Arkansas Legislature

The latest news about the Arkansas Legislature.

Arkansas Senate Expands Definition Of Unborn Child

Mar 11, 2013

The Arkansas Senate has voted unanimously to expand the definition of an unborn child in the state's criminal code and wrongful death statutes.

The Senate voted 35-0 Monday to modify state code that currently allows for criminal prosecution of someone who harms a fetus 12 weeks into a pregnancy or later.

The proposal by Republican Sen. Jim Hendren of Gravette would make it a crime to harm an unborn child from conception until birth.

The measure would not apply to legal abortions and would not apply to the mother of the fetus.

Arkansas Legislator Files In-State Tuition Proposal

Mar 11, 2013

An Arkansas lawmaker is proposing extending in-state tuition rates to some students who entered the  U.S. illegally.

Little Rock Democratic Sen. Joyce Elliott filed a bill Monday that would grant in-state tuition rates to anyone who has attended an Arkansas high school for at least three years and has an Arkansas high school diploma or general education diploma in the state.

Monday is the deadline for lawmakers to file legislation.

Arkansas Legislature Gets An "A" For Website

Mar 11, 2013

An analysis by a nonpartisan nonprofit that focuses on making government transparent and accountable is giving the Legislatures in Arkansas, New Hampshire and Connecticut an 'A'  grade for how they make legislative information available.

The Sunlight Foundation also gave the top mark to Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina, Texas and Washington.

Two New England states got an 'F.' They are Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Others in that category are Alabama, Colorado, Kentucky, and Nebraska.

Vermont got a 'B' and Maine got a 'D.'

At a health insurance expansion rally on Thursday, Gov. Mike Beebe (D) encouraged stakeholders in the debate to be patient with lawmakers as they grapple for a fiscal and political solution to insuring more Arkansans.

Arkansas GOP Eyes Planned Parenthood Funds Next

Mar 7, 2013

Not content with enacting the most restrictive abortion law in the country, Arkansas Republicans plan to press the legislative advantage their party hasn't enjoyed since Reconstruction by making it even more difficult for women to get abortions in the state.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is putting his support behind legislation that he says will reduce fraud in the state’s ballot initiative process.

McDaniel and Sen. Keith Ingram, a Democrat from West Memphis, told reporters at the Capitol Thursday that proposed legislation would stiffen penalties for knowingly collecting and submitting fraudulent signatures within the state’s ballot initiative process.

McDaniel referred to last year’s election is a prime example that the process needs reform.

Nathan Vandiver

As Arkansas lawmakers consider an expansion of health care under the federal health care law, hundreds turned out Thursday for a bi-partisan rally on the steps of the state Capitol in favor of an expansion. 

Republican Sen. Jonathan Dismang of Beebe, who had been skeptical, told the crowd that members of his party are keeping an open mind and working to reach to reach an agreement.

"The interest exists and people are willing to dive into this and make sure they’re making truly informed decisions," Dismang said. 

Arkansas Capitol
Ron Breeding / KUAR News

Roby Brock with Talk Business tells Good Day Arkansas' Deedra Wilson about some of the more unusual bills being considered during the 2013 session of the Arkansas Legislature.

An Idaho ban on abortions after 20 weeks was overturned the same day Arkansas lawmakers passed a more restrictive law that opponents vowed to fight, intensifying a renewed debate over reproductive rights that has involved at least 10 states in recent years.

Ann Clemmer
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

The Arkansas House of Representatives has overridden by a vote of 56 to 33 the Governor’s veto of a controversial bill that restricts abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The bill will take effect 90 days after the conclusion of this year’s legislative session after the Senate voted 20-14 to override the veto Tuesday.

Republican Sen. Jason Rapert of Conway is the sponsor of SB 134, also called the Human Heartbeat Protection Act. It prohibits a pregnant woman from having an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, or after 12 weeks of pregnancy.