• AR Judicial Branch AR Judicial Branch Arkansas   Courts

    The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favor of the Cherokee Nation Businesses and against Gulfside Casino Partnership in a long-running controversial series of legal and regulatory challenges to place a casino in Pope County.

    The dispute arises from actions taken soon after voters approved The Arkansas Casino Gaming Amendment, which requires the Racing Commission to issue licenses to Oaklawn Jockey Club in Hot Springs, Southland Racing Corporation in West Memphis, and to entities in Pope County and Jefferson County.

    The high court’s ruling in Cherokee Nation Businesses and Arkansas Racing Commission vs. Gulfside Casino Partnership focused on which entity was a legal applicant for a casino license.

    In layman’s terms, the court declared that until the application process was initiated by the Arkansas Racing Commission (ARC), which oversees casino licensing regulation, there could be no applicants.

  • 2021 AR Legislature 2021 AR Legislature 2021 Legislature

    Return of Arkansas lawmakers on tap for redistricting
    Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Michael R. WicklineSeptember 8, 2021

    Legislative leaders said they expect to call the state House of Representatives and Senate back into the extended regular session, starting Sept. 29, to consider legislation to redraw the state’s four congressional district boundaries based on the 2020 U.S. Census data.

    Senate President Pro Tempore Jimmy Hickey, R-Texarkana, and House Speaker Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado, last week provided lawmakers with a timeline for considering the redistricting legislation.

    Hickey said Tuesday that there is no consensus in the Senate on how to redraw the boundaries and he’s hoping for a fairly concrete plan “before we come back into session.”

    He said he is anticipating and hoping that the extended session meets three days and then the Legislature adjourns its regular session.

    State lawmakers met for 108 days earlier this year before going into an extended recess with plans to return this fall to approve new boundaries for the congressional districts. The session started Jan. 11 and it was slowed by precautions taken for the coronavirus pandemic and a week’s break after a severe snowfall. The fall meeting was set because census data was delayed in its delivery to states.

    “Leadership encourages congressional redistricting bills be filed no later than September, 24, 2021, for consideration during the extended session of the 93rd General Assembly,” according to Hickey and Shepherd’s two-page timeline.

    Arkansas’ revenue has outpaced expectations for the month of May, while the state’s budget surplus has risen to its highest level.

    The state’s net available general revenue for the month of May totaled just over $655 million, nearly an 80% jump over this time last year and about $263 million above forecast.

    The latest report from the state Department of Finance and Administration shows results were above forecast in all major categories. A change in the tax deadline caused growth in individual income tax revenue, while revenues from other tax categories like tobacco and gaming also came in above forecast.

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