You may have noticed that committee passage Wednesday of a bill to ensure safe housing for rental tenants in the only state in the country without such a standard was amended to remove efforts to address another one of a kind aspect of Arkansas rental housing law:

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Evictions. CORRECTION ON ORIGINAL POST: The bill originally addressed improving the civil eviction process, but did not address criminal evictions. The civil eviction change was removed.

Arkansans for Stronger Communities announced:

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Today Rep. Nicole Clowney introduced HB1798, which would repeal Arkansas’s criminal eviction statute. Arkansas is the only state that criminalizes the eviction process. Hundreds of cases are filed each year by prosecutors. Tenants, often unaware of the criminal nature of the proceedings, may unwittingly find themselves later prosecuted for failure to appear, and be subject to large criminal fines.

There is an easy-to-use civil eviction procedure, used hundreds of times in, for example, Pulaski County, where judges have found the criminal statute unconstitutional. No Supreme Court decision has reached the issue.

A bill by Rep. Johnny Rye to change the civil eviction procedure is on a committee agenda this afternoon.

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