The “move over” law, which is Act 579, is now in effect. This requires motorists to either move to the farthest possible lane from authorized vehicles that are stopped or parked, any emergency responders, law enforcement or road crews, utility vehicles and tow trucks, etc., or to at least slow down and exercise caution if they determine it is unsafe to switch lanes. The law also requires such vehicles to use flashing, rotating or revolving lights, including amber, white, blue, red, amber and red or green. Violating the new law could result in a misdemeanor conviction for drivers. The penalties include a fine of $35- $500, no more than 90 days in jail,seven days’ community service and suspension of a driver’s license for a period ranging from 90 days to six months.
There will be some new State Police patrol cars on the highway. These are sports cars, in a variety of colors, which will be marked only on the right side as a trooper vehicle, but will have no roof mounted bar light. Rather blue lights will emanate from the top part of the windshield. The emergency lighting is fitted under the brim of the front windshield. They said the new vehicles will be able to monitor traffic while blending in with it. Particular caution will be used by troopers using the low profile patrol cars. The troopers, on a divided highway,when possible, will move into a position allowing a violator to get a better view of the trooper and see the right side markings of the patrol car. The trooper will then fall back behind the violator to do the traffic stop with a blue emergency light across the top interior of the front windshield.
A legislative task force toured 4 Possible veterans’ home sites last week. The final decision of where to locate the new facility will be made by the state Department of Veterans Affairs Director.. The facility will have up to 150 beds and will bring jobs, a possible 100, to the selected area and other industries associated with the home and its services. One of the sites is in Fort Smith at Chaffee Crossing. The other sites are in Haskell, Jacksonville and Russellville. There were some issues about another site in Search being visited by the Veterans Commission. Search did not get their proposal in for a site by the deadline and most said they should not be considered. However, the director said she was visiting many sites beyond those picked by the task force and will keep looking. She said she wanted to give this decision as wide of a look as she could. In the 2013 legislative session we approved $7.5 million instate General improvement Fund and with matching funds from the federal government could be spent to construct the new home. The state officials are optimistic that the federal dollars will be approved by Congress. The state also operated a nursing home for veterans in Fayetteville.The old facility was closed because of disrepair that renovation would be too costly to do.
Sen. Paul Bookout resigned last week amid revelations of ethics violations. He is from Jonesboro and Governor Beebe will call for a special election, since the legislature will meet in a fiscal session in January. A new legislator would need to attend budget hearings to be educated on the different agencies and the needs and the Governor’s budget.
The state attorney general reported that in July the Crime Victims Reparations Board awarded $317,000 to victims of crime in 186 new cases. The awards are to help with expenses caused by the crime. Most awards are limited to a maximum of $10,000 but can be as much as $25,000 if the victim has a catastrophic injury.This law that created reparation for crime victims was worked on and sponsored by Senator Bill Walters, one of our prior Senators from this area.
Labor Day is the First Monday in Sept. ,being this year Sept 2nd. This was to be a tribute to the contribution workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well being of our country. To many it has become the last celebration of summer, beginning of the football season, beginning of school and sales. I hope all of you have a fun and safe Holiday.
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