As per Governor Hutchinson’s address last week, the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine began across Arkansas on January 18th. Two participating pharmacies in Miller County received very few doses and only have about 100 each remaining between College Hill Drug and Wal Mart. Those doses are expected to be exhausted by Wednesday. As more doses are allotted to the county, the pharmacies will contact Emergency Management. Currently, the pharmacies are preparing for all of Phase 1B which includes the three school districts in Miller County, childcare, agricultural workers, and several other categories listed in the most recent COVID vaccination guide to phase 1. Continue Reading →
House members are now ready to begin the second week of the 2021 Regular Session. Nearly 200 bills have been filed so far in the House and more than 135 have been filed in the Senate. House members elected to serve in the 93rd General Assembly took the oath of office in the House Chamber on Monday. Upon swearing-in, members then voted to name Rep. Matthew J. Shepherd of El Dorado as the Speaker of the Arkansas House. This will be his second full term to serve as Speaker. Continue Reading →
Public participation is an essential part of our democracy. In preparation for the upcoming session, House and Senate leadership have agreed to a few rules so Arkansans can participate in an environment that is as safe and healthy as possible. With limited exceptions, a mask or other cloth face covering will be required to enter committee rooms and public comment holding rooms. All individuals will be submitted to a temperature check and onsite health screening at the entrance to either the State Capitol Building or the adjacent MAC Building. We have provided nearby space for committee rooms for members of the public to watch the live stream while they wait for their turn to testify for or against a bill. These rooms will provide ample space for social distancing. Continue Reading →
Happy New Year, Oklahoma! There is light up ahead, at the end of this very long tunnel we have been traveling since last March. The first phase of COVID-19 vaccinations began last month with distribution to health care workers, long-term care residents, EMTs and paramedics, and public health staff. The estimated 150,000 Oklahomans in these categories are receiving their first of two doses with an expectation that Phase 1 will be complete this month. Then, Phase 2 can begin, which includes first responders (paid and unpaid including fire departments, law enforcement, emergency managers, homeland security, and medical examiners). Continue Reading →
Arkansas’ legislature is considered a part-time citizen legislature. Most House members have a full-time career in addition to their legislative obligations. Members typically come from a wide range of professional backgrounds and the 93rd General Assembly is no exception. The state’s largest industry is well represented as 7 members will bring an agricultural background to the House. There will be six members who either currently work or previously worked in the healthcare industry. Continue Reading →
Kids, it’s getting close! Santa honors Jesus! 2020 has been a tough year. Can you believe it’s almost over? Before you know it, 2021 will be here! Continue Reading →
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Arkansans may see an increase in the amount of their paychecks next year. The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) announced this week that the income tax withholding tables will change effective January 1, 2021. DFA says this change is not a tax increase or cut, but with the law change that reduces the top personal income tax rate from 6.6% to 5.9% next month, the withholding change will put that reduction in paychecks beginning January 2021. Without this change, many Arkansans wouldn’t see the bulk of their tax cut until they received it in their tax refund in 2022.
This is the second change DFA has recently implemented to the withholding tables. Continue Reading →
One of the many legislative issues that will be before us in the 2021 Regular Session is redistricting. Redistricting is an important part of our democracy. It is required by law once every ten years after the Federal Census. There are two separate processes for redistricting in Arkansas.
One process is redrawing legislative boundaries for our state senators and representatives. This is the responsibility of the Arkansas Board of Apportionment.
The Board of Apportionment is made up of the Governor, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of State. Continue Reading →
4th and 7th graders reflect on their communities’ unique history
AUSTIN — Today, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced the fourth and seventh-grade winners of the 2020 Save Texas History Essay Contest, sponsored by the Texas General Land Office’s Save Texas History Program. The essay contest encourages students to answer the question, “What history in your community is worth saving?”
“I am proud of Keltyn and Madeline for their dedication to preserve their respective hometown history by winning this year’s Save Texas History Essay Contest. Historical preservation starts in the early years of education and these two students are setting a remarkable example to their peers on why history is so important,” said Commissioner Bush. “I am honored to read these young students’ perspectives and share with the rest of Texas their great work. I commend all finalists and thank all who participated in the contest this year. Sharing my enthusiasm for our state’s history is one of the most rewarding parts of my job as Texas Land Commissioner.” The fourth-grade grand prize winner is Keltyn Arnold of Chandler, Texas. Keltyn attends All Saints Episcopal School and is in Ms. Melissa Kirby’s class. Keltyn’s essay, Chandler’s Historical Landmark, draws attention to the childhood home of former U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough. Located in Keltyn’s hometown, the home now serves as The Chandler museum and visitor center and is filled with fascinating details about Yarborough’s life. Continue Reading →
Opinion: On December 8, the girls of Chapel Hill High School Basketball team showed the world the true meaning of sportsmanship and love which goes beyond a game of basketball. When the game whistle blew the designated tip-off player refused to jump for the tip. As the Bowie Simms Girls Team took possession of the ball, the Chapel Hill player calmly walked toward her teammates in the corner of the gym where they were kneeling in respect. Bowie Simms easily made the layup and opening point at which time the Chapel Hill team rejoined the game. This simple act of respect and honor caused an immediate response. In the stands, the Chapel Hill and Bowie Simms fans all understood the symbolic gesture made by Chapel Hill. Immediately a standing ovation was given by both sides of the gym.
On November 7, Bowie Simms lost one of their high school players to a tragic car accident. Devastated by the loss, the team canceled their scheduled November 13 game with Chapel Hill as the Bowie Simms team and community mourned. At Chapel Hill, the team followed the updates, prayed, and received word from Coach Matt Garrett on how the community was holding up.
Coach Matt Garrett has coached girl’s basketball teams to four state championships. Needless to say, he knows basketball, and he knows sportsmanship as it’s an important part of his life. Coach Garrett in reference to the girls’ actions, stated, “there are times that there are things bigger than the game of basketball.”
Garrett says his team wanted to accomplish two important things by kneeling in the opening moments of the game. They wanted to honor the grieving family, school, and community first. They also wanted to use the moment to show other students the meaning of respect and honor above the game.
Sometimes older generations worry about the future. We worry if the younger generations will rise and be the type of leaders and adults our nation needs. Well, the girls of Chapel Hill Basketball team just showed the world that it is going to be okay. By showing compassion, love, and respect that goes beyond good sportsmanship, they transcended into outstanding young adults. With young people like this team from Chapel Hill school in the small town of Mount Pleasant, Texas, coming to age as young adults, we can rest assured the future is in great hands. Chapel Hill Basketball Team Takes a knee
Continue Reading →