It was a good week for...
RECORD HEAT. It reached 107 in Little Rock on Monday, according to Fox 16, easily overtaking the 101 record for the day. Around the state, the heat topped out at 109 in Russellville. Meanwhile, much of the state is suffering from severe drought.
FIFTY-SEVEN STATE PRISONERS. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled 5-4 that it is unconstitutional to impose mandatory life-without-parole sentences on juveniles. Fifty-seven people are currently serving life without parole in the state for murders committed when they were 17 or younger. Little Rock attorney Jeff Rosenzweig was already working with the Arkansas ACLU on new sentences for 13 people sentenced to life as juveniles in Arkansas for non-capital cases. They were entitled to consideration because of an earlier Supreme Court decision barring life sentences for charges less than murder. The 57 serving life for capital crimes will now be added to the list, for a total of 70, who'll have to be resentenced.
DEATH PENALTY FOES. The Arkansas Supreme Court agreed with a circuit court and said the legislature had "abdicated its responsibility" in giving the Arkansas Correction Department "unfettered" discretion over execution procedures, including choice of chemicals to be used in lethal injections. Too bad a legislative fix is likely coming next time the General Assembly convenes.
SCHOOL CHOICE. Federal Judge Robert Dawson stayed his ruling that the Arkansas school choice law unconstitutionally allows race as a decisive factor in transfers. Some 13,000 students were in a quandary about existing and future school assignments because of the ruling.
It was a bad week for...
BALDOR ELECTRIC. The Fort Smith manufacturer will pay $2 million to settle a complaint that it discriminated against women and minorities in the job applicant screening process. Some 795 people will be eligible for back pay and interest and some may be hired for jobs as they become available. Baldor has federal contracts worth millions and the complaint grew out of the federal contract compliance program. The review found qualified women, Asian, Hispanic and black applicants were denied the opportunity to advance to the interview stage for production and laborer jobs.