LITTLE ROCK — Several bills enabling various operations of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission are among a number of bill filings this week at the state Capitol in preparation for the 91st General Assembly regular session.
Lawmakers also filed bills regarding military justice procedures and a bill to amend the law regarding criminal responsibility of defendants claiming mental disease or defect as a defense were also filed.
House Bill 1056 by Rep. Douglas House, R-North Little Rock, would allow the school superintendent of a student’s home-school district to waive the requirement that the student attend public school for one academic year to be eligible for a Succeed Scholarship program for students with disabilities.
House also filed several bills that focus on the medical marijuana issue. HB 1057 would add national and state criminal background check requirements and procedures to the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment passed by voters in November, and HB 1058 would amend the definition of written certification within the amendment, specifying that an application for a registry identification card is not a medical record, but may be signed by a physician after a patient’s condition is assessed by reviewing medical records from the patient’s personal physician, for issuing a registry identification card.
HB 1058 also would also exempt a registry application and any materials used to make a determination from disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.
HB 1059 by House would criminalize the violation of a military order of protection to allow state prosecution of such an order, in addition to any penalties that may be prescribed by military authorities.
HB 1060 by House would raise the maximum fine for contempt of a military court to $500, from the current maximum of $100.
HB 1061 by House would extend the statute of limitations for military justice from the current three years to five years.
HB 1062 by House would amend the law concerning the issuance of process, mandates, and subpoenas issued by military courts martial to include those issued by a military judge to be directed to and enforced by local law enforcement.
HB 1063 by House would amend the law regarding procedures used by military courts to give the governor executive authority over military courts of the organized militia.
HB 1064 by House would extend the offense of second degree criminal impersonation to anyone who fraudulently claims to be a member of the armed forces or National Guard.
HB 1065 by Rep. Danny Watson, R-Hope, would allow the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards to make additional salary payments up to $1,200 to certified commission employees above the basic certificate level at the discretion of the director and provided funds are available for that purpose.
SB 42 by Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Little Rock, would amend the laws regarding mental capacity of defendants in criminal trials to consolidate the current process, which requires two separate examinations to evaluate a defendant’s mental fitness for trial and to gauge a defendant’s capacity to form criminal intent, into a single examination.
Hutchinson said the current process can take as long as six months or more to determine a defendant’s ability to go to trial and to participate in his or her defense. If SB 42 passes, he said that time could be considerably shortened.
“The way the law stands, it lengthens the trial process, it keeps people in jail longer while they wait to be examined, and this bill should help alleviate that, possibly cutting off as much as half the time this process currently takes,” Hutchinson said.
The General Assembly is slated to convene Jan. 9.