On final day to file bills, Ark. legislators introduce slew of shell bills

Arkansas legislators have introduced dozens of shell bills on the final day to file. Below are a list of some of those bills.

Lawmakers file dozens of shell bills

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - On the last day to file a bill for the 91st General Assembly, Arkansas legislators have introduced dozens of shell bills before the end of the work day. Below are a list of some of those bills.

SB626: To preserve the right to be left alone

Senator Jeremy Hutchinson (R-Little Rock) has introduced legislation that would preserve the "right to be left alone."

Currently, the bill is a shell bill that only states that the purpose is to preserve the right to be left alone. It's unclear if this proposed law is in response to recent bills filed this session or what it's intent may be.

HB2050: To allow public schools to teach creationism and intelligent design as theories alongside the theory of evolution

Filed by Representative Mary Bentley (R-Perryville), HB2050 is designed to amend Arkansas code to allow teachers to teach creationism and intelligent design as theories. 

In 1968, the United States Supreme Court overturned a 40-year-old statute in Arkansas that prohibited the teaching of evolution in public schools. Then in 1982, a state law was struck down, concluding that teaching "creation science" in Arkansas public schools was unconstitutional because it violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

HB1978: To amend provisions of the Arkansas code concerning authorization of charters for public charter schools

Filed by Rep. Jim Dotson (R-Bentonville), House Bill 1978 joins a growing charter school movement in Arkansas. This bill would amend provisions of the Arkansas code when it comes to authorizing charters for public charters schools.

In February, a bill was filed in the Senate that would allow established charter schools to move in to empty or underutilized public schools.

HR1042: To recognize and find that pornography is a public health hazard

The resolution, introduced by Rep. Karilyn Brown (R-Sherwood), reads:

"Whereas, the purpose of this resolution is recognizing and finding that pornography is a public health crisis leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms."

A similar resolution was recently introduced in South Dakota and Virginia. That proposed resolution states that pornography leads to "low self-esteem and eating disorders."

In 2016, Utah became the first state to declare pornography a public health crisis.

HB2011 & HB1935: To amend the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment

House Bill 2011, introduced by Rep. Michael John Gray (D-Augusta), joins a handful of other bills that looks to amend the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment.

Another house bill, House Bill 1935, also looks to amend the medical marijuana law. Introduced by Rep. Mark Lowery (R-Maumelle), HB1935 focuses on clarifying the amendment's "effect on Arkansas public schools, and to declare an emergency."

HB 2167, SB722 & SB721: To enact certain prohibitions regarding medical marijuana

Sen. Jason Rapert also introduced two more bills designed to change medical marijuana law in Arkansas. Senate Bill 722 states the purpose of the act is "to enact certain prohibitions regarding medical marijuana."

Senate Bill 721 is yet another bill looking to add an amendment to the law. In 2016, 53 percent of voters voted for the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment.

Recently, Rapert has introduced bills that would ban smoking medical marijuana or delay the implementation until federal law has changed regarding marijuana.  The bill to ban smoking medical marijuana in Arkansas failed in the Senate on Monday. Only ten voted for the bill, while 15 voted against and nine were recorded as non-voting.

HB2005: Concerning equine massage

Rep. Sarah Capp (R-Ozark) introduced a bill that concerns equine massage. Currently, animal massage is only allowed to be administered by a veterinarian.

HB2137 & HB2138: To amend the law concerning elections and voting

Two bills introduced by Rep. Vivian Flowers (D-Pine Bluff) are hoping to amend the law concerning elections and voting.

House Bill 2137 would create the "Voter Protection Act of 2017" while House Bill 2138 would create the "Voting and Elections Transparency Act of 2017."

SB619: To require the deregulation of professional wrestling

Sen. Greg Standridge (R-Russellville) has introduced a bill that would deregulate professional wrestling. The bill joins a 30-year effort to deregulate wrestling across the country. If deregulated, the state's athletic commission would no longer be required to rule over a wrestler's health as it would boxing or mixed-martial arts matches.

Funnily enough, the bills number (619), is the name of a popular moved used by Rey Mysterio Junior.

HB2259, HB2260, & HB2261: To require passage of the civics portion of the naturalization test for several positions in government

Rep. John W. Walker (D-Little Rock) introduced three house bills that would require the passage of the civics portion of the naturalization test used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

HB2259 would require anyone in the General Assembly to pass the test before they could vote for or against any proposed law or resolution.

HB2260 would require someone to pass the test in order to be eligible to serve as a director or head of a state agency.

HB2261 would require someone to pass the test if they want to serve as a constitutional officer in Arkansas.

If any of the bills pass, a person must have answered at least 60 of the 100 questions correctly. They may also retake the test as many times as necessary to get a passing score.

We will continue to update the story with more bills throughout the day. So far, 558 bills or resolutions have been filed on Monday.

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