Friday, February 13, 2015

Hutchinson won't veto, but won't sign gay discrimination law. Time for cities to move. Little Rock will.

Posted By on Fri, Feb 13, 2015 at 2:00 PM

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.

His statement:

“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.

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