Arkansas “Religious Freedom” Bill May Became Law Despite Governor’s Remarks

Written by SK Ashby

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said today that he will not sign the "religious freedom" bill that was passed by the state legislature, but just because he won't sign it doesn't necessarily mean it won't become law.

via USA Today

The full House passed the "religious freedom" bill Tuesday afternoon after three concurred amendments passed the House Judiciary Committee on Monday. The measure was originally sponsored by Republican Rep. Bob Ballinger of Hindsville. Hutchinson had previously said he would sign the bill into law.

Ballinger said the governor has five days from the time he received the bill — not including Sunday — to act. He added that if Hutchinson does nothing, HB1228 will go into law; he has to veto the bill to prevent it from becoming law.

Under state law, a bill will become law automatically if the governor doesn't veto it. Hutchinson has not said that he will veto the bill, and while it's possible that he might, he hasn't promised to do so yet.

During his press conference today, Hutchinson called on the state legislature to pass another version that is less terrible, but the bill they've already passed will become law if he doesn't veto it.

There's no doubt in my mind that Governor Hutchinson would have signed the bill into law if Indiana Governor Mike Pence had not beaten him to the punch. The shitstorm that descended on Mike Pence after he signed Indiana's "religious freedom" bill into law undoubtedly changed the calculus for Hutchinson.

It's unfortunate that shit must hit the fan before draconian state laws draw national attention.

To be fair, the sheer amount of horrible shit produced by Republican-controlled state legislatures is difficult to keep up with.