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AG Opinions: From handguns to payment of burial expenses

AG OPINION NO. 2015-064 Te Attorney General rendered her opinion on the interpretation of Act 746 of 2013, ACA 5-73-120(a). Te AG concluded that a person is permitted to carry a handgun, knife or club in a ve- hicle when traveling outside his or her county, regardless of whether the weapon is concealed or in plain view in the vehi- cle and regardless of whether the person has a license to conceal carry. If the per- son takes the weapon out of the vehicle, the journey exception (above) no longer applies, and the person will risk commit- ting the offense of “carrying a weapon.” Te AG opines that so long as the person has no intent to unlawfully employ the handgun, knife or club against another person, the person may lawfully carry the weapon outside the vehicle. She adds to lawfully carry a concealed handgun it will be necessary to obtain a concealed-carry license. Te AG notes the capacity of law enforcement to investigate and the fac- tors that constitute reasonable suspicion. {Tere may be litigation and future court rulings on adjudicating these issues}.

AG OPINION NO. 2015-066 Juvenile probation officers and juvenile

intake officers are required to complete their

initial certification requirements

within one year of employment; and for the county to be eligible for state reim- bursement, whichever is less of $15,000 per year or half of the officer’s salary, the juvenile probation and juvenile intake officers must be: (a) certified according to the laws of Arkansas and (b) the sal- ary is paid by the county for the period of one year. See ACA 16-13-327 (d) and 328(d). Te AG concluded that as long as

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the county pays a full year’s salary for the position for an officer or officers (initial officer and replacement officer) that meet all the statutory requirements for their po- sition, and the county submits supporting documentation, the AG likely concludes reimbursement by the state is warranted and authorized. Te AG noted legislative clarification is warranted. {Also, the reim- bursement ceiling of $15,000 for half of the salary is outdated (from 1989) and the reimbursement mechanism is less efficient than a defined monetary reimbursement. All concerned should consider working together to address these legislative issues}.

AG OPINION NO. 2015-068 Te AG examined whether it is lawful

for a county to pay for burial or cremation expenses for a deceased individual when relatives are unable and/or refuse to pay. Te AG determined that it is lawful for a county to order a burial or cremation and to pay the expenses. Te AG further stated that, in her opinion, when relatives have waived their right to a body, the waiver vests the county with the authority to or- der and pay for the burial or cremation. [AG Opinion- 2006-011: Te AG stated that the county court has the authority to enter a judicial order authorizing the cremation of an unclaimed body after fol- lowing all of the procedures of applicable law, and in cases where the deceased is a “pauper.” Te AG further explained that A.C.A. § 20-17-702(a) requires a “diligent search” for the relatives or next of kin of the deceased and through this search, a deceased’s status as a pauper can be de- termined. If a county orders a body to be cremated without authority to do so, the AGstated that the county could be subject

AG Opinions

to civil liabil- ity. Finally, the AG stated that although there is no statute dictating the responsibility for payment of a cremation, a county is authorized to make payment for such a cremation under the county court’s authority and assuming there are appropriated funds for that purpose.]

Mark Whitmore AAC Chief Counsel

AG OPINION NO. 2015-084 Te AG examined several laws on the allocation of fines from citations and misdemeanors within the boundaries of a district court. Te AG concluded that the implementation of electronic tickets did not change the process or allocation of fines among the cities within a county. Te AG also determined the number of district courts is set forth by statute and the mere act of holding court in a location within a district court district does not establish another district court. Te AG further explained that a city that operates a police department but does not oper- ate a district court can only share in the revenues if they: (a) have entered a writ- ten agreement affixing their share of the obligation for operating the district court and (b) actually contribute their share for the operating expenses of the district court. Te AG explains that the written agreement is to be by and between all of the governing bodies of all of the political subdivisions in the county.

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