Maximum Security Unit, Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADOC photo)

Arkansas Corrections Board hires attorney, approves some new prison beds

BY: - December 8, 2023

The Arkansas Board of Corrections on Friday hired an outside attorney to represent it in employment matters, a step a board member said was taken in response to criticism of the board last month by Attorney General Tim Griffin. The board voted 3-2 to hire Abtin Mehdizadegan, a labor and employment lawyer with the Little […]

U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost, a Florida Democrat, introduced the “Fight Book Bans Act” at a press conference on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. (Samantha Dietel/States Newsroom)

Florida congressman proposes federal funding to help schools fight book bans

BY: - December 6, 2023

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost unveiled legislation Tuesday to combat a nationwide surge in book bans. Frost, a Florida Democrat, is pushing the “Fight Book Bans Act,” which he discussed at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol alongside fellow House Democrats and advocacy groups. Frost’s bill would provide funding for school districts so […]

Federal panel allows 4th Arkansas congressional redistricting lawsuit to continue

BY: - December 6, 2023

A federal three-judge panel late Tuesday declined to dismiss a challenge to Arkansas’ new congressional district map — a surprise decision given the same panel had dismissed a similar lawsuit earlier this year.  The order didn’t include the panel’s reasoning, but an explanation will be filed “in due course,” Judge D.P. Marshall Jr. wrote.  The […]

President Joe Biden prepares to sign an executive order in the Rose Garden of the White House in April 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Students, advocates frustrated with Biden administration’s slow response on Title IX changes

BY: - December 6, 2023

Democrats in Congress, students, and LGBTQ+ advocacy groups are growing frustrated with the Biden administration’s slow pace to finalize proposed updates to Title IX, the federal civil rights law prohibiting sex discrimination in schools. More than 60 House Democrats sent a recent letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, calling on the agency to act. […]

U.S. House Oversight leader demands probe into ‘political interference’ in FBI HQ move

BY: - December 5, 2023

WASHINGTON — The chair of the House Oversight Committee is calling on a government watchdog to investigate any “political interference” in the site selection process for the new FBI headquarters. In addition, as House Republicans step up their interest in the growing dispute between Maryland and Virginia over where the headquarters should be moved from […]

Improving Arkansas prison mental health services focus of legislative hearing

BY: - December 4, 2023

Formerly incarcerated individuals and prison reform advocates told lawmakers Monday that inadequate mental health services is one of the Arkansas Department of Corrections’ biggest problems.  LeDeana Biddle, founder of the nonprofit advocacy group Arkansas Department of Corrections Family Support, was one of a dozen people who told the Joint Committee on State Agencies and Governmental […]

A white man stands in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building.

Edward Blum’s crusade against affirmative action used legal strategy of civil rights activists

BY: - December 4, 2023

Few people have been more associated with rolling back modern-day civil rights laws than Edward Blum, the former stockbroker who has successfully challenged many affirmative action and voting rights laws. Blum has no formal legal training. He, in fact, refers to himself as an “amateur litigator.” Yet, he was instrumental in engineering several legal cases […]

Activists at a June 2014 rally in Washington, DC, marking the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder which held a section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is unconstitutional. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Dismissal of Arkansas voting rights suit threatens democracy

BY: - December 4, 2023

On the Monday before Thanksgiving, a federal appeals court inflicted a likely fatal wound to the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. In a 2-1 ruling, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals tossed aside decades of precedent and ruled that citizens can’t challenge racial gerrymandering through the VRA. Only the U.S. Attorney General can […]

The "social section" in Crawford County Library's Van Buren branch (Screenshot from court documents)

Federal suit challenging Arkansas’ library obscenity law set for trial in October 2024

BY: - December 1, 2023

The trial in the federal lawsuit challenging the Arkansas law that would change how libraries handle controversial material is set to begin in mid-October next year, according to court documents filed Friday. Eighteen plaintiffs sued the state in June over Act 372 of 2023, which would alter libraries’ material reconsideration processes and create criminal liability […]

GOP senators walk out of vote on subpoenas in U.S. Supreme Court ethics inquiry

BY: - November 30, 2023

WASHINGTON — South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham and Republican colleagues stormed out of a Democratic-led U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Thursday to authorize subpoenas for two high-profile GOP operatives as part of an ethics probe into undisclosed financial ties to U.S. Supreme Court justices. The panel voted 11-0 to subpoena billionaire Republican donor Harlan Crow […]

Former Arkansas Medical Board chairman charged with felony health care fraud

BY: - November 29, 2023

UPDATE: This story was updated at 3:38 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, to include information about Dr. Brian Hyatt’s medical license. Prosecutors on Wednesday formally charged the former chairman of the Arkansas State Medical Board with felony fraud. A special prosecutor from the Arkansas Attorney General’s office filed two counts of Medicaid fraud, a […]

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, led a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023. (Screenshot from U.S. Senate webcast)

Gun violence as a public health crisis explored by U.S. Senate Democrats

BY: - November 28, 2023

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats on Tuesday discussed how to treat gun violence as a public health crisis, in hopes of building upon last year’s federal gun safety legislation. “Across the country, gun violence is a public health epidemic,” Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin, the chairman of the committee, said in his opening remarks. […]