Gov. Asa Hutchinson
will neither veto nor sign the bill to preserve legal discrimination against gay people. He will allow it to become law without his signature.
“Senate Bill 202 passed with significant margins in the General Assembly, and I have a high regard for the discussion in the Legislature and respect for the legislative process. As Governor, I recognize the desire to prevent burdensome regulations on businesses across the state. However, I am concerned about the loss of local control. For that reason, I am allowing the bill to become law without my signature.”
Legislative action was completed on the bill this morning
with a 58-21 vote in the House. It will take effect 90 days after the end of the legislative session because the emergency clause wasn't adopted. The bill prohibits local governments from providing civil rights protections for anyone not already protected by state law. It was a reaction to Fayetteville's unsuccessful effort to protect LGBT people by ordinance. The sponsors of the state law don't want that to happen again.
The action this morning gives cities and counties with spunk — such as Eureka Springs demonstrated Monday — time to pass civil rights ordinances and let the opponents try to knock them down. They'll face a hard time in federal court.
I expect an ordinance to be filed soon in Little Rock.