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State capitol in review - Sept. 4, 2013

Several state legislators are searching for ways to allow school districts to continue with their security plans after Arkansas Attorney General McDaniel said in an opinion that the districts could not use a state security guard law to arm teachers and staff members.

Solutions could include deputizing some school employees as reserve officers under the supervision of local sheriffs or, a special vote to approve a “legislative fix” during the 2014 fiscal session could come about.

Ten airports in Arkansas will receive $4.2 million in grants from the Deptartment of Transportation to upgrade facilities. They are Delta Regional, Bentonville Municipal, Carroll County Airport, Blytheville Municipal, Clinton Municipal, DeQueen airport, Hope Municipal, Jonesboro Municipal, Lake Village Municipal and Rogers Municipal.

Another $5.1 million in federal grant money was awarded to the Bill and Hillary Clinton National airport to rehabilitate the taxiway and runway lighting system and reimburse the airport for land purchased.

The average achievement rates for Arkansas secondary school students dipped on state algebra 1 and geometry tests last spring for the first time since 2007, but achievement rates rose on the biology and the 11th grade literacy tests. The results of the state’s End of Course and literacy tests are used to determine whether individual students must participate in remediation programs

Also, scores are used in labeling schools as achieving or needs improvement. The Arkansas Education Department posted detailed 2013 test results, including school, district and statewide results on its website at www.arkansased.org. This site has a lot of information about common core, requirements, each school and more. If you have a student you should check it out.

Arkansas’ lottery will offer a new raffle game next month and the Mega Millions jackpot game will be changed in October to offer larger jackpots, the lottery director announced. The lottery ticket sales in July dropped by $720,994.

The Obama administration said they would not sue to interfere with laws in 20 states that legalize marijuana to varying degrees. There is a proposal to legalize marijuana for medical purposes that is getting signatures to try and get on the 2014 ballot in Arkansas.

If you would like to contact me, email me at bruce.holland@senate.ar.gov or write me at P.O. Box 2387, Greenwood, AR 72936 or call my office at 650-1884.

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