January 31, 2007 EditionAlso in this issue...
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has announced his legislative package and priorities for the 86th General Assembly.
Fighting methamphetamine, child protection and ID theft highlight his first package to present to the Legislature. McDaniel announced a pair of bills to help fight Arkansas’ methamphetamine problem.
One of the Attorney General’s bills creates a searchable database for law enforcement to monitor people buying excessive amounts of pseudo-ephedrine. This anti-meth legislation will build on the legislation passed last session requiring pseudo-ephedrine to be placed behind the counter in pharmacies, which resulted in a 50 percent drop in methamphetamine labs.
The other bill amends the definition of drug paraphernalia to include all controlled substances, and adds “aluminum boats’ to the list of paraphernalia. “Aluminum boat” is a term used to describe a folded, boat-shaped piece of aluminum foil commonly used for smoking methamphetamines.
“I want to do everything I can to make it easier for law enforcement to stop this scourge on society,” McDaniel said. “As a former police officer, I saw the destruction methamphetamine leaves on a family. By giving law enforcement these additional tools, I hope to make it much more difficult for these local cooks.”
McDaniel will also introduce a bill that prohibits sex offenders from being awarded child custody or unsupervised visitation.
“ I look forward to working with Rep. Dawn Creekmore on the sex offender legislation,” McDaniel said. “She has been a champion on this issue and if we all work together, the children of Arkansas will soon be safer.”
Additionally, his package includes a bill that adds to the definition of sexual offender any felony homicide offense which the underlying felony is an offence already listed as a sex offense.
This legislation will require a person convicted of murder and rape to register with the sexual offender database.
McDaniel will also push for his bill that bans adult entertainment businesses from being located within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds or places of worship.
Identity theft continues to be a priority of McDaniel’s with several bills to further protect consumers. It includes a bill that will give Arkansans the ability to “freeze” their consumer credit reports when their identity has been stolen.
The other bill expands current law to address financial and nonfinancial ID theft, requires restitution for victims and creates tougher penalties.
“With online banking, bill paying and shopping increasing exponentially each year, we must take additional steps to protect our identities, provide help to those who have become victims and make sure those who are committing the crimes are punished appropriately,” McDaniel said.
“I look forward to working with my former colleagues in the State Legislature as we work to make Arkansas a better place to live, work and raise a family,” McDaniel said. “And I also want to continue the longstanding good relationship the Attorney General’s office has had with the members of the General Assembly.”
Below is a brief description of additional bills in the Attorney General’s package:
- Gift Cards: Puts a limit on service fees and expiration dates of gift cards. Requires full disclosure from the issuing party.
- Towing Liens: Allows citizens to retrieve personal property from impounded vehicles.
- Seatbelts: Makes non-compliance of the seatbelt law a primary offense.
- Quarterly Deposits and Penalties for Tobacco NPMs: Requires tobacco manufacturers who did not sign the Master Settlement Agreement to pay on a quarterly rather than a yearly basis.
- Salvage Title: Clarifies the duty to report a car as damaged and get a salvaged title to better protect consumers from unknowingly purchasing a rebuilt car.
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