LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Among nearly 900 laws passed this session in Arkansas, many became the law of the land in the state as of the beginning of August.
The date marks 91 days since the adjournment of the state legislature. The laws passed by the legislature without a date clause go into effect on Aug. 1.
Several laws have already gone into effect through emergency clauses they passed with, and some others will be phased in over the next few years.
The Protect Arkansas Act was one law Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders campaigned on. The law, sponsored by State Senator Ben Gilmore (R-Crossett), passed in the 2023 legislative session.
The law will be phased in over the next two years, though parts of it will go into effect today. One aspect is the Recidivism Task Force, which focuses on repeat offenders.
“We’re going to study ways that we can help reduce the recidivism rate we have in Arkansas, and what steps can we take within the prison to help prepare inmates for when they leave incarceration,” Gilmore said.
The task force is scheduled to meet at least once before the end of the month and is supposed to submit a report to the governor by the end of the year with discoveries and recommendations to address the recidivism issue Arkansas currently faces.
Another massive reform law starting to go into effect is the Arkansas LEARNS Act. That law also comes with a phased-in approach, though aspects can start being implemented now like the Education Freedom Accounts and teacher salary raises.
The law has faced backlash for months, as many have called the 144-page legislation package “too big” or “far reaching,” though Sanders has maintained this is the way to save education in Arkansas.
In addition are laws dealing with kids on social media. The Social Media Safety Act requires parental consent for any Arkansan under 18 starting a new social media account. It goes into effect Sept. 1, though it is already facing a lawsuit claiming it violates the First Amendment.
Another law aimed at kids and social media does go into effect today, preventing kids from accessing pornography. The sponsor told KARK 4 News back when it was being voted on that it will require a form of ID before entering a website that offers pornography.
In addition, the Democratic Party of Arkansas tweeted a list of laws passed this session also going into effect. These new laws were sponsored by Democrats.