The House and Senate have approved identical versions of Gov. Mike Beebe’s $4.5 billion spending plan for the coming year.

Arkansas lawmakers approve $4.5B budget proposal
LITTLE ROCK  (AP) — The House and Senate have approved identical versions of Gov. Mike Beebe’s $4.5 billion spending plan for the coming year.
The Senate’s 35 members on Wednesday approved the proposed revenue stabilization act, which sets the state’s spending priorities, based on expected revenues. The House approved an identical bill on a 94-5 vote.
Each version heads to the opposite chamber for a final vote.
Beebe’s proposal increases general revenue spending by $176 million, restoring most of the $206 million in budget cuts the state has made over the past year.Arkansas Legislature OKs $5k lotto scholarships ?
Arkansas Legislature OKs $5k lotto scholarships
LITTLE ROCK (AP) — The House and Senate have approved identical proposals that use lottery revenue to fund $5,000 scholarships for four-year schools and $2,500 scholarships for two-year schools.
The House approved the measure on a 98-2 vote, while the Senate voted 35-0 on an identical measure. The legislation is the only non-budget issue the Legislature has taken up during its first-ever fiscal session.
House Speaker Robbie Wills says it’s possible that the Legislature could wrap up its business on Thursday, a day earlier than expected.Arkansas bear harvest sets record
LITTLE ROCK (AP) — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission reports a record number of bear harvested during the 2009-10 bear season.
Officials say 533 bear were taken — about 130 more than the previous record set during the 2007-08 season.
Bear program coordinator Myron Means says a lack of natural foods because of the 2009 ice storm led to the record. Means says the lack of natural food makes baiting more effective.
Johnson County led the state with 64 bears harvested followed by Van Buren County with 51.
Officials say 100 bears were taken on public land and the remaining 433 on private land.Horatio fire chief suffers smoke inhalation at fire
HORATIO  (AP) — A southwestern Arkansas fire chief is hospitalized in stable condition after suffering smoke inhalation while fighting a house fire.
Horatio Chief Bruce Richardson was treated at the scene of the fire Monday afternoon before being flown by helicopter to a Texarkana hospital. No other injuries are reported.
Fire Department secretary Reita Lofland says Richardson was not wearing a breathing apparatus and was having trouble breathing.
Lofland says the home is a total loss and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
Horatio is in Sevier County about 10 miles south of De Queen.Teenager found with toy gun at Mtn. Home school
MOUNTAIN HOME (AP) — Police in Mountain Home are questioning a teenage boy that officers say was found outside an elementary school with a toy gun.
Lt. Sam Seamans says police were called just before 7:30 a.m. Wednesday to Nelson-Wilks-Herron Elementary to a report of a man with a gun in a car in the drop off lane at the school.
Seamans says officers instead found the teenager with the toy gun and three other minors in the car.
No names have been released.