JANUARY 23, 2007 - Posted at 11:13 a.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK- Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced his legislative package and priorities for the 86th General Assembly. Fighting Methamphetamine, Child Protection and ID theft highlight his first package to present to the Legislature.
The Jonesboro native announced a pair of bills to help fight Arkansas's methamphetamine problem. One of the Attorney General's bills creates a searchable database for law enforcement to monitor people buying excessive amounts of pseudo-ephedrine. This anti-meth legislation will build on the legislation passed last session requiring psuedoephedrine to be placed behind the counter in pharmacies, which resulted in a 50% drop in methamphetamine labs. The other bill amends the definition of drug paraphernalia to include all controlled substances, and adds "aluminum boats" to the list of paraphernalia. "Aluminum boat" is a term used to describe a folded, boat shaped piece of aluminum foil commonly used for smoking methamphetamines.
"I want to do everything I can to make it easier for law enforcement to stop this scourge on society," McDaniel said. "As a former police officer, I saw the destruction methamphetamine leaves on a family. By giving law enforcement these additional tools, I hope to make it much more difficult for these local 'cooks'."
McDaniel will continue fighting for Arkansas families with a bill that prohibits sex offenders from being awarded child custody or unsupervised visitation.
"I look forward to working with Rep. Dawn Creekmore on the sex offender legislation," McDaniel said. "She has been a champion on this issue and if we all work together, the children of Arkansas will soon be safer."
Additionally, his package includes a bill that adds to the definition of sexual offender any felony homicide offense which the underlying felony is an offense already listed as a sex offense. This legislation will require a person convicted of murder and rape to register with the sexual offender database. McDaniel will also push for his bill that bans adult entertainment businesses from being located within 1000 feet of schools, playgrounds, or places of worship.
Identity theft continues to be a priority of McDaniel's with several bills to further protect consumers. It includes a bill that will give Arkansans the ability to "freeze" their consumer credit reports when their identity has been frozen. The other bill expands current law to address financial and non financial ID theft, requires restitution for victims, and creates tougher penalties.
"With online banking, bill paying, and shopping increasing exponentially each year, we must take additional steps to protect our identities, provide help to those who have become victims, and make sure those who are committing the crimes are punished appropriately," McDaniel said.
"I look forward to working with my former colleagues in the State Legislature as we work to make Arkansas a better place to live, work, and raise a family," McDaniel said. "And I also want to continue the longstanding good relationship the Attorney General's office has had with the members of the General Assembly."
Below is a brief description of the bills in the Attorney General's package:
Credit Report Freeze
Allows Arkansas consumers to place a freeze on their consumer credit report.
Sexual Predator Custody
Prohibits a sex offender from being awarded child custody or unsupervised visitation.
Creates a searchable database for law enforcement containing information collected as a result of Act 256 of the 85th General Assembly.
Puts a limit on service fees and expiration dates of gift cards. Requires full disclosure from the issuing party.
Amends the definition of paraphernalia to include all controlled substances. Adds "aluminum boat" to list of paraphernalia.
Adds to the definition of sexual offender any felony homicide offense which the underlying felony is an offense already listed as a sex offense.
Allows citizens to retrieve personal property from impounded vehicles.
Prohibits adult entertainment businesses from being located within 1,000 feet of a schools, playgrounds, places of worship, or private homes.
Makes noncompliance of the seatbelt law a primary offense.
Quarterly Deposits and Penalties for Tobacco NPMs
Requires tobacco manufacturers who did not sign the Master Settlement Agreement, to pay on a quarterly rather than a yearly basis.
Expands ID theft law to address financial and non financial ID theft. Requires restitution for victims of ID theft. Enhances penalties for those commit identity theft.