Stack of New Arkansas Laws Take Effect Next Week

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A stack of new state laws concerning guns, schools, even wine take effect next week.

One allows concealed carry license holders to keep their gun on their employer’s property.

Act 1071 states Arkansans with the permits can store their guns in their cars out of sight and under lock and key in a private employer’s parking lot.

“I’m sure a significant number of Americans have been doing this long before concealed carry licenses have come out,” said Chuck Schlichting, a CCL holder for three years.

According to the law, the holder doesn’t have to put the gun in a lockbox until he or she gets out of the car.

Private employers can prohibit non-employees from storing guns in their cars but can only prohibit employees under rare circumstances.

“If you own a piece of property, you ought to be able to say who can and can’t come onto your property with a gun,” said Graham Sloan, who doesn’t have a CCL.

However, the law does give employers other rights, like the ability to fire or sue employees if they flagrantly display their gun in plain sight.

Employers will also not be liable for any damages, injury or death resulting from employees keeping their guns in a car.

“There’s a lot of folks out there who are armed that shouldn’t be,” Schlichting said.

Another new law, Act 862, allows school districts to avoid making up snow days by assigning students work online.

Arkansas Commissioner of Education Johnny Key is currently accepting applications through September for districts’ alternative instruction plans for the 2017-2018 school year. If approved, schools could get up to ten student attendance days they would otherwise lose to inclement weather or other circumstances.

The Pulaski County Special School District already sends students home with their Chromebooks every day to work offline, but its staff understands Mother Nature could still get in the way. 

“Even during an inclement weather day, if the power goes out, the battery only lasts so long,” said Will Reid, the chief technology officer for PCSSD. “So during those times, the student is not going to be punished if they don’t get the homework done. It’ll just be makeup work they’ll have to do when they get back.”

Reid said PCSSD will wait until the 2018-2019 school year to apply so it can help teachers prepare at least three days ahead of work for students on the Google Drive.

Also beginning Aug. 1, level-three sex offenders will be allowed at schools for events if they are related to a student and give 24-hour written notice.

Arkansans will be able to buy lottery tickets with debit cards and receive shipments of small farm wines to their doors next week.

Three abortion laws are also set to take effect, pending a federal lawsuit.

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