BC-AP-AR--Arkansas News Digest, AP

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Associated Press

Posted on September 24, 2013 at 5:30 AM

Arkansas at 4 a.m. CDT.

Jill Bleed will be on the desk and can be reached at 501-225-3668 or 405-525-2121. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477.

TOP STORIES:

HEALTH CARE-ARKANSAS

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The rates that insurers will charge in the Arkansas marketplace set up under the federal health care law will be as much as 25 percent less than what the companies originally proposed, the state Insurance Department said Monday as it unveiled the plans. The Arkansas Insurance Department announced premium rates for the 71 qualified health insurance plans offered by four companies that will be sold on the exchange, an online health market where consumers can get private health insurance, subsidized by the government. Open enrollment for the exchange begins Oct. 1, and the rates and coverage will take effect Jan. 1. State officials say they expect about 500,000 people to purchase insurance on the exchange. By Andrew DeMillo. SENT: 500 words.

TEACHER INSURANCE-ARKANSAS

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe announced Monday that the signup period for teacher health insurance will be delayed a month as he and lawmakers look at ways to prevent premium hikes of up to 50 percent that are to begin in January. Beebe said open enrollment for the teacher insurance program will be pushed back from Oct. 1 to Nov. 1 as he considers calling a special session to address the premium hikes, as well as longer term overhauls to the insurance program. By Andrew DeMillo. SENT: 380 words, photos.

AROUND THE STATE:

ARKANSAS MEDICAID-CONTRACT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The head of a Maryland company disqualified from bidding on a Medicaid contract in Arkansas complained Monday that the state relied too much on the knowledge that Louisiana had terminated a similar contract and didn't take into account the firm's performance in other states. Officials with Client Network Services Inc. told a legislative hearing they believed the company was unfairly disqualified from bidding for the state's Medicaid Management Information Systems contract. SENT: 275 words.

WAL-MART STORES-HIRING

NEW YORK — Wal-Mart Stores is hiring 55,000 seasonal workers and is elevating 70,000 more to part- or full-time positions as the holiday season ramps up. The world's largest retailer said Monday that 35,000 temporary workers will become part-time and 35,000 part-time workers will gain full-time jobs. SENT: 400 words.

ALLEGIANT AIR-SLIDE INSPECTIONS

LAS VEGAS — More than one in 10 weekend Allegiant Air passengers were affected by schedule shuffling after the airline grounded its MD-80 fleet for maintenance of emergency exit slides, a company official said Monday. After canceling 12 flights on six routes Monday and rescheduling those customers to fly Tuesday, company spokesman Brian Davis said administrators believed the Las Vegas-based airline would eliminate its backlog of flights for at least several days. Some flights to Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport were affected. By Ken Ritter. SENT: 540 words, photos.

BUSH CENTER-ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD

DALLAS — U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer visited the George W. Presidential Center in Dallas on Monday to present an award for the environmentally friendly design of the building and grounds. Former first lady Laura Bush, who led the centers' design committee, accepted the framed certificate from Boxer on behalf of the center located on the campus of Southern Methodist University. Bush gave Boxer a tour of the center's green features, including the park behind the center that recreates a Texas prairie. Boxer, a Democrat from California, announced last week that the inaugural Climate Hero Award from the U.S. Senate Climate Change Clearinghouse, which she co-chairs, is going to the Bush center and the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark. Boxer plans to visit the Clinton center later this year. By Jamie Stengle. SENT: 380 words, photos.

FROM AP MEMBERS:

PETITION DRIVE WOES

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The author of a petition that calls for a constitutional amendment to lengthen the terms of elected county officials in Arkansas says he doesn't have the resources to begin collecting signatures to try to place the question on the November 2014 ballot. The petition calls for increasing the terms of officials such as county judges and sheriffs from two years to four years. SENT: 365 words.

PINE BLUFF-PATROL DIVISION

PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Leaders in Pine Bluff have reached an agreement to relocate the police department's patrol division to a city-owned armory building near the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. The City Council and Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth had been at odds about where to move the patrol division, which is now in an industrial area. The council favored moving the division to the armory while the mayor backed a plan to relocate the division to the Pines Mall. SENT: 275 words.

IN BRIEF:

ARKANSAS LEGISLATURE-ETHICS, LITTLE ROCK DESEGREGATION, RIG WORKER INJURED, JONESBORO-EXPLOSIVES FOUND, JONESBORO-DOUBLE FATAL, HIGHWAY MEETING-WHITE COUNTY, CONSTRUCTION-HIGHWAY 67, CONSTRUCTION-HIGHWAY 10.

IN SPORTS:

ARKANSAS-HOLDING ON

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Bret Bielema lost one game during his first season as the coach at Wisconsin, a number he has now matched in his first year at Arkansas. It's a number that could grow quickly over the next month for the Razorbacks (3-1), who open Southeastern Conference play on Saturday by hosting No. 10 Texas A&M (3-1, 0-1 SEC). By Sports Writer Kurt Voigt.

AP Photos AP Photos ARDJ102, ARDJ101.NJME106, NJME107, NJME114.

ARKANSAS-FLORIDA-TV, AFCA POLL-HENDERSON ST, ARKANSAS PREP POLL, GAC AWARDS.

___

If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email them to apoklahoma@ap.org. If you have photos of regional or statewide interest, please send them to the AP state photo center in New York at statephotos@ap.org and call the photo desk at (888) 273-6867. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477.

MARKETPLACE: Calling your attention to the Marketplace in AP Exchange, where you can find member-contributed content from Oklahoma and other states. The Marketplace is accessible on the left navigational pane of the AP Exchange home page, near the bottom. For both national and state, you can click "All" or search for content by topics such as education, politics and business.

The AP-Little Rock

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