HomeState & NationalFran Cavenaugh's Legislative Update March 15-16, 2021

Fran Cavenaugh’s Legislative Update March 15-16, 2021

House members began the 10th week of the 2021 Regular Session on Monday.

The House passed more than 30 bills Monday afternoon, including the following:

HB1470-This bill prohibits a juvenile who has been placed in a juvenile detention facility from being placed in solitary confinement if the juvenile is pregnant, has had a baby in the previous 30 days, is breastfeeding, or suffering from postpartum depression.

It also prohibits adult inmates from restrictive housing for the same reasons.

SB170-This prohibits unlawful doxxing of a minor on social media. Doxxing is defined as publishing private or identifying information about a particular person on social media with a malicious purpose.

HB1589-This bill prohibits taxpayer resource transactions for abortions.

HB1548-This bill states that providers of personal care services should be paid at a rate that is consistent with efficiency, economy, and quality of care and is sufficient to enlist enough providers so that in-home care and services are available statewide. The bill also instructs the Arkansas Medicaid Program to conduct a review of the reimbursement rates for personal care if there is a change in the minimum wage.

HB1162-This bill amends the law concerning beneficiary deeds. It helps to create a pathway for Arkansans to protect their home if facing long-term care.

SB289-This bill states that a medical practitioner, healthcare institution, or healthcare payer has the right not to participate in a healthcare service that violates his, her or its conscience. “Conscience” is defined in the bill as religious, moral, ethical beliefs or principles.

SB301-This bill states that state agencies that fined a business during the public health emergency for a failure to comply with a rule, order, or directive to mitigate or prevent the spread of COVID-19 shall return the fines to the businesses.

House Bill 1487-This bill gives businesses and their employees immunity from lawsuits regarding exposure to COVID-19. The bill includes exceptions for willful, reckless, or intentional misconduct resulting in injury or damages and for Workers’ compensation benefits.

SB225-This bill amends the additional fees required to register a hybrid vehicle. If enacted, the new fees for hybrid vehicles will be reduced from $100 to $50 starting January 1, 2022. Fees for electric vehicles will be $200, and the fees for a plug-in hybrid elective vehicle will be $100.The House will convene on Tuesday at 1 pm.

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More than 370 bills have been signed into law so far during the 2021 Regular Session.

The House passed the following bills Tuesday afternoon:

HB1451-This bill allows a public school district to adopt a bilingual program or a dual-immersion program approved by the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education.

HB1594-This bill allows the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education to grant a teaching license to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients who have completed the necessary requirements.

SB382-This bill allows private, nonprofit two-year or four-year higher education institutions to be approved institutions under the Arkansas Future Grant Program.

HB1402-This bill amends the Abortion-Inducing Drug Safety Act. It states that physicians providing an abortion-inducing drug shall be credentialed and competent to handle abortion complication management, including emergency transfer, or have a signed agreement with an associated physician who is credentialed to handle abortion complications. It also states physicians must first examine the pregnant woman in person.

HB1136-This bill requires physicians attending to pregnant women to screen for Hepatitis C during their patient’s pregnancy.

HB1497-This bill expands the permitted use of a certified facility dog for vulnerable witnesses. Currently, certified dogs can be used in the courtroom to be present with children who testify in sexual abuse cases. This bill would allow the certified dogs to be present with children who are victims of sexual abuse while they are in a child advocacy center or prosecutor’s office. The bill also allows the dogs to be used with individuals who have an intellectual or developmental disability.

SB290-This bill states that a healthcare insurer shall ensure that an individual’s cost-sharing requirement of a diagnostic examination is no less favorable than the cost-sharing requirement that is applicable to a screening examination for breast cancer.

The House will convene on Wednesday at 1 pm.

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