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    Crafting the new school choice law

    7:45 PM, Feb 9, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas lawmakers face range of challenges as they seek to craft a new school choice law.

    Arkansas lawmakers are weighing competing proposals over how to rewrite the state's school choice law that a federal judge last year ruled as unconstitutional because it relied too heavily on racial criteria.

    Both education advocates and lawmakers say Arkansas should develop a new law so the fate of district-to-district transfers isn't left in the hands of the courts. There are currently three different suggestions.

    One proposal would let students to transfer to another district as long as it doesn't conflict with any pending desegregation court order. Another allows school districts to opt out of the law if they think it would lead to racial segregation in their schools. A third bill places limits on transfers based on a district's percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch.

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    Arkansas House approves bill that would toughen the state's human trafficking law

    The Arkansas House has approved a bill intended to toughen the state's law against human trafficking.

    The House voted 91-0 Friday for the bill that would offer new protections for victims of human trafficking, such as allowing them to sue their abductor for damages. The legislation would also broaden the definition of human trafficking and create new penalties for knowingly patronizing a prostitute who is a human trafficking victim.

    The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. David Meeks of Conway also creates a task force to make recommendations on how to further address human trafficking in the state.

    Republican Sen. Missy Irvin of Mountain View is sponsoring an identical version of the bill that passed in the Senate Thursday by a 34-0 vote.

    (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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