Arkansas Legislature

The latest news about the Arkansas Legislature.

Arkansas House Panel OKs Alternative Sentencing Bill

Mar 12, 2013

An Arkansas House panel has advanced a proposal to allow judges in the state to establish court-directed rehabilitation programs where they can send defendants as an alternative to prison or probation.

Under the proposal, which was approved by the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday, defendants would see their case dismissed and records expunged in exchange for successfully completing the program. The option would be available to people charged with certain felonies but excludes those accused of sex offenses or crimes committed against minors or people over 65 years old.

Arkansas Senate OKs FOI Exemption For Accident Reports

Mar 12, 2013

The Arkansas Senate has unanimously approved keeping the names of children involved in motor vehicle accidents from being released to the public.

The Senate voted 35-0 Tuesday to exempt the identities of minors listed in motor vehicle accident reports from being released under the state Freedom of Information Act. The proposal now heads to the House for a vote.

Arkansas House Approves Changes To Local Elections

Mar 12, 2013

The Arkansas House has approved a proposal to restrict when cities and counties can hold special  elections.  

Lawmakers approved the measure by a 68-22 vote on Tuesday - a day after the proposal fell two votes short of a majority in the chamber. 

The bill would require municipalities to hold special elections at the same time as state primary or general elections. 

During non-election years, cities and counties would have to hold elections on the Tuesday after the first Monday in either May or November.

Arkansas Senate Approves Pawn Shop Data Bill

Mar 12, 2013

The Arkansas Senate has given final approval to a bill requiring all pawn shops in the state to electronically send law enforcement their records of who is selling property.

By a 34-0 vote, the Senate approved the bill requiring pawn shops to upload on a daily basis the data they already collect about purchases and sales to a centralized online database chosen by local law enforcement officials.

Arkansas Panel Rejects Campaign Finance Proposals

Mar 12, 2013
Arkansas State Legislature /

A Senate panel has rejected measures that would have prohibited using campaign funds to buy tickets to another candidate's event and barred campaign contributions from businesses sharing the same majority owner.

On Tuesday, the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee rejected by a voice vote the campaign finance measures by Democratic Sen. Bruce Maloch of Magnolia.

The first proposal was aimed at preventing campaigns from transferring funds to another candidate by purchasing tickets to fundraisers and other events.

The New York Times features Arkansas State Senator Jason Rapert, who designed the law banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

 A new bill that seeks to prevent the federal government from regulating firearms in Arkansas is scheduled to go before a state House committee Tuesday morning. But many think it’s clearly unconstitutional.

State Representative Bob Ballinger, a Republican from Hindsville, is the sponsor of the bill.

“We are not going to allow for any more federal regulations of firearms in Arkansas," Ballinger told a crowd gathered for a Second Amendment rally in front of the Arkansas Capitol February 8.

Ballenger says Arkansas citizen’s Second Amendment rights are at stake.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (4th District) speaking in 2013 at the Arkansas Capitol when he was a State Rep.
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Arkansas lawmakers say they are continuing to look at expanding health coverage to those in Arkansas who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level with federal money made available through the Affordable Care Act.

State lawmakers learned two weeks ago that they have the option of covering those who would benefit from the expansion with private insurance rather than putting them directly on Medicaid.

Last Day to File Bills

This is my first article with KUAR and fortune has it that it’s one of the longest days of the year over at the State Capitol. 

Proposal Filed To Regulate License Plate Readers

Mar 11, 2013

Arkansas lawmakers are proposing regulations on the use of devices that photograph license plates.

Democratic Rep. Nate Steel of Nashville and Republican Rep. Nate Bell of Mena filed legislation Monday that would restrict who can use so-called license plate readers.

The bill would also limit how long data captured by license plate readers could be kept.  

The legislation comes after The Associated Press reported earlier this month that Little Rock police have a license plate reader, but don't have a policy spelling out how long the department keeps the data.