Several new state laws likely to face legal challenges

LITTLE ROCK (Arkansas News Bureau) -- State lawmakers said creating jobs was one of their goals for this year's legislative session, and although it's too soon to say how well they achieved that goal, it's safe to say they did create a good deal of work for lawyers.

A number of measures passed over opponents' objections that they were legally suspect, including three that Gov. Mike Beebe vetoed because of concerns about their constitutionality. Lawmakers overrode those vetoes. A few new laws are already in court.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights have already filed a federal lawsuit challenging Act 301, which bans abortions at 12 weeks or later into a pregnancy, with exceptions for rape, incest, medical emergencies endangering the life of the mother and fetal anomalies that would not allow the child to live after birth.

Holly Dickson, legal director for the Arkansas chapter of the ACLU, said the organization also expects to file a lawsuit challenging Act 595, which requires voters to show photo ID at the polls. Act 595 is another measure that Beebe vetoed.

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