Arkansas Legislature

Courtesy / Jim Hendren

On Wednesday morning, a bipartisan group of Arkansas legislators unveiled their draft of a hate crime bill that would provide enhanced sentencing for crimes committed because of a person's race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Governor Asa Hutchinson and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge also announced their support for the bill. Currently, Arkansas is one of three states without a hate crime law.

The Arkansas Legislature has proposed an amendment to the state constitution that would change the process by which citizens can propose changes to the Arkansas Constitution. Janine Parry, political science professor at the University of Arkansas and director of the Arkansas Poll, tells us what the proposed changes entail and how those changes could make it more difficult for citizens to get amendments on the ballot.

A bill drafted by Rogers attorney Josh Bryant would bring sweeping changes to private adoption statutes in Arkansas. The bill is making its way through the state legislature.  

Courtesy / Safe Haven Baby Boxes, Inc.

The state's Safe Haven Law has been amended by the state legislature to include fire stations as safe havens. The law also allows the use of "baby boxes," secure hatches installed on the facades of first responder facilities for distressed mothers to anonymously and safely relinquish newborns.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Arkansas is one of nine states that does not provide a live video stream of floor proceedings in the Senate. That will change when the General Assembly convenes in January. Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren and Senate Minority Leader Keith Ingram shared thoughts on what effects a live video stream could have on the Senate.