Literally, hundreds of new laws go into effect today in the great State of Arkansas, and there is bound to be one or two that affect you, your business, or your family. Listed below are a few of the highlights. Some of these new laws have been placed on hold due to court challenges. 

For a summary of the legislation passed in the 93rd General Assembly of the State of Arkansas, including links to specific laws going into effect today, here is the click here.

CROPS

Industrial Hemp
ACT 565 (HB1640) amends the law regarding industrial hemp production to repeal the Arkansas Industrial Hemp Act and to establish the Arkansas Industrial Hemp Production Act. The act requires the Department of Agriculture to develop a plan to monitor and regulate the industrial hemp production program in the state and to submit the state plan to the United States Secretary of Agriculture. The act requires the State Plant Board to adopt rules to implement the act and address the licensure, records, inspection and sampling, testing, reporting, transportation, and eligibility to participate related to the industrial hemp production program.

LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY

Artificial Insemination
ACT 131 (HB1142) recognizes artificial insemination of livestock and animals as a routine animal husbandry practice. Feral Hogs ACT 692 (HB1636) amends the law regarding feral hogs. The act deems a feral hog an imminent threat to public health and safety and amends the law regarding the capturing and killing of feral hogs. The act amends the law regarding releasing feral hogs into the wild and clarifies the powers and duties of the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission related to feral hogs.

PRODUCTS - PROCESSING, LABELING, AND MARKETING

Dairy Pricing
ACT 521 (HB1729) amends the powers and duties of the Arkansas Milk Stabilization Board and sets the price to be paid for milk produced and sold in Arkansas.

ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

Expanding Outdoor Dining
ACT 705 (SB479) authorizes the expansion of outdoor dining by restaurants without prior approval from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division and delays the payment of restaurant sales taxes. The act declares an emergency and is effective on and after April 14, 2021.

Private Clubs - Designated Entertainment District
ACT 874 (HB1228) authorizes a designated entertainment district in an area with established entities authorized to sell alcoholic beverages and amends a definition related to on-premises consumption of alcoholic beverages to include consumption within the boundaries of a designated entertainment district that is contiguous with the premises.

Delivery to Private Residence
ACT 158 (SB32) authorizes retail liquor, microbrewery-restaurant, and small brewery permit holders to deliver alcoholic beverages to the private residence of a consumer who is twentyone (21) years of age or older in a wet county or territorial subdivision during legal operating hours by an employee of the permit holder.

CHILDREN

ABUSE AND NEGLECT
Blue Ribbon Task Force to End Child Abuse
ACT 920 (HB1894) creates the Blue Ribbon Task Force to End Child Abuse, which is charged with taking a systematic and holistic approach to eliminating child abuse in the state. The act provides that the task force expires on December 31, 2022.

Arkansas Child Safety Center Act
ACT 975 (HB1499) amends the Arkansas Child Safety Center Act to transfer certain duties and responsibilities of the Arkansas Child Abuse/Rape/Domestic Violence Commission concerning child safety centers and multidisciplinary teams to the Children's Advocacy Centers of Arkansas.

Childcare Facility - Notice Concerning Sex Offender
ACT 828 (HB1098) provides that, if an owner, operator, lessee, or administrator of a childcare facility is married to a sex offender, the owner, operator, lessee, or administrator shall provide notification in writing or by email to the parent, legal guardian, person having lawful control, or person standing in loco parentis of a child who attends the childcare facility that the owner, operator, lessee, or administrator is married to a sex offender and the sex offender will not be present on the premises of the childcare facility while children are present. The act also defines "sex offender".

EDUCATION

Courses and Programs - Parental Notice and Inspection
ACT 552 (SB389) requires public schools to make certain information and materials available for inspection by parents and legal guardians of public school students participating in certain courses or programs and requires public schools to provide prior written notification to parents and legal guardians of public school students participating in certain courses and programs that are not directly related to a requirement under the Arkansas academic standards.

Holocaust Education - Requirement
ACT 611 (SB160) requires all public schools to provide Holocaust education beginning with the 2022-2023 school year.

Physical Education and Health and Safety - Hunting Safety Course
ACT 536 (SB161) allows public schools to offer to students in grades five through twelve (5-12) a hunting safety course as part of the public school's physical education and health and safety curriculum.

FIREARMS

CONCEALED HANDGUN LICENSING
Fee Waiver for Current or Former United States Military
ACT 888 (SB171) waives the licensing fee for a license to carry a concealed handgun if the applicant is a veteran of the United States Armed Forces or is currently serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Emergency Medical Technicians
ACT 948 (SB467) permits an emergency medical technician to possess and carry a concealed handgun without a license to carry a concealed handgun. The act also provides that a business entity, owner or legal possessor of property, or private employer is not liable in a civil action for damages, injuries, or death resulting from or arising out of an employee's actions involving a handgun lawfully possessed by an emergency medical technician under certain circumstances.

CONCEALED HANDGUNS - GENERALLY

Municipal Parks
ACT 638 (SB306) provides that a person with a license to carry a concealed handgun may carry a concealed handgun in a municipally owned or operated park.
Prosecuting Attorneys ACT 710 (HB1593) allows a retired prosecuting attorney or a retired deputy prosecuting attorney designated by the prosecuting attorney to carry a concealed handgun under certain conditions

Arkansas Sovereignty Act of 2021
ACT 1012 (HB1957) provides that all acts, laws, orders, rules, and regulations of the United States Government that were enacted on or after January 1, 2021, that infringe on the people's right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Arkansas Constitution, Article 2, § 5, are invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, are specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state. The act also provides that a public officer or employee of this state or a representative, agent, or employee of a municipality, a county, or the state, acting under the color of law, with all the rights, grants, and assignments of a law enforcement officer in the state, shall not enforce or assist federal agencies or officers in the enforcement of any federal statute, executive order, or federal agency directive that conflicts with Arkansas law. Further, the act does not prohibit or otherwise limit a state law enforcement officer, state employee, or employee of a political subdivision of the state from cooperating, communicating, or collaborating with a federal agency if the primary purpose is not law enforcement activity related to a federal ban or the investigation of a violation of a federal ban.

HEALTH

Abortion-Inducing Drugs
ACT 562 (HB1402) amends the Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act by repealing and replacing the legislative findings and purpose of the act, repealing the definitions regarding "final printed labeling", "Mifeprex regimen", "Mifepristone", and Misoprostol" within the act, and repealing and replacing the language regarding the procedures for prescribing, administering, dispensing, or otherwise providing abortion-inducing drugs by a physician.

Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act
ACT 309 (SB6) creates the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act, which abolishes abortion in Arkansas and prohibits a person from purposely performing or attempting to perform an abortion except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency.

FOOD

Cottage Food - Internet Sales
ACT 306 (HB1118) amends the provisions applicable to sales of cottage food production operations and provides that sales by a cottage food production operation through the internet are exempt from the definition of "food service establishment". The act declares an emergency and is effective on and after March 9, 2021.

Licensure, Certification, and Inspection - Exemption
ACT 1040 (SB248) creates the Food Freedom Act, which exempts certain producers of homemade food or drink products from licensure, certification, or inspection.

GENERALLY

COVID-19 Vaccine Passports Prohibited
ACT 1030 (SB615) prohibits the requirement of vaccine passports in Arkansas.

Gender Transition Procedures
ACT 626 (HB1570) creates the Arkansas Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, which prohibits gender transition procedures for minors, prohibits use of public funds for gender transition procedures, and prohibits insurance coverage of gender transition procedures for minors.

Mandatory Face Coverings - Ended and Prohibited
ACT 1002 (SB590) ends mandatory face covering requirements not imposed by a private business or state-owned or state-controlled healthcare facility and prohibits a state agency or entity, political subdivision of the state, or a state or local official from mandating a face mask, face shield, or other face covering.

Prohibition on Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement
ACT 977 (HB1547) prohibits the state, a state agency or entity, and a political subdivision of the state from mandating a vaccine or immunization for coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) and governs requirements for a vaccine or immunization for coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) in certain situations when approved by Legislative Council.

HIGHWAYS AND TRANSPORTATION

STATE HIGHWAYS
Autonomous Vehicles
ACT 619 (HB1562) repeals the limitation that a person may operate a maximum of three (3) autonomous or fully autonomous vehicles simultaneously on the streets and highways of this state.

Driving upon Left Lane
ACT 1090 (HB1849) amends the law concerning when a vehicle may be driven upon the left lane of a multilane highway.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

GENERALLY
Arkansas Sovereignty Act of 2021
ACT 1012 (HB1957) provides that all acts, laws, orders, rules, and regulations of the United States Government that were enacted on or after January 1, 2021, that infringe on the people's right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Arkansas Constitution, Article 2, § 5, are invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, are specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state. The act also provides that a public officer or employee of this state or a representative, agent, or employee of a municipality, a county, or the state,
acting under the color of law, with all the rights, grants, and assignments of a law
enforcement officer in the state, shall not enforce or assist federal agencies or officers in the enforcement of any federal statute, executive order, or federal agency directive that conflicts with Arkansas law. Further, the act does not prohibit or otherwise limit a state law enforcement officer, state employee, or employee of a political subdivision of the state from cooperating, communicating, or collaborating with a federal agency if the primary purpose is not law enforcement activity related to a federal ban or the investigation of a violation of a federal ban.

NATURAL RESOURCES

ALTERNATIVE FUELS
Electric Vehicle Infrastructure
ACT 781 (SB632) creates the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Grant Program within the Department of Energy and Environment to provide grants to public and private entities for the construction, installation, and associated costs connected with the deployment of certain charging facilities and creates the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Fund. The act declares an emergency and is effective on and after April 20, 2021.

Again these are but a few of the new laws in effect, click here to see them all.

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