Arkansas Legislature

The latest news about the Arkansas Legislature.

Legislation placing new limits on the administration of the abortion pill is advancing to the Arkansas Senate for a final vote.

The Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee voted 5-2 Wednesday for a House-backed bill that would require providers of abortion pills to follow all guidelines set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Arkansas Senate has given final approval to legislation barring some sex offenders from living near churches.

The Senate voted 27-7 on Tuesday to prohibit level 4 sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet or a church or place of worship. Level 4 sex offenders are the highest category and are considered sexually violent offenders.

The legislation, which now heads to the governor's desk, would not apply to sex offenders living on property they owned prior to the measure taking effect.

Tom Cotton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is barely into his third month in office, but a lawmaker in his home state of Arkansas wants to let the freshman Republican run for re-election and the White House in 2020.

A bill advanced by a state Senate committee Tuesday would allow congressional and U.S. Senate candidates in Arkansas also appear on the ballot as presidential or vice presidential candidates. The majority-GOP Senate could consider the bill Wednesday.

Concealed firearms would be allowed into certain polling places under a bill endorsed by the Arkansas House.

Lawmakers voted 73-17 Monday to advance the proposal to the Senate. It would allow people with concealed carry licenses to bring their guns on election day into places where firearms are otherwise allowed, such as certain churches or stores. Guns would still be barred from polling places at courthouses or schools.

The Arkansas Senate has voted to cut the lottery-funded scholarships incoming freshmen will receive and base its eligibility solely on standardized testing, days after the same proposal narrowly failed before the chamber.

The bill approved on a 22-12 vote Monday lowers the scholarship amount incoming freshmen receive from $2,000 to $1,000 and increases the amount sophomores receive from $3,000 to $4,000. The amounts received in the following years - $4,000 for juniors and $5,000 for seniors - would remain the same.

Facebook Not Friends With Legislature's Social Media Privacy Bills

Mar 9, 2015

Facebook doesn’t “like” two bills being considered by state legislators – one that would allow certain employers to require access to their employees’ social media accounts, and one that would give personal representatives access to a deceased person’s digital records, Talk Business & Politics reports.

The legislature heads back to the capital Monday for a ninth week of this year’s session as lawmakers prepare to make key decisions.

Members of the House and Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs committees will likely spend the week going over proposed constitutional amendments, while the task force looking into the Private Option will start its meetings Tuesday.

Also, lawmakers face another deadline – a 5 p.m. Monday deadline – to file non-appropriations bills for this session.

The issue of "rehoming," or allowing parents to place adopted children with non-relatives, has surfaced in a dramatic way this week. Republican Representative Justin Harris, who owns a religious daycare, was found by Benji Hardy of the Arkansas Times to have sent three adopted daughters out of his home. Two of the daughters went to a daycare employee who is now serving 40 years in prison for sexually abusing one of the girls.

The Arkansas House has voted to prohibit the state from administering a test linked to the Common Core education standards. The bill passed by the House on an 86-1 vote Friday would end the state's participation in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers after June 30. The bill now heads to the state Senate.

Arkansas House members want to force a constitutional convention to take up a federal balanced budget amendment.

The body voted 54-32 Wednesday to join with other states calling for a constitutional convention. The convention application would be submitted once 38 states have joined the compact.

Republican Rep. Nate Bell of Mena said his proposal is needed because the nation faces a debt crisis. Supporters say two states have already joined and the legislation is pending before several others.