Arkansas officials are defending in court a state law that prohibits Medicaid funds from going toward registered sex offenders, saying the prohibition serves a legitimate public interest.
Attorneys for the state Department of Human Services on Wednesday asked a federal judge to reject a doctor's effort to block enforcement of the law while he challenges its constitutionality. A hearing is scheduled Thursday on the request.
The law is being challenged by Dr. Lonnie Joseph Parker, who was convicted in 2000 of possessing child pornography. Parker has long maintained his innocence and had his medical license reinstated in 2005.
DHS attorneys said the law doesn't prevent Parker from practicing medicine in the state and said the restriction fits in with the state's goal of protecting the public from sex offenders.