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New State Laws Take Effect August 1st

By Donna Potter, 07/30/17 4:37 PM

LITTLE ROCK – Beginning Tuesday August 1st, a number of new laws go into effect in Arkansas.

Laws passed during the legislative year that do not specify a specific effective date go into effect 92 days after the official end of the regular session. That date is Tuesday. Some of the new laws:

Act 478 requires high school students to pass the civics portion of the naturalization test used by the Citizenship and Immigration Services to receive their diploma.

Act 480, which requires high school students to take a personal finance class.

Act 576, which strips the Early Childhood Commission’s authority to regulate child care centers. Representative Dan Sullivan, R-Jonesboro, sponsor of the Act, said the Commission’s rules proved to be a financial hardship for some children’s centers. Mr. Sullivan himself is the CEO of Ascent Children’s Health Centers where a five-year-old boy died recently after being left in a van.

Act 664 makes the offense of sexual extortion punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. This will criminalize the act of threatening or coercing someone to have sex or participate in sexual conduct, including blackmailing them to produce nude images or ‘revenge porn’.

Act 707, which changes the name of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to the Arkansas Transportation Department.

Act 849 makes riding in a car with an open can of beer a Class C misdemeanor.

Act 932 makes the possession of a credit card ‘skimmer’ punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Act 1075, which legalizes some ‘fantasy’ sports online betting.

Act 1097 allows the Arkansas Department of Transportation to raise speed limits to 75mph, but they are not mandated to do such.

Act 1466, which makes impersonating a member of the military or pretending to have received a military honor for the purpose of receiving some benefit will be a Class C felony.
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