As a resident of Arkansas, any new laws or upcoming law changes may interest you. It’s important to stay updated on state law so you can be sure to follow them and also know your rights. While the state government is pushing for new laws and changes year round so they can help their constituents, many of the new laws and changes go into effect in the new year.
2021 has some changes that residents should be aware of. There are also upcoming dates and deadlines for the state government to take certain actions. You can take a look at the propositions that take place during this time as they may apply to you or interest you. Let’s go over law changes that are coming to Arkansas in 2021.
Earlier this year, Act 182 went into effect in January 2020. This reduced the top income tax rate, taking it from 6.9% to 6.6%. Act 182 also continues into 2021. In the new year, the rate will again decrease. This time, the jump will be bigger. The rate will decrease from 6.6% to 5.9%.
While not an upcoming law, it’s important to note that there are other upcoming rate changes in regard to health insurance. Insurance companies that offer health insurance plans for individuals and small groups need to file proposed rates with the Arkansas Insurance Department. The proposed rates need to be approved before they can sell the plans.
Rates will be disapproved if the Commissioner finds the following:
- The rate isn’t actuarially sound
- The rate is excessive
- The rate is unfairly discriminatory
- The rate is inadequate
Now that you’re aware of the upcoming rate changes in the new year, let’s take a look at what businesses will have to do.
Updated OSHA Labor Laws Poster
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is part of the United States Department of Labor and enforces safety standards for workers. They also promote healthy working conditions.
For the new year, employers in Arkansas that display OSHA safety posters at their place of business will need to update the posters to the 2021 version.
According to the Arkansas Department of Labor & Licensing, OSHA’s Job Safety and Health Protection needs to be posted by all Arkansas employers excluding all state, county, or municipal operations not required.
Important Dates and Deadlines for the 2021 Regular Session
If you’re wondering when the state government will reconvene for the new year or are curious about when bills can be introduced, then let’s look at the upcoming deadlines for the 2021 session.
On January 11, 2021, is when the convening regular session will begin. Arkansas Code § 10-2-101 states that the General Assembly will convene at 12 on the second Monday in January of an odd-numbered year.
During the first few months of 2021, those in the General Assembly will have deadlines to meet if they wish to submit legislation, amendments, and bills.
On January 25, retirement and health care legislation needs to be filed. The Arkansas Code states that any legislation that affects publicly reported retirement systems or pension plans needs to be introduced during the first 15 days of the regular session.
If anyone wishes to file constitutional amendments, it needs to be done by February 10, 2021. The General Assembly has until the 31st day of each regular session to do so.
The deadline to file appropriation bills is March 2021, as lawmakers have until the 50th day of each regular session to bring appropriation bills forward.
While you may not have to worry about these deadlines yourself, if you’re following a bill or are looking into the activity of your representatives, you may want to check in around these dates. This way, you can see if any new bills were introduced and read about what they affect. Some of the bills may apply to you or someone you know.
It may be near the beginning of the lawmaking process and you may not know if the bill will become a law, but you can see what proposals are being put out there and what possible changes could be coming to Arkansas as 2021 gets underway.
Our law firm in Little Rock represents clients all over the state. At McMath Woods, P.A., we pay close attention to the upcoming law changes and new laws so we can provide our clients with the best legal services possible. If you have a question about laws in Arkansas, you can reach out to us here.