RFRA Bill In AR Legislature: If Not Approved Today, Will Become Law Monday Without Governor's Signature

Vivian Hughbanks
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Posted: Apr 02, 2015 3:45 PM
RFRA Bill In AR Legislature: If Not Approved Today, Will Become Law Monday Without Governor's Signature

Update: Arkansas legislators have announced that Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) has signed the revised RFRA bill.

Original post:

If a revised version of the bill that would implement the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the state of Arkansas is not approved by the state’s House today, it will go into effect even without the Governor’s signature next Monday.

The bill has a five day deadline for the governor to veto after first being approved by the legislature. Hutchinson refused to sign HB 1228 -- similar to legislation passed in Indiana last week -- after it was approved Tuesday by the legislature, sending it back for modification. Without a direct veto from Hutchinson or approval of new language, the original bill will become law Monday.

“He’s already done that on another bill, SB 202...he let it become law,” State Senate Minority Leader Keith Ingram told Townhall.

A modified bill passed the state’s Senate Wednesday, and is currently awaiting approval in the House. The legislature will be in recess tomorrow.

“The House will hear the revised language today,” Ingram said. “This bill will mirror the federal RFRA law -- the other bill had a lot of other language in it.”

Hutchinson faced pressure to veto the bill from state leaders and organizations, and received direct statements from Walmart, Inc., based in Bentonville, Arkansas.

“Today's passage of HB1228 threatens to undermine the spirit of inclusion present throughout the state of Arkansas and does not reflect the values we proudly uphold. For these reasons, we are asking Governor Hutchinson to veto this legislation,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement on Tuesday.

The big box giant took to Twitter Wednesday to commend Hutchinson for his refusal to sign:

The D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign also deeply opposed the bill, gathered signatures for a petition calling for a veto, and held a rally at the state capitol Wednesday.

"It's clear Governor Hutchinson has heard the voices of thousands of Arkansans and millions across the nation, and today's decision to temporarily stop this discriminatory law from advancing is a sign of progress,” Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “But the proof will be in the pudding, and we must now wait to see what actions and language Governor Hutchinson and the Arkansas Legislature put forward in the coming days and weeks.”