Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee voted “do pass” on amended SB 25. The bill is scheduled for a vote by the full Senate Monday, Jan. 30. Contact your Senator and urge them to vote NO! Arkansas tenants deserve a civil eviction statute so that if worst comes to worst and a landlord has to evict the tenant won’t be guilty of a crime!
In the Thursday Committee session no testimony was heard. The Chair of the Committee inaccurately characterized the bill as imposing consequences similar to those would get for letting your grass grow too high. No mention was made of the unfairness of landlords using the prosecutorial and law enforcement mechanisms of the State to get tenants off premises by use of criminal procedures, and of the fact that tenants almost never have lawyers to represent their interests. No one mentioned the fact that the amended bill grants no power to criminal courts to actually evict tenants. All they can do is fine them with criminal fines.
Work is being done now on a civil eviction bill. Contact your Senator and urge them to support the civil eviction bill. This week several Senators stated they knew a civil procedure is what is really needed. Let’s see if they really believe this. Will they be willing to sponsor a good civil eviction bill? Let’s see what they say.