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Signature
Legislation

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The Pregnant & Parenting Students Act

After studying our state’s new and restrictive abortion laws, it became clear that Arkansas’s pregnant students and teen mothers would need more support. Too often, young mothers who are students don’t have the resources they need, and their pregnancy is de facto punished. Many of Arkansas's pregnant and parenting students have to drop out of high school, because they miss too many classes.

 

This law provides for additional leave for students for post-partum bonding time and recovery, pre- and post- natal doctor’s appointments, court appearances for adoptions, and other leave associated with caring for infants and small children. It also requires schools offer breastfeeding students a private place to pump or nurse that’s not a bathroom.

This law ensures no Arkansas student has to choose between their child and finishing high school. This was law was a strategic bipartisan accomplishment and passed without opposition.

Ashton & Abbie's Law

In early 2024 the Governor signed HB1486, Ashton and Abbie's Law, making it Act 445. This bill creates enhanced penalties for distracted drivers in accidents that cause serious injuries or death to another person.

I decided to write this bill after a dear friend of our family, Jim Woods, lost his daughter Ashton last year in an accident with a distracted driver. Ashton's entire family has been steadfast in their desire to make sure that Ashton is still able to make a difference, even though her time here on Earth was cut tragically short. I was resolved to try to help them in any way I could.

As the bill made its way through the House and Senate, Sen. Ricky Hill reached out about collaborating, and told me about another family who had lost their young daughter, Abbie Cooley, in a distracted driving accident, so we decided to honor her memory in the title as well. Abbie's mother, Chandler Sullivan and grandmother, Minnie Sullivan, also joined us today for the bill signing, as did Michele Paden, the founder and leader of Families Against Distracted Driving (FADD).

I am beyond humbled by and grateful to these families for their advocacy on this important topic and for being at the Capitol today for the bill signing.

Act 579

This law clarifies and adds additional protection for proceeds of life insurance policies, so that Arkansans can be assured that their final wishes to provide for their loved ones will be honored.

Act 621

I was proud to co-sponsor Act 621 with Senator Clarke Tucker, which provides for an excused absence so kids can go with their parents to vote!

HB1448

This law is special - not just because it was my first, but because a constituent brought it to me.

 

This constituent is a long time member of a water district commission and they’d had trouble over the years filling positions as commissioners moved on. He explained to me that the current method to fill these seats isn’t very efficient and costs more money than it should - and he suggested a fix to make it work better.

He’d proposed this to my predecessor and didn’t get much traction, so when we talked early in the session, I dove right in. After overwhelming support in both houses, the Governor signed this idea into law, and in doing so said, “this sounds like good governance.”

I think so too. Let’s keep pushing for good, efficient, and responsive governance, District 75.

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