Week 8 in Review: Arkansas’ 91st General Assembly
On Wednesday, the Arkansas Senate gave final approval to refer a constitutional amendment to Arkansas voters on tort reform.
The Senate voted 20-11 on SJR8 that would place limits on punitive and non-economic damages, limit contingency fees and allow the Legislature to approve rules and procedures for state courts. The amendment will be decided by the voters in November 2018.
Also on Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would freeze enrollment in Arkansas Works after July 1, 2017.
The bill requires the Department of Human Services to file a waiver with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to place a freeze on further enrollment into Arkansas’ Medicaid expansion program. The bill passed by a vote of 55-32 and now heads to the Senate Public Health Committee.
On Thursday, the Senate Education Committee passed a bill that would separate Dr. Martin Luther King Day and Gen. Robert E. Lee Day.
The bill would designate the third Monday in January as Dr. Martin Luther King Day and the second Saturday in October as Robert E. Lee Day. Governor Hutchinson, who testified in favor of the bill, said the combined holiday made some Arkansans feel that you had to “make a choice.” The bill now heads to the Senate floor.
The Arkansas legislature continues to make changes to the medical marijuana amendment passed by the voters in November 2016.
This week, the Senate Public Health Committee passed two bills that would ban the smoking of medical marijuana and prohibit the sale of food and drink containing medical marijuana. Both bills now head to the Senate floor for further consideration.
A plethora of bills were filed this week, as Monday, March 6 marks the bill filing deadline for the Regular Session of the 91st General Assembly.
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