Feb 28, 2023 - Politics

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders races to sign a flurry of bills

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives her acceptance speech on election night. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has signed more than 140 bills into law since taking office 49 days ago, a spokesperson tells Axios.

Why it matters: The Republican supermajority in the state Legislature means few bills, if any, are likely to run afoul of the new administration, so work is quick.

  • Yes, but: The high volume and quick clip of laws enacted means citizens may have missed important changes.

Catch up quick: Most of the laws deal with technicalities and appropriations of funds for departments to operate, but some could have a broad and immediate impact on Arkansans' day-to-day lives, such as:

  • Adult-oriented performances intended to appeal to prurient interests, featuring nudity or semi-nudity, are restricted from public property or anywhere a minor might see. This bill first targeted drag performances but was amended to remove that language.
  • Absentee voting is permitted for those who are prevented from doing so due to a religious observance during polling hours on Election Day.
  • Public schools and open-enrollment public charter schools are required to excuse absences due to pregnancy or parenting, including labor and delivery, as well as prenatal and postnatal medical care.
  • A special court program was created for families experiencing neglect issues due substance use or mental health disorders so that parents receive appropriate treatment in an effort to reduce separation from their children.
  • People who have voluntarily sought mental health care may now obtain a concealed carry permit for a handgun two years after the treatment has ended.

What we're watching: The "LEARNS" education bill will continue to move through the Legislature this week. It's scheduled to be reviewed by the House Education Committee Tuesday at 9am.

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