Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tuesday daybreak summary

Scott Cain reports, in today’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, that, barring some NCAA tournament miracle, University of Arkansas basketball coach Stan Heath will be fired.

Toyota did not select Marion for an auto manufacturing plant but rather Tupelo, Miss., Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and the editor of a business and economic development magazine that has accurately predicted past locations for U.S. auto plants said Monday.

The Arkansas State Police will pay $1 million in a settlement agreement to the estate of Joseph Erin Hamley who was shot and killed by a state trooper last year in a case of mistaken identity. The State Police admitted no wrongdoing, and the Hamley family agreed the settlement would satisfy all claims against the state.

Legislation that would authorize police to pull over drivers and ticket them for not wearing seat belts received a Senate committee's endorsement Monday.

he House on Monday approved two funding bills that would increase public school funding in Arkansas by about $214 per student by 2008-09.

Gov. Mike Beebe hailed an overwhelming endorsement from school superintendents as a sign that the long-running Lake View funding case may soon end. Beebe said he was encouraged by school administrators' support of his funding proposals for the next two years and that he hoped court-appointed special masters also would embrace the plan.

North Little Rock and Pulaski County Special school district officials have congratulated the Little Rock School District for its release last week from federal court supervision of desegregation efforts, but said they don’t necessarily see it as accelerating the pace for the release of their own districts from that supervision.

A coalition that campaigned last year for a statewide minimum wage increase opposes a proposal to reduce the minimum hourly wage Arkansas employers must pay to workers who receive tips. Senate Bill 361 by Sen. Barbara Horn of Foreman would turn back progress the state made in October when a law took effect to increase the state minimum wage from the federal level of $5.15 an hour to $6.25 an hour.

Under a bill endorsed by a legislative committee Monday, governing boards for cities with at least 500 people would be given the option of granting 3 percent cost-of-living increases each year in the pensions of mayors, city clerks or clerk-treasurers who retire in local retirement plans.

Sen. Sue Madison filed a bill Monday asking for $15 million to close and replace the Alexander Juvenile Correctional Facility, a lockup that has been plagued by allegations of abuse, civil rights violations, deaths and inadequate buildings for at least a decade.

Leaders of the Arkansas House of Representatives want a new office building for legislators, and are asking for $35 million to pay for it. Most of the 100 members of the House don’t have their own offices in the state Capitol, and some legislative committee rooms are packed during hearings. House leaders say they want a building where each member will be able to meet privately with constituents and lobbyists.

Dumas High School and Reed Elementary are undergoing repairs after Saturday’s tornadoes struck Dumas. Schools are expected to resume Thursday or Friday after the expected return of electric service Wednesday.

Several businesses, including three major industries with almost 500 employees, damaged or destroyed by a Saturday afternoon tornado at Dumas are planning to rebuild, and one store manager is being credited with saving lives. Quick action by Jay Jarrett, manager of The Mad Butcher, saved “several lives” on Saturday, district manager Bruce Broughton told the Pine Bluff Commercial.

Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell and wife, Kelly Harrison Campbell, along with bail bondsman Bobby Junior Cox, will face a number of criminal counts in a wideranging case alleging illegal drugs, illicit sex and abuse of a jail inmate-labor program in a wide ranging corruption trial. Jury selection will begin at 9 a.m. today in Cabot District Court, where the trial is being held to avoid tying up a circuit courtroom for such an extended period.

Arkansas Securities Department Commissioner Michael Johnson has issued a cease-and-desist order to stop the marketing of investment contracts by two Berryvillebased entities, Americans For Lawful Financial Independence & Information (ALFII) and My Icis Inc., after receiving nearly 30 written complaints from investors who have not been able to access their accounts in six months.

More than 92,400 Arkansans who already have filed their federal tax returns missed out on almost $2.8 million because they didn’t request a telephone excise tax refund, the Internal Revenue Service said Monday.

The National Science Foundation awarded more than $550,000 in research grants to the University of Arkansas on Monday.

The Delta Regional Authority released an $18.5 billion plan to improve highways in an eight-state region Monday, emphasizing Interstate 69 through southeast Arkansas as one of its priority projects.

A state inmate claiming in a lawsuit that the meals provided to him in prison do not provide adequate nutrition deserves a court hearing, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

Support HB2217. This bill was filed today to require a school board to post a notification of board meetings on their school website. This bill should be expanded to also cover so-called special meetings by school boards.
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