Associated Press

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A judge says Arkansas is being too secretive about part of its execution procedures ahead of an unprecedented schedule of lethal injections and must disclose more information about the drugs it intends to use.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen found that state confidentiality laws apply to sellers and suppliers, not pharmaceutical companies.

He gave the state 30 minutes to hand the information over to a lawyer for the inmates.

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 The Arkansas House has passed a proposal to exempt college sporting events from a new Arkansas law expanding where concealed handguns are allowed after a second athletic conference called for changes to the guns rights measure.

The proposal advanced on a 71-20 vote Thursday. It will now go to the Senate for consideration.

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Federal prosecutors say a Shreveport woman has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for her role in a cocaine and methamphetamine operation in northwestern Louisiana.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Shreveport says in a Thursday news release that the 46-month sentence was handed down this week for 61-year-old Linda G. Brown. Prosecutors say she pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

corrections.state.la.us

Eight officers at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center have been fired or resigned after being accused of using excessive force on an inmate and subsequently trying to cover it up.

The state Department of Public Safety and Corrections, in a news release Thursday, said the terminations stemmed from a Jan. 9 incident at the facility in St. Gabriel in which officers were trying to move two inmates from a cell.

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Prosecutors and defense attorneys have agreed on an April 19 sentencing date for the New Orleans man convicted of killing former Saints star Will Smith last year.

The sentencing date for Cardell Hayes was set Thursday in state Judge Camille Buras's courtroom.

Smith was shot to death during a confrontation after a traffic crash.

The 29-year-old Hayes claimed self-defense but a jury convicted him of manslaughter in Smith's death, and attempted manslaughter for wounding Smith's wife.

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The Coast Guard says a tugboat spilled as much as 500 gallons of diesel fuel in the Mobile River.

 

Authorities got the report shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday. A Coast Guard news release out of New Orleans said between 300 and 500 gallons were discharged into the water near the Mobile County town of Mt. Vernon.

 

As of Thursday afternoon, about 100 gallons had been recovered. The Coast Guard says there have been no reports of wildlife being affected.

 

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It's 30 days and counting until nearly 600 performers converge on the New Orleans Fair Grounds Race Course for the annual celebration of music known as Jazz Fest.

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival will be held over two weekends, April 28-30 and May 4-7 featuring Stevie Wonder, Maroon 5, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Harry Connick Jr., Aaron Neville, Snoop Dogg, Nas, Meghan Trainor, Herb Alpert, Alabama Shakes and Darius Rucker.

http://gov.louisiana.gov

Republican lawmakers on the House budget-writing committee are resisting suggestions that Louisiana's budget needs more money next year. Instead, they're suggesting they'll be looking for deeper cuts.

The Appropriations Committee opened hearings Tuesday on Gov. John Bel Edwards' state spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The Democratic governor says the $29 billion operating budget proposal is more than $400 million short of what he thinks is needed to pay for state priorities. He's expected to propose tax changes to drum up more money.

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A proposal to force online retailers to collect Arkansas sales taxes has failed again before a House committee, prompting a lawmaker sponsoring the bill to declare the issue dead for this year's legislative session.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee voted 9-6 in favor of the proposal, two votes short of the 11 needed to advance the measure to the full House. Republican Rep. Dan Douglas said he didn't plan on bringing the proposal up again before the House wraps up this year's session next week.

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Five of the eight Arkansas inmates facing lethal injection next month have filed a new lawsuit aimed at blocking the state's unprecedented plan to conduct four double executions over a 10-day period.

The inmates asked a federal judge Tuesday to order the state to halt the executions, arguing that the compressed time frame has led to a rushed clemency process. The five inmates have asked the parole board to spare their lives.

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