linda chesterfield

Sen. Clarke Tucker, Sen. Breanne Davis

Arkansas lawmakers send sweeping education bill to governor’s desk

BY: - March 7, 2023

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will sign her signature education package into law Wednesday, two weeks after the bill was filed.  The Arkansas Senate gave final approval to Senate Bill 294, also called the LEARNS Act, on Tuesday. “I’m ready to sign it into law tomorrow and end the failed status quo that has governed our […]

Sen. Breanne Davis of Russellville, lead sponsor of Senate Bill 294, which would enact the governor’s education program, looks at Education Secretary Jacob Oliva, right, as he answers questions about the bill during a meeting of the Senate Education Committee Wednesday morning, Feb. 22, 2023, in Little Rock. (John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate)

Arkansas governor’s education package advances to Senate

BY: and - February 22, 2023

The Senate Education Committee after more than five hours of testimony Wednesday approved Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ sweeping education plan over bipartisan calls for amendments. Dozens of teachers, students, parents and administrator groups testified at the occasionally tense hearing. Senate Bill 294, also called the LEARNS Act, is the culmination of Sanders’ chief priority to […]

Arkansas Senate approves bill to hold libraries accountable for ‘obscene’ material

BY: - February 22, 2023

A bill that would open the door to criminal liability for the distribution of “obscene” content by school and public libraries passed the Arkansas Senate on a party-line vote Wednesday and will next be considered by the House. All six Senate Democrats voted against Senate Bill 81, and 27 Republicans voted for it while two […]

A candle burns outside an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in November 2022.

Bill to prohibit LGBTQ “panic defense” tabled in Arkansas Senate committee

BY: - January 30, 2023

A bill expanding Arkansas school employees’ right to defend themselves in physical altercations passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, while another bill aimed at protecting LGBTQ Arkansans from violence was tabled. Senate Minority Whip Linda Chesterfield (D-Little Rock) said her background as a schoolteacher informed her introduction of both bills. Chesterfield introduced Senate Bill […]

Arkansas state Rep. Michelle Gray (R-Melbourne) talks with another House member during a meeting of the Arkansas Legislative Council Friday morning, Dec. 16, 2022, in the Big MAC Building on the grounds of the state Capitol.(Photo by John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate-12.16.2022)

Arkansas Legislative Council approves rural hospital aid, court system funds

BY: - December 16, 2022

Arkansas legislators gave final approval on Friday for a new Southwest Arkansas hospital to receive $6.25 million in federal relief funds and voted down an attempt to take up several more federal aid requests. The Arkansas Legislative Council’s Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review subcommittee green-lit the American Rescue Plan Act funds for Sevier County Medical […]

Various types of cannabis displayed at at a Las Vegas dispensary in 2017, just before recreational marijuana sales began there. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Arkansas medical marijuana companies complain about seed-to-sale tracking software

BY: - December 14, 2022

Arkansas’ medical marijuana companies are again clashing with the software vendor that operates the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system. Cultivators and dispensaries complain that patient and product data disappear, the software often goes down, available training is insufficient and that customer service is poor when problems do arise.  The vendor, BioTrack, called the complaints misleading and […]

Side view of Arkansas State Capitol, Little Rock (John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate)

Part of Arkansas 2nd District redistricting lawsuit dismissed

BY: - October 24, 2022

A panel of three federal judges on Monday dismissed half of the lawsuit challenging the redistricting of Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District. The judges gave the plaintiffs, who are challenging the redrawn district primarily over claims of racial gerrymandering, 30 days to amend their complaint to focus more on the three remaining claims.  The three outstanding […]

Sen. Missy Irvin speaks into a microphone in the Arkansas Senate chambers

Arkansas Senate panel recommends plan to increase teacher pay, create task force

BY: - October 18, 2022

The Arkansas Senate education committee on Tuesday approved recommendations that include additional money for increased teacher salaries and merit-based pay.  The proposal also includes a recommendation to create a legislative task force to study education funding outside of the adequacy review process. “Overall, the report is focused on moving from adequacy to excellence by focusing […]