The final days: Nuttery on display at the legislature | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 16, 2015

The final days: Nuttery on display at the legislature

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 7:15 AM

John Lyon takes a swing here at some of the weirdness still pending in this legislative session. It is by no means comprehensive, but it gives you a flavor.

* FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION: Lawmakers would make it a felony, though it's already a federal crime and there's no evidence it's occurring in Arkansas. But it might, says Rep. Mary Bentley, so busy with other extremist stuff that she got Brandt Smith of Jonesboro to pack this for her.

* SECRETARY OF STATE'S GESTAPO: Sen. Bryan King proposes a "voter integrity unit" under the direction of Secretary of State Mark Martin. Integrity? Mark Martin? Law enforcement powers? Mark Martin? Scary stuff. King is lucky that Martin has ducked out of the final two weeks of the session for a junket to Ghana. Otherwise, he might have to appear in public and take reporters' questions.

* NO CAKES FOR QUEERS: There's Rep. Kim Hammer's bill, which Lyon describes as a way for people who provide wedding services not to provide those services for certain types of sinners. (It's aimed at gays, of course.) Problem is, as written, the bill is written far more broadly. Here's the language in its entirety:

When a marriage violates the religious beliefs of a private business, a person authorized to solemnize marriages, or a religious institution, the person, business, or institution may choose to not provide services to the couple.

A hotel owner, restaurant owner, dry cleaner, newspaper, dog walker, plumber, whoever. If they think your marriage — same sex, different faiths, different colors, divorced people, — violates their religious "belief"  they may choose to not provide services. Any services.

There's more. But it only touches the surface. Far more dangerous things lurk.

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