During legislative session, many bills have the potential to impact Arkansas with disabilities, their families, and communities. The following bills have been either signed or vetoed by the Governor and have a direct impact on the disability community.
Bills Signed by The Governor
Act 38 (Dalby) requires the House Committee on Judiciary and the Senate Committee on Judiciary to meet jointly to conduct a study of financial matters related to the court system, specifically the levying of fees and fines.
Act 49 (Boyd) is an amendment to the Arkansas Healthcare Decisions Act which allows a surrogate applying for public health benefits to have access to information regarding the principal’s income, assets, and financial records to the extent required to make an application.
Act 61 (Dalby) creates the Arkansas Family Treatment Specialty Court, which will use a multidisciplinary approach to serve families affected by substance use disorders and mental health disorders who are involved with the child welfare system.
Act 70 (Mayberry) requires a home caregiver to have at least four hours of training covering Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Act 164 (Irvin) requires background checks, registry checks, and drug screenings prior to hiring and every 5 years after for individuals working in community settings with people with IDD.
Act 187 (Irvin) expands list of eligible recipients for a record of a screened-out report of adult maltreatment or long-term care facility maltreatment to include an alleged offender’s current employer and the entity responsible for licensing/registering the offender.
Act 191 (Haak) removes the requirement that a person receiving the tax credit for the support of a child with a developmental disability must have a medical recertification of the child’s disability after 5 years if the disability is expected to continue indefinitely.
Act 200 (Tosh) allows a person to be employed within Arkansas Medicaid as a peer support specialist with a violent offense on his or her record upon the review and approval of the Department of Human Services.
Act 237 (Davis) creates the Arkansas LEARNS Act, creating personal accounts for students to use in attending eligible schools, setting a minimum teacher salary of $50,000 and making various other changes to education law. The LEARNS Act, if passed will take funding from public schools and divert it to private entities which are not subject to the same regulations.
Act 263 (Collins) requires a county board of election commissioners that holds early voting at an additional polling site to have the same early voting hours at that site as the designated early voting hours at the office of the county clerk.
Act 268 (Brown) requires a person/business that sells an emotional support dog to provide a written notice to the buyer containing certain information, requires healthcare providers documenting the need for emotional support dogs to meet certain requirements, including a requirement that a patient must have seen a provider for at least 30 days before they can certify a patient’s need for a support animal and an annual recertification requirement.
Act 274 (Stubblefield) provides that a healthcare professional who performs a gender transition procedure on a minor is liable if the minor is physically or psychologically injured; injured minor may bring a civil action. This is effectively another attempt to ban gender-affirming care with no regard for the adverse effects such a ban will have on the mental health of trans kids. The bill also contains several statements presented as fact which are not supported by data or the expert opinions of the medical community.
Act 316 (Pilkington) requires a healthcare insurer providing a health benefit plan to cover depression screening for birth mothers without diminishing or limiting otherwise allowable benefits.
Act 339 (Warren) provides that an organization that holds a Section 14(c) certificate is legally recognized to employ individuals with disabilities. These certificates allow for paying people with disabilities subminimum wage.
Act 353 (Dees) prohibits a county clerk, public employee, or election official from establishing or using a drop box for the purpose of collecting absentee ballots, and from delivering an absentee ballot through a drop box.
Bills Vetoed by The Governor
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