House Committee Passes Bad Bill Legalizing Delta-8 THC

On Wednesday the House Rules Committee passed H.B. 1605 by Rep. Jeremiah Moore (R – Clarendon) and Sen. Josh Bryant (R – Rogers).

H.B. 1605 is a bad bill that would legalize Delta-8 THC and other drugs made from cannabis.

Just like marijuana, these drugs impair users and pose a danger to children. That is why several states have passed laws making them illegal.

Instead of prohibiting Delta-8, H.B. 1605 legalizes it for people over age 21.

The marijuana industry did not get its way at the polls last November. Now powerful interests want to legalize a form of recreational marijuana at the Arkansas Capitol.

H.B. 1605 creates a way for wealthy companies to manufacture and sell Delta-8 and other dangerous drugs. The bill’s regulatory framework simply won’t protect kids from being exposed to these drugs.

Lawmakers could pass a measure that would actually restrict drugs. H.B. 1605 takes Arkansas the wrong direction by legalizing these drugs instead.

This measure passed in committee, but H.B. 1605 is not currently on the Arkansas House calendar. We are continuing to oppose this bill and monitor the situation surrounding it.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.

Senate Approves Bill Protecting Physical Privacy in Public Schools

Above: Sen. Dan Sullivan (R – Jonesboro) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) present H.B. 1156 protecting student privacy in Arkansas.

On Monday the Arkansas Senate approved a bill protecting physical privacy at public schools.

H.B. 1156 by Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) and Sen. Dan Sullivan (R – Jonesboro) addresses privacy in public school locker rooms, showers, restrooms, changing areas, and similar facilities by requiring public schools to designate these facilities for “male” or “female” use.

The bill also addresses sleeping accommodations for students on overnight school trips.

H.B. 1156 passed in the Arkansas House of Representatives last month, where it received very strong support from lawmakers.

This is a good bill that will help protect Arkansas’ students.

The Senate amended the bill — which means the House has to vote on the bill one more time before it can pass and go to Gov. Sanders to become law.

Below is a breakdown of Monday’s vote on H.B. 1156

The Following Senators Voted For H.B. 1156

  • J. Boyd
  • J. Bryant
  • Caldwell
  • A. Clark
  • Crowell
  • B. Davis
  • Dees
  • J. Dismang
  • J. Dotson
  • J. English
  • Flippo
  • Gilmore
  • K. Hammer
  • Hester
  • Hickey
  • Hill
  • Irvin
  • B. Johnson
  • M. Johnson
  • B. King
  • M. McKee
  • J. Payton
  • C. Penzo
  • J. Petty
  • Rice
  • Stone
  • G. Stubblefield
  • D. Sullivan
  • D. Wallace

The Following Senators Voted Against H.B. 1156

  • L. Chesterfield
  • S. Flowers
  • G. Leding
  • F. Love
  • R. Murdock
  • C. Tucker

Lawmakers Continue Filing Bills to Expand Alcohol in Arkansas

Alcohol expansion continues to be a major topic at the Arkansas Legislature.

This year, lawmakers have filed multiple bills amending and expanding the state’s alcohol laws.

For example, S.B. 411 by Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) and Rep. Matt Brown (R – Conway) more than doubles the percentage of alcohol by weight that beer can contain under Arkansas law.

Current law says beer can contain no more than 5% alcohol by weight. S.B. 411 raises that limit to 12% alcohol by weight. This could drastically increase the alcohol content of beer sold in Arkansas.

H.B. 1589 by Rep. Jay Richardson (D – Fort Smith) repeals Arkansas’ limit on the number of alcohol wholesaler permits in the state. Repealing this limit could expand the number of wholesalers selling alcohol in Arkansas.

H.B. 1498 by Rep. Matt Brown (R – Conway) and Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) would expand alcohol at microbrewery-restaurant private clubs and let municipalities authorize public drinking in entertainment districts outside microbrewery-restaurant private clubs. The bill passed the Arkansas House last week, and is in the Arkansas Senate this week.

The Arkansas Legislature has already passed Act 34 of 2023 by Rep. David Ray (R – Maumelle) and Sen. Matt McKee (R – Pearcy) letting cities and towns that do not collect advertising and promotion taxes on hotels and restaurants establish entertainment districts where public drinking is legal. This has the potential to expand public drinking in Arkansas by letting communities authorize public drinking in entertainment districts even if the community does not cater toward hospitality and tourism. Another new law — Act 169 of 2023 by Rep. David Ray (R – Maumelle) and Sen. Justin Boyd (R – Fort Smith) — would expand alcohol sales via microbreweries.

Alcohol is readily available in Arkansas. At this point, any law expanding its availability or consumption raises serious concerns about DUI offenses, crime, public health, and public safety.

That is why Family Council generally opposes the expansion of alcohol in Arkansas.