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ARDOT to begin road projects Monday


LITTLE ROCK — A traffic shift is scheduled to begin Monday on Interstate 55 near Osceola between Exits 44 and 53.

All traffic has been using the southbound lanes of I-55 while work is performed on the northbound lanes. Beginning Monday, northbound traffic will shift onto new pavement as they begin using the new outside lane on the northbound side.

Southbound traffic will continue using the outside southbound lane of I-55.

This work is part of a job to resurface and overlay seven miles of roadway on I-55 in Mississippi County. A barrier wall will separate the northbound and southbound directions of travel.

The work is expected to take approximately three months to complete. Traffic will be controlled using barrels, message boards and signage.

Also beginning Monday, Arkansas 90 will be closed at the intersection of Arkansas highways 115 and 90 from 8 a.m. Monday, through 5 p.m.

Saturday. Weather permitting, crews will replace a pipe culvert just south of Blacks Ferry Road. Highway 90 will be open to local traffic only during the closure. Detour routes have been set up using Arkansas highways 93, 231, 251 and 115. Traffic will be controlled with the use of barricades, flaggers, message boards and signage.

Drivers are urged to use caution while traveling in these areas. Additional travel information can be found at or


LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday called a special legislative session to take up tax cuts and the budget for the agency overseeing hunting and fishing.

The Republican governor said in a post on X that she's calling for $500 million in income and $50 million in property tax cuts during the special session, scheduled to begin next week on Monday.

'Democrats in DC are failing, but we are blazing a path to greater prosperity for our peo-

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ple,' Sanders wrote.

Sanders proposed cutting the state's top income tax rate from 4.4% to 3.9% and the top corporate rate from 4.8% to 4.3%, effective January 1.

The Republican governor also called for increasing the homestead tax credit from $425 to $500.

The announcement comes about a month after lawmakers adjourned this year's session without approving a budget for the state Game and Fish Commission. The move puts the state's hunting and fishing programs in limbo unless lawmakers approve a budget before the fiscal year begins July 1.

The $175 million appropriation for the 636-employee agency fell short of the 75 votes needed in the House, which came primarily from objections to it raising the maximum allowed salary for its director. It marked the first time in more than 20 years that lawmakers adjourned a session without approving an agency's budget.

Sanders has signed two income tax cuts into law since taking office in January 2023. She's pushing for the latest cuts as finance officials are projecting the state will end the current fiscal year with a $708 million surplus.


Lawsuit filed challenging

LEARNS Act school voucher program

LITTLE ROCK — Four Arkansas residents have filed a lawsuit challenging a school voucher program created by an education overhaul signed by Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders last year, saying it violates the state constitution's protections for educational funding.

The suit filed in state court late Friday seeks to halt the Arkansas Children's Freedom Account Program, which was created under the new law, known as the LEARNS Act.

The voucher program, which is being phased in, pays for private- and home-schooling costs equal to 90% of the state's per-student funding for public schools.

Arkansas lawmakers set aside $97 million in funding for the program for the upcoming year, with up to 14,000 students expected to participate.

The lawsuit claims the program violates Arkansas' constitution by diverting tax money intended to help public schools.

'The LEARNS Act represents a radical and unconstitutional departure from a public school system that has endured since the establishment of the state of Arkansas,' the lawsuit said.

It added that the act would drain 'valuable and necessary' resources from the public school system and 'create

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a separate and unequal dual school system that discriminates between children based on economic, racial and physical characteristics and capabilities.'

The voucher program was part of a massive education bill that also included increases in minimum teacher salaries and restrictions on how certain topics, such as gender identity, are taught in the classroom.

A spokesperson for Sanders did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The Arkansas Supreme Court in October rejected a challenge to the LEARNS Act that questioned the Legislature's procedural vote that allowed it to take effect immediately.

'We look forward to successfully defending the LEARNS Act in court as we have done before,' Attorney General Tim Griffin said in a statement.

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