Governor's spokesman: No plans for executive order on LGBT state workers | Arkansas Blog

Monday, April 6, 2015

Governor's spokesman: No plans for executive order on LGBT state workers

Posted By on Mon, Apr 6, 2015 at 3:22 PM

UNDER CONSIDERATION: Now that HB 1228 is defused, Gov. Hutchinson (shown here at last week's big press conference) seems to have lost interest in an executive order protecting LGBT state employees. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • UNDER CONSIDERATION: Now that HB 1228 is defused, Gov. Hutchinson (shown here at last week's big press conference) seems to have lost interest in an executive order protecting LGBT state employees.

Remember last week when Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he was "looking at ... utilizing an executive order ... in terms of protecting against discrimination in the workplace for state government"?

Apparently, he's taken a look, and it's not going to happen anytime soon.

At a bill signing ceremony today, I had the chance to ask Hutchinson's spokesperson, JR Davis, when we could expect some word on the executive order that the governor had mentioned last week. Davis said that the governor had "no plans on that right now."

Since the legislature complied with his wishes on HB 1228 and reconfigured the bill's language to make it correspond more closely to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it appears Hutchinson considers the matter closed for the time being. 

"He's pretty content with the legislation we've got," said Davis. He added that the possibility of such an executive order was still "under consideration."

Hutchinson indicated from the beginning that his motivation in potentially protecting LGBT state employees from discrimination was to communicate a message to the outside world, not because it was something he was enthused about doing. At the press conference last week on HB 1228, he said, "we’re looking at an executive order to aid in that communication and make it clear that Arkansas wants to be a place of tolerance."

But also, by saying in the same statement last week that an executive order could "[protect] against discrimination in the workplace for state government," Hutchinson acknowledged that the issue of protecting LGBT state employees isn't just a piece of theater. It's about real people, real jobs and real protections. Do we want to allow state agencies to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, or do we not want to? Does Hutchinson want Arkansas to "be a place of tolerance" or not?

It's really no surprise, but it seems likely that Hutchinson used the idea of an executive order to both threaten the hard social conservatives within his party with the truly horrible specter of the HB 1228 debate resulting in expanded rights for LGBT people, while simultaneously allowing the bill's opponents to think of his qualified phrasings — "another option we’re looking at is..." — as a sign that the governor had had a true change of heart. That's hardly the case, as indicated by the final piece of compromise legislation.

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (14)

Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

More by Benjamin Hardy

Readers also liked…

  • Jason Rapert vs. Wikipedia

    Sen. Jason Rapert against the world: Wikipedia edition.
    • Jan 23, 2016
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • Charter school accountability: Non-existent in Arkansas

    A state audit finds charter school spending violated state law, but the state Education Department says it has no responsibility for ensuring proper management of charter schools. Say what?
    • Mar 5, 2016

Most Shared

  • Lynchings hidden in the history of the Hot Springs Confederate monument

    Hot Springs twice erupted into the kind of violence that has its roots in the issues left unresolved by the Civil War, and both times, it happened right where that monument to Confederate soldiers stands today.
  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation