State files defense
of Plant Board law
The office of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Tuesday filed a brief in Pulaski County Circuit Court defending a new state law that changes how members of the state Plant Board are selected.
Act 361 of 2021 allows agriculture trade groups regulated by the Plant Board to submit at least two names to the governor, who'd then select one. Act 361 replaced a 104-year-old law, held unconstitutional this spring by the Arkansas Supreme Court, that allowed trade groups to appoint representatives to the board.
A lawsuit filed by a group of farmers alleges that the new law is an "attempted end-run" around the Arkansas Constitution and didn't "cure" the problems cited by the Supreme Court. The court said the General Assembly had illegally delegated appointment powers to private groups not accountable to the public. Grant Ballard, a Little Rock attorney, filed the lawsuits against both the old and new laws.
The Plant Board has 16 members with voting privileges -- with seven members appointed by the governor and, under Act 361, nine members whose appointments originate with their nominations from trade groups.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has yet to make the nine trade-group appointments to the board, which hasn't met since May.
The case, 60CV-21-5113, has been assigned to Pulaski County Circuit Judge Morgan E. "Chip" Welch.
-- Stephen Steed
Kmart's home state
losing its final store
The last Kmart store in Michigan -- the birthplace of the retailer -- is closing.
The Kmart in Marshall, about a 20-minute drive east of Battle Creek, is preparing to shut its doors by Nov. 21 and is hiring temporary employees to help with the closing, according to job postings and a store associate.
Store management referred all comment to Kmart's Illinois-based corporate owner, Transformco, also the owner of Sears, which did not return messages Monday.
Kmart has been closing stores for decades and the Marshall store has been the last one in Michigan since 2020.
Marshall's Kmart survived as long as it did because the store is the only large retailer in the immediate area.
At Kmart's peak there were nearly 2,500 Kmart stores nationwide.
-- Detroit Free Press (TNS)
8.42 drop puts index
at closing of 680.98
The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Tuesday at 680.98, down 8.42.
"U.S. stocks ended sharply lower on Tuesday as rising U.S. Treasury yields, deepening concerns over inflation, and another round of contentious debt ceiling negotiations in Washington spooked investors," said Chris Harkins, managing director at Raymond James & Associates.
The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.