A look at new laws going into effect in Arkansas on July 31st

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - On Monday, July 31 several laws which were passed during the 91st General Assembly are set to go into effect. Acts which were passed and signed into law become effective 91 days after the legislative session has ended.

The laws range from increasing criminal fines to raising the speed limit on interstate. Below is a list of some of the more interesting laws going into effect.

Act 45, Act 603, Act 1018: Laws restricting abortion laws in Arkansas

On Friday night, U.S. District Court Judge Kristin Baker blocked the state from enforcing four new abortion restrictions, three of which were set to become law on July 31.

Act 603, which has come under recent criticism, connects to the Arkansas Final Disposition Rights Act of 2009, which states family members have to agree on what to do with a dead person's remains

Critics have said the law would potentially require a woman to get permission from their male partner or worse, their rapist, before getting an abortion.

While Act 45 puts a ban on dilation and evacuation abortions in the state, the ACLU said that Act 1018 would create "new, invasive, and burdensome reporting requirements to local police for abortions obtained by young women."

A fourth law, Act 733 looks to prevent sex discrimination when a woman wants an abortion. 

Read more on the four bills by clicking here.

Act 1075: Daily fantasy sports games legalized in Arkansas

Arkansas joined 10 other states by allowing and legalizing daily fantasy sports. Not only that, but the state will collect taxes on the popular sports game. Operators of the games will be taxed at 8 percent for any activity from Arkansas.

Read the bill by clicking here.

Act 1116: Concerning the placement of juveniles

This law states that when either the Department of Human Services takes custody of a juvenile or that a court has deemed a child should be removed from a home, the department will attempt to relocate them with a relative.

This would allow for a non-custodial parent, grandparents, parents of the child's sibling, or fictive kin such as godparents to take custody of the juvenile.

Read the bill by clicking here.

Act 1097: Allowing speed limit to be increased to 75 mph

The maximum speed limit in the state will change from 70 to 75 miles per hour while rural highways will go from 60 to 65. But the change is up to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department.

"That doesn't mean we're going out and raising the speed limit," said Danny Straessle with AHTD. "[We] must take into consideration population, average daily traffic counts and the geometry of the road."

He also said that the department is not required to do anything because of this law.

Read the bill by clicking here.

Act 566: Helping Our People Excel (H.O.P.E.) Act

A bi-partisan bill introduced by State Rep. John W. Walker will assist formerly incarcerated people by allowing those with felony drug charges to apply for food stamps and putting a hold on fees while they are in prison or hospitalized.

Omavi Shukur, an attorney at Walker's law firm, explained that people convicted of rape or murder were eligible for benefits, but people convicted of felony drug offenses were not.

Read the bill by clicking here.

Act 706: First offense for texting while driving increases from warning to $250 fine

Known as Paul's Law, this new law hopes to cut down on distracted driving by increasing the first offense from just a warning to a $250 fine. Each subsequent violation comes with a fine of no more than $500.

If a person pleads guilty to driving while texting during an accident or collision, the fine will be doubled.

Read the bill by clicking here.

Act 849: Illegal to have open alcohol container in car

It will be illegal for a person to have an open alcohol container that is "readily accessible" to the driver or a passenger. It is not illegal to have an open container outside of the passenger area of the vehicle.

Read the bill by clicking here.

Act 1071: Allow employees with concealed carry licenses to keep guns in car while at work

"It is the intent of this act to reinforce and protect the right of each citizen to lawfully transport and store a handgun within his or her private motor vehicle for lawful purposes in any place where the private motor vehicle is otherwise permitted to be located."

Read the bill by clicking here.

 

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