Monday, January 13, 2014

New Voter ID Law Hits AR

Photo ID will now be required for voter in upcoming elections. The new law will grant photo IDs for all, for free, so fill the gap with many who may not have ID. The law passed the Republican-controlled House, the Senate later overrode a veto by Democratic Governor Mike Beebe. Some critics suggest that voter turnout will decline, particularly for poor and elderly. The additional process is seem by opponents as an impediment to voting. Your thoughts?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Payday Loans in Arkansas Facing Hurdles

Which is a good thing. Check out all the poor neighborhoods. One thing is the same. Poor neighborhoods don't have grocery stores (or as many), you can't get fresh anything, you can buy your choice of fast food, there are no banks, but you can definitely cash your check at exorbitant rates at the payday loan joint down the street. It's not by accident. So any move to regulation for what can be predatory practices is welcome relief to the least among us. The AR attorney general is suing companies that colluded to offer illegal payday loans online while claiming to be affiliated with a Native American tribe to avoid legal action. The case is not a black and white attack on payday loans establishments, rather, how a particular group of business conducted themselves. The suit against Western Sky Financial, CashCall Inc. WS Funding, Martin A. Webb and J. Paul Reddam. McDaniel's lawsuit claims that the defendants offered payday loans with interest rates as high as 342 percent, violating Arkansas law. Western Sky is based in SD and identifies itself as a tribal entity protected by sovereign immunity.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Arming Teachers in Arkansas

The Arkansas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies suspended the licenses that had been issued to 13 school districts classifying them as private security firms. Members of the panel said they agreed with a legal opinion issued by the state's attorney general that public schools could not use the licensing law to arm staff. This slows a west Arkansas district's plan to equip more than 20 employees with concealed handguns as volunteer security guards when classes begin next week. The balance is between school boards trying to come up with suitable responses to protecting children in schools. The proverbial 'rock and a hard place' pits doing nothing to the extreme of arming teachers. What's even more disturbing is that the training of these teachers and principles involved live mock exercises complete with children vitims in the hallways. How low have we come. The alternative is to increase police presence in schools. The question is who will pay. Conversely, even with armed teachers, you bring in the layer of insurance--who would cover such a scenario? The alternative to higher taxes for increased police presence is to arm the schools. Or do nothing. In Arkansas do nothing doesn't fly.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Arkansas Scores Huge Improvement in Human Trafficking Legislation

Arkansas has grown in leaps and bounds with their laws combating human trafficking (modern day slavery). Human trafficking in all of its forms exists in Arkansas. Be it forced labour, sex trafficking, or domestic servitude, all forms are crimes that are growing and can be found in the state. For the most part the world has been slow (including the US, although in many respects we lead the charge to change this) to adopt new laws and even recognize the problem. A lot of that has changed in Arkansas as new legislation has given this state the 'most improved' title for all states in the country. The Polaris Project, an NGO designed to fight human trafficking in the US and beyond, dubbed Arkansas and our new laws the 'most improved' in their report. Here is the section on Arkansas. http://www.polarisproject.org/storage/documents/Arkansas_State_Report_2013_08_01_16_51_32_564.pdf What can you do to help? Well first steps first, is education--understanding the problem and help in identifying issues. After that, perhaps support for a local NGO already on the ground running.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Don't forget to vacate

Well, I suppose one doesn't forget to vacate the premises after they've been evicted or their lease expires. Arkansas has the 'failure to vacate' law that in fact imprisons those who don't pay rent. That's all fine and dandy for landlords, but the issue is open to abuse. That's raised the profile of the law with human rights groups.
“Making matters considerably worse, the law strongly discourages accused tenants from pleading not guilty. Those who do are required to deposit the total amount of rent they allegedly owe with the court, which they forfeit if they are found guilty. Tenants who are unable to deposit the rent amount but plead not guilty anyway face substantially harsher fines and up to 90 days in jail. Tenants who plead guilty face none of this.”
Raw Story (http://s.tt/1zA4N)

Monday, February 4, 2013

To and fro on abortion

THe left doesn't know what the right is doing. Well the right has won their fair share of victories, but today they took one step forward and were dealt a blow on the other (that's a 'blow' in their opinion. Prochoice proponents wouldn't feel the same way.) The Senate approved a bill to ban most abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected, a move that would prohibit the procedure as early as five weeks into pregnancy. The Republican-controlled Senate passed the bill 26-8. Around the same time the House failed to clear a bill in committee that would public money from funding abortions under the federal health reform law. The Republican sponsored measure would prevent insurance companies from using tax money in offering abortion coverage under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. No insurance companies in the United States cover elective abortions.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Foster care legislation change in Arkansas

new legislation will now change the approach the Department of Human Services (DHS) handles abuse cases for children in foster care. Arkansas is the first state in the country to begin a new approach. Now, nny sort of neglect could mean your child is sent to foster care. The new legislation could allow DHS workers flexibility in responding to the child's needs, in many cases using a federal waiver to keep children at home. The new measure does not apply to instances of sexual or physical abuse.