RIVER RADIO NEWS 040315
POPLAR BLUFF MAN ARRESTED ON FORGERY AND DRUG POSSESSION WARRANTS
A Poplar Bluff man has been arrested for forgery and drug possession.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, 57 year old William W. Hailey was taken into custody yesterday morning.
Hailey was arrested on two Butler County warrants, one for probation violation on an original charge of forgery, and the second for felony possession of dangerous drugs.
EAST PRAIRIE WOMAN CHARGED WITH DRUG DISTRIBUTION AND ENDANGERING THE WELFARE OF A MINOR
A narcotics investigation has led to the arrest of a Mississippi County woman.
Authorities say 20 year old Abigal Keri Funderburk, of East Prairie, has been charged with distribution of a controlled substance near government housing and endangering the welfare of a minor.
Mississippi County Sheriff Keith Moore says in October of 2014, one of his deputies was at a public housing complex when he witnessed Funderburk hand a pill bottle to a minor. An investigation revealed the bottle contained pills that had been laced with an unidentified substance.
The SEMO Crime Lab confirmed the pills contained a narcotic, and a warrant for Funderburk’s arrest was issued.
PARAGOULD MAN TAKEN INTO CUSTODY AFTER HIGH SPEED CHASE
A Paragould, Arkansas man has been taken into custody after leading police on a high speed chase yesterday morning.
Authorities say 40 year old Dwight L. Roberts fled from officers in Green County, Arkansas shortly before 6 am. The pursuit continued into Dunklin County.
Kennett Police were able to stop the suspect and place Roberts under arrest.
CRAIGHEAD COUNTY FAIR ASSOCIATION URGED TO SELL FAIRGROUNDS
(AP) - A bank has recommended that fairgrounds in northeast Arkansas be sold after the Craighead County Fair Association filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October.
The Jonesboro Sun reports that Focus Bank suggested liquidation of the property, which is owned by the association, in a March 25 filing. The fair association was left in $10 million worth of debt after relocating to a new site and constructing a larger complex.
The association owed more than $6 million money to Focus Bank, which financed the move, when it filed for bankruptcy. The new fairgrounds, now known as the Northeast Arkansas Exposition and Conference Center, are valued around $22 million.
Michael Cureton, fair board president, said the board still hopes to avoid a liquidation sale.
AUDIT SAYS MISSOURI MISSPENT $7 MILLION MEANT FOR HIGHWAY REPAIR
(AP) - A state audit says more than $7 million in funds meant for Missouri highways was improperly spent by the state transportation department.
The report released Thursday says the Department of Transportation used nearly $3.8 million of road funds for safety grants to local entities.
It says the department also spent nearly $1.9 million from road funds to settle employee discrimination lawsuits, and paid nearly $1.5 million to employees on administrative leave who were subsequently laid off.
The department said that spending was within its rights, but it would try to find other funding sources for some expenses.
The audit comes as the transportation department has been warning of a funding shortfall that will prevent it from adequately maintaining all of Missouri's roads and bridges.
MISSOURI SENATE APPROVES PRESCRIPTION DRUG MONITORING SYSTEM
(AP) - Missouri may soon join the rest of the country in creating a prescription drug monitoring database that supporters say will curb substance abuse.
The Missouri Senate passed a measure 24-10 Thursday that would track prescription drugs. It's been held up in previous years because of privacy concerns.
The measure would create a monitoring program to track when prescriptions for controlled drugs are written and filled, with a goal of preventing abuse of addictive pills such as painkillers.
The bill includes protections for the data and limits on accessing it, as well as penalties for improper use or sharing of the information.
Some Republican lawmakers say they still are concerned about the risks to such sensitive personal information.
The Senate version now goes to the House, which approved a similar program.
MISSOURI HOUSE PASSES BILL AIMED AT ADDRESSING ETHICS ISSUES
(AP) - The Missouri House has passed legislation aimed at addressing ethics concerns in the only state that allows both unlimited campaign contributions and lobbyist gifts while permitting lawmakers to immediately become lobbyists after leaving office.
The House on Thursday approved the bill 132-14.
The original Senate bill blocked lawmakers elected next year from becoming lobbyists until two years after leaving office. It also prevented lobbyists from paying for out-of-state trips for lawmakers.
House Republicans bulked up the Senate measure to also limit lobbyist gifts to $25. Other changes include applying a cooling-off period to current legislators, but allowing them to enter lobbying a year after leaving office.
Senators can either approve the amended bill as is or hash out differences with the House.
MISSOURI SENATE PANEL OKs LUMP-SUM BUDGETS FOR THREE DEPARTMENTS
(AP) - A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a budget plan that its chairman says will constrain the state's fastest-growing costs.
The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a measure creating lump-sum grants for most programs in the Department of Social Services, Department of Mental Health and Department of Health and Senior Services.
The proposal would reduce the totals for the Social Services department by 6 percent - or about $100 million - compared with the House's version, and a combined 4 percent, about $30 million, for the others.
It would still be a net increase over the current budget. Committee chairman Senator Kurt Schaefer says the departments should be able to find efficiencies.
The proposal exempts some programs from the reductions, including medical care for pregnant women and adult dental care.
MISSOURI HOUSE OKs REQUIRING PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE IN ENGLISH
(AP) - A bill that would require Missouri's public schools recite the Pledge of Allegiance in English once a day has passed the House.
The Republican-controlled chamber on Thursday voted 118-30 in favor of the measure.
Missouri currently requires public schools to recite the pledge at least once a week. The bill follows a New York high school's divisive decision to recite the pledge in Arabic as part of National Foreign Language Week.
Democrats criticized the English requirement as discriminatory, while Republicans said it promotes unity and is needed because English is Missouri's official language.
The bill's chance of passing is unclear.
Republican Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey said Thursday he appreciates those who recite the pledge, but he's not too concerned with what language is used to recite it.
ARKANSAS GOVERNOR SIGNS REVISED RELIGIOUS OBJECTIONS BILL
(AP) - Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has signed a revised version of a religious objections bill that supporters say addresses concerns that the original proposal sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians.
Hutchinson signed the new bill Thursday moments after it was given final approval by the state House. The law prohibits state and local government from infringing on someone's religious beliefs without a compelling interest.
The move comes a day after Hutchinson asked lawmakers to change the measure to make it more closely mirror a 1993 federal law. The original bill drew widespread criticism from businesses and others who called it anti-gay.
The House was expected to vote later Thursday to recall the original measure from Hutchinson's desk.
ARKANSAS REVENUE DIPS IN MARCH AFTER SLUGGISH TAX TAKE
(AP) - Arkansas' finance office says a drop in sales and individual income tax collections pushed the state's revenue below both last year's figures and expectations in March.
The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration on Thursday said the state's net available revenue last month totaled $365.2 million, which is $21.3 million below March 2014 and $13.2 million below forecast.
The state's revenue for the fiscal year that began July 1 totaled $3.7 billion, which is $81.4 million above forecast.
The state's individual income tax collections in March totaled $229.4 million. The amount is $17.2 million below the same month last year and $17.7 million below forecast.
Sales tax collections totaled $179.8 million, which is $3.3 million below the same month last year and $5 million below forecast.
ARKANSAS HOUSE, SENATE ADVANCE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS
(AP) - Arkansas voters next year will decide on proposals regarding the governor's power; tax breaks for corporations; and longer terms for elected county officials after the House and Senate advanced a trio of proposed state constitutional amendments.
The Senate voted 33-0 Thursday for a plan to increase the terms of most county offices to four years, relax restrictions on what crimes prevent people from holding office and remove unopposed candidates from ballots.
The House voted 80-0 to allow the governor to retain power and duties while out of state and voted 70-22 for a proposal to remove a cap on bonds the state can issue to attract employers. Supporters say it's necessary to compete with what other states do while detractors call it corporate welfare.
The issues will be on the November 2016 ballot.