tuition payments, and according to court documents he skimmed tuition payments and frequent bank deposits separate from his and his wife's salary payments.

During that same time period, Townley admitted, he stole more than $47,700 from Guadalupe, where he had been volunteering since 2002. He had been in charge of paying bills, making book entries and preparing tax returns. According to court documents is wrote unauthorized checks to himself and third parties.

Read more: http://www.examiner.net/news/20170215/man-pleads-guilty-to-church-embezzlement
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