Arkansas is a penstroke away from having a “license to discriminate” law nearly identical to Indiana’s. HB 1228, the Arkansas “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA), already passed both the House and the Senate, though it is awaiting a final consensus vote in the House before advancing to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s (R) desk for his signature. Unlike the scramble now happening in Indiana, lawmakers do not plan to include any clarification or carve-outs for nondiscrimination protections and activists are already pressuring Hutchinson to veto.

BREAKING: Arkansas Legislature Passes Anti-LGBT Bill Just Like Indiana’s

Arkansas’ House of Representatives just passed a religious freedom bill that is very similar to Indiana’s, according to multiple reports. Because the Arkansas Senate already passed the measure last week, it now goes to Governor Asa Hutchinson (R), who has indicated that he will sign the legislation into law. According to the New York Times, the Arkansas legislature rejected attempts to carve out an exemption prohibiting discrimination against members of the LGBT community.

Shanna Tippen was another hourly worker at the bottom of the nation’s economy, looking forward to a 25-cent bump in the Arkansas minimum wage that would make it easier for her to buy diapers for her grandson. When I wrote about her in The Post last month, she said the minimum wage hike would bring her a bit of financial relief, but it wouldn’t lift her above the poverty line.

She called me the other day to say she didn’t get to enjoy the 25-cent hike for long. After the story came out, she says she was fired from her job for talking to the Post.

Tippen says she was fired by her boss, hotel manager Herry Patel. Earlier that day, Patel had called The Post to express frustration that he had been quoted giving his opinion about the minimum wage hike. (He objected to it.)

It was soon after, Tippen says, that Patel found her in the lobby and fired her.

“He said I was stupid and dumb for talking to [The Post],” Tippen said. “He cussed me and asked me why you wrote the article. I said, ‘Because he’s a reporter; that’s what he does.’ He said it was wrong for me to talk to you.”

Patel introduced Tippen to me. During a trip to Pine Bluff, Ark., in mid-January, I went to numerous businesses across town and found Patel in the hotel lobby and introduced myself. There, I interviewed him for several minutes. Patel then suggested I speak with Tippen, who was cleaning up the continental breakfast bar. I interviewed her during her work shift, during a slow afternoon as she manned the front desk.

Several days later, after I’d spent additional time with Tippen, Patel called me and threatened to sue if an article was published. Tippen, though, felt it was important to tell her story; she said many people shared her experience earning the minimum, and she had nothing negative to say about her employer.​

A man who sounded like Patel, reached recently at the Days Inn, declined to comment in several separate phone calls. On one call, the man said he’d never met Herry Patel and did not know who he was. On another call, he threatened to call the police if “you keep bothering us.”

Initially, Tippen was uncertain whether she wanted to publicly share the story of her firing, but she decided to because she feels increasingly desperate. She lived paycheck-to-paycheck during her two-plus years at the Days Inn, and now, she and her family are living off a recent tax refund check that won’t last past March. Tippen says she’s looking for another job but hasn’t found one yet.

“As of now, I’m looking for any kind of job at all,” she said. “Flipping burgers. Cleaning. Anything. It doesn’t matter.”

Dear Future Girlfriend

I’m sorry if am bottled up and rough to talk to at first. I’m not used to getting so much attention from someone. I’m sorry if it seems like I don’t show enough emotion towards you, I’ve just been hurt so bad before, but I promise I’m trying my best. I’m sorry if It seems like I don’t care. I really do, it’s just that in past I was pushed away because I cared “Too much”. I’m sorry if I seem distant at times. You didn’t do anything to cause it, I just don’t want to be too clingy because I’m afraid that’ll push you away. I’m sorry if I’m constantly asking you what you are up to. I’ve felt left out and pushed aside for the longest time and I just want you to know that I care about you. I’m sorry if I ever let you down, I never intend to do so.. I’m sorry I’m the way I am. I have a wall built around me because My hear has been broken before. But I promise you that I have good intentions and I love you with every bit of my heart. You’re wonderful and beautiful in every way. Thank you for being patient with me. But most of all, thank you for loving me the way you do.

Arkansas Passes Privacy Bill That Could Kill Street Photography

Prominent photography groups are sounding the alarm about a new bill that was just passed by the Arkansas Senate. SB-79, the “Personal Rights Protection Act,” would require photographers to get written consent from a stranger to feature their likeness in a photograph for most purposes.

The law could have a huge implication on street photography, whose practitioners thrive on the ability to capture life and people on camera without having to constantly stop and ask for releases from the subjects.

The American Society of Media Photographers writes that it is joining the MPPA, DMLA, NPPA, and other organizations in opposing this bill and asking Arkansas’ governor to veto it.

(Continue Reading)

This is Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. He is expected to sign into law HB1228, a religious freedom bill almost identical to the one passed in Indiana. 

What does he think about the bill? 

“Arkansas is open for business, and we recognize and respect the diversity of our culture and economy.”

If that’s true, then where are the protections for groups that comprise that diversity? We want answers, Gov. Hutchinson. 

the tv in the room where i’m writing is on cnn and they’re interviewing the dude who sponsored the Arkansas “religious freedom” bill and he’s either a lizardman or he’s reading off a teleprompter.  His head is completely still and the only parts of his face that are moving are his mouth and his eyelids.  He’s just spouting bullshit while staring straight ahead and blinking rapidly.  It’s frightening

This is pissing me off

So, currently, in Arkansas, they’re trying to pass the “religious freedom” law. What this “religious freedom” law does is that it protects the right of companies and businesses to do what they want, basically, in the name of religion and prevents the state government from interference. This is a gateway to discrimination based on sexuality and gender. A business is able to turn away people and fire people based on their sexuality and gender (it already happens a lot, but this will make things a lot worse). The horrible thing is that the governor has already released a statement promising that if the bill made it to his office, he will sign it into law. There are thousands of protesters right now and despite that, he hasn’t changed his stance. I’m so pissed!

I’m getting really angry about this piss poor excuse for coverage over religious freedom laws, like you know what having a baker refuse to make a gay couple a cake really sucks but you know whats even worse? Having hospitals LEGALLY refuse to treat a patient when they find out they’re transgender/queer etc. Like I’m sorry a photographer wouldn’t do your wedding but when people are left to die because their genitals don’t match their gender presentation we have bigger fucking problems to focus on than cake