As of August 16 many of the laws passed by this year’s legislative session went into effect. Bills without an emergency clause or without a specified effective date go into effect 90 days after the final official day of the session. This 90 day period gives people time to file referendum petitions to nullify laws passed by the General Assembly. Appropriation bills, which authorize spending to state agencies, take effect July 1, the first day of the state fiscal year. Bills with an emergency clause take effect when they are signed by the governor.

One of the laws passed this year, Act 1029, requires the state Parole Board to issue an arrest warrant for any parolee who is charged with committing a violent or sexual offense. The act mandates that the Board conduct a revocation hearing to determine whether the parolee will be sent back to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence behind bars. In order for parole officers to keep the Board informed they must get arrest information from local law enforcement and sheriffs, who operate county jails. The legislature has focused attention on parole policies, not only in approving the new legislation but in holding a series of hearings over the summer to spotlight the danger to the public when potentially violent parolees are not monitored closely. According to news reports, the Parole Board recently revoked the parole of 110 parolees and sent them back to prison in less than a month of hearings. In all of last year, the Board revoked the parole of 365 parolees. One of the biggest issue is when state prisons are full, offenders who have been convicted cannot be immediately processed into state prison unit and must remain in county jails until space is available. Last week there were 943 state inmates being held in county jails because of a lack of space in state prison units. The state Correction Dept. reimburses counties $28 per day for each inmate.

Members of the Arkansas Board of Education called upon lawmakers last week to rewrite or replace the Arkansas Public School Choice Act passed this year saying that several parts of the school transfer law were difficult to interpret and apply.

The public and especially older citizens are being warned of phone scams. Someone is calling and saying that they are from different groups, such as the lottery or publishers cleaning house, and saying that you have won a big amount of money or prize. They carry on a conversation trying to get information and then tell you that to get the prize you have to send money or pay for an insurance policy or such. Please be careful about giving out your private information to anyone on the phone. When you have won something you will not be required to send money to get the prize. Be careful of phone calls.

If you would like to contact me, please email me at or call my office at 650-1884 or write me at P.O. Box 2387 Greenwood AR, 72936. Have a good week.