Arkansas Legislative Year in Review: Extending terms for Clerks of Court; guns in courthouses; courthouse dogs for child witnesses

To appear on ballot

HJR 1027 (Constitutional Amendment) Extends terms for Clerk of Circuit Court from 2 years to 4 years. To appear on November 2016 ballot.

Law

HB 1193 Clarifies that district court fees shall be credited to the general fund of the county.

HB 1458 Repeals law held as unconstitutional that a judge removed from office through state’s judicial disciplinary process may never hold judicial office again.

HB 1456 Provides for mandatory suspension of a judge indicted or charged with a felony (currently optional suspension).

HB 1628 Provides deputy district court clerk employed by a city or county is governed by the employee handbook and policies of the city or county. Provides for cases where clerk is employed by multiple counties.

HB 1629 Requires District Court be held in each department of the district at least 1 time per month unless the city or town in which the department is located waives the requirement OR unless there are absolutely no cases to be heard.

HB 1855 Provides a “certified facility dog” may be allowed in court to stay with and assist child witnesses, subject to Supreme Court rule.

HB 1901 Implements November 2014 constitutional amendment. Extends various ethics laws to include judges and justices.

SB 159 Allows county employees and elected officials to carry guns into courthouses if they are employed in courthouse.