2019 Session: Legislators pass 800+ laws, some to face legal challenges


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The 92nd General Assembly wrapped up this week with lawmakers passing more than 800 new laws.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson still has some signing to do to make them official, but in the 87 days of the session, lawmakers passed all four of his priorities: teacher raises, tax cuts, a long-term highway funding plan and the reorganization of state government.

Before adjourning for good, the House and Senate will reconvene in two weeks in case they need to fix bills or override vetoes. Hutchinson has said he doesn’t plan on issuing any vetoes.

A bill the governor signed in February is already in court. The Libertarian Party of Arkansas is suing to overturn a new law that makes it more difficult for new political parties to access the ballot.

Another bill may not be far behind. Hutchinson has also signed a bill to ban most abortions 18 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy, becoming one of the strictest prohibitions in the country.

Arkansas previously banned abortion at 20 weeks.

The 18-week ban takes effect 90 days after the legislature officially adjourns the session. The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas has promised a lawsuit.

Utah’s ACLU, along with Planned Parenthood, filed a federal lawsuit this week to block its 18-week abortion ban state lawmakers also passed earlier this year. 

Federal courts struck down Arkansas’ 12-week abortion ban the legislature passed in 2013. Gov. Mike Beebe vetoed the measure, but the legislature voted to override it with a simple majority.

During this year’s session, Hutchinson also signed a bill to prohibit abortions, except to save the mother’s life, if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade. 

According to the Guttmacher Institute, six states now have this trigger law in place. 

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