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This Hour: Latest Arkansas news, sports, business and entertainment

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ARKANSAS SENATE

US Sen. Mark Pryor pitches jobs legislation

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor is sponsoring legislation to limit tax breaks for companies that move operations overseas and to require most publicly financed projects to use American-made steel and iron as he faces a tough re-election fight.

The two-term lawmaker from Arkansas on Friday unveiled a package of bills that he says are aimed at creating more jobs. Part of the package includes legislation already introduced in the Senate that would prevent companies from deducting expenses related to moving operations to a foreign country.

Pryor is also sponsoring separate proposals requiring federal agencies to use American-made steel and iron in projects unless they can justify a waiver, and creating a voluntary labeling system to identify American goods.

Pryor is being challenged by Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton.

ARKANSAS PRISONS-OVERCROWDING

Academy's new location frees up 125 prison beds

ENGLAND, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas prison officials say moving the department's training academy to a former middle school in England, Arkansas, will free up 125 more beds for prisoners.

The Arkansas Department of Correction opened its Willis H. Sargent Training Academy earlier this year after previously training its officers at the Tucker Unit. Officials say the old site at Tucker will begin housing inmates in November.

The Legislature has appropriated $6 million to free up 600 prison beds. About 250 inmates will be housed at a satellite building at the Pulaski County jail, while more beds have been opened up at the McPherson, Ouachita River and Tucker units, and at a work-release center in Springdale.

The Board of Corrections is also considering housing up to 15 inmates at the newly built Newton County jail.

ARKANSAS PRISONS

Arkansas board seeks proposals for new prison

ENGLAND, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Board of Corrections is asking for proposals from communities interested in hosting a new, 1,000-bed state prison.

The board voted Friday to accept requests for the next 90 days in hopes of firming up a plan before next January's legislative session. Prison officials told lawmakers last week that it will cost up to $100 million to build the new facility.

The board's prison design committee is recommending a maximum-security facility, which will be more expensive to build than a lower-security unit. The committee is recommending the new prison house the most difficult inmates in the state, with extra space set aside for 200 single-cell isolation units.

The board says it's looking for a site with at least 400 acres, along with proximity to an airport and higher-educational institutions.

ARKANSAS STATE-MEDICAL SCHOOL

Higher ed board OKs plan for ASU medical school

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board has granted certification for a new medical school on the campus of Arkansas State University.

The board on Friday approved certification for the New York Institute of Technology to offer three degrees at the Jonesboro campus: a doctor of osteopathic medicine, a master of science in medical/health care simulation and a master of science in neuromusculoskeletal sciences. The certification is contingent on the school receiving approval from a national accreditation association.

The Arkansas State University Board of Trustees agreed earlier this year to partner with the New York Institute of Technology to establish the school.

Officials hope to open the medical school in fall 2016, with a target class size of 115 students. The medical school has a projected startup cost of $10 million.

TYSON PLANT CLOSINGS

Tyson Foods closing 3 plants in Iowa, NY, NM

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (AP) - Tyson Foods Inc. says it's closing three U.S. plants, employing a total 950 workers, which have struggled financially as the company's product needs have changed.

Tyson, the biggest U.S. meat processor, announced Friday the planned closures of the plants in Cherokee, Iowa; Buffalo, New York; and Santa Teresa, New Mexico. The company said the action will enable it to move some of the operations and equipment at the plants to other, more cost-efficient Tyson plants.

The Cherokee plan will close Sept. 27, and the Buffalo and Santa Teresa plants are expected to shut down in the first half of 2015.

The affected workers will be encouraged to apply for job openings elsewhere in the company and will be invited to job fairs organized by the company, Tyson said.

JOHNNY CASH-HOME TOUR

Tickets for tours of Johnny Cash's home available

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - Tickets are still available for opening day tours of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home next month.

The opening of Cash's boyhood home in Dyess is scheduled for Aug. 16. Tours will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased in advance.

The home is Arkansas State University's newest Heritage Site. The grand opening will feature a dedication ceremony at 10 a.m. ahead of the timed tours.

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