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 ®, 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.
It’s been a hellish few days for Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who made the horrible decision to sign his state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. Now, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison may be about to make the same mistake.
The Arkansas House and Senate have both passed a RFRA nearly identical to Indiana’s, allowing individuals and businesses to express their “religious freedom” without penalty – even if it means discriminating against LGBT people or anybody else. We should know for sure whether Hutchinson will sign it by around 11:30 EST today.
The perils Hutchinson faces were made clear Tuesday morning when Pence insisted he’d “fix” Indiana’s law to make sure it doesn’t allow businesses like Christian florists or bakers to turn away gay and lesbian customers – which the bill’s conservative supporters had said was one of their chief goals.
“Was I expecting this kind of backlash? Heavens no,” Pence said.
Following Indiana, Arkansas becomes the second of what could be a spate of states to add religious freedom laws to their books this year. There are 14 other states considering similar proposals this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. […]
The other states where religious freedom bills have been introduced are Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Those efforts have stalled, though, in North Carolina and Georgia.
Not an April Fool’s joke. An actual real thing, that could actually become law in roughly a third of the country. How.
First, something fun.Dig this classic Sex Ed movie from the golden age of school films titled simply “Sex Education for Girls” Part 1 and Part 2
Secondly, Arkansas’s first Republican legislature since Reconstruction has decided to flex their newfound power by stripping women of their reproductive rights. A bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks has passed the Legislature been vetoed by the Governor and then had that veto OVERRIDDEN by the legislature.
Not content with this, they have also passed a 12 WEEK abortion ban which is currently on it’s way to the Governor for a (hopeful) veto.
If you’re in Arkansas and you care about a woman’s right to choose then PLEASE CHOOSE TO HELP by calling the numbers listed above and registering your support for women’s reproductive rights.
“It is a useful thing when a political party reveals itself as utterly unsuited for national leadership. This may be the one redeeming feature of Monday’s letter to the Iranian government signed by 47 (or, to put it another way, all but seven) Senate Republicans.
"The letter—which encourages Iran’s leaders to dismiss the ongoing nuclear talks with the United States and five other nations—is as brazen, gratuitous, and plainly stupid an act as any committed by the Senate in recent times, and that says a lot. It may also be illegal.”
Even if it is illegal, nothing will happen, but the fact that these people thought this was a good idea makes them completely unfit for their offices.
Donald J. Trump’s suggestion that a Fox News journalist had questioned him forcefully at the Republican presidential debate because she was menstruating cost him a speaking slot Saturday night at an influential gathering of conservatives in Atlanta. It also raised new questions about how much longer Republican Party leaders would have to contend with Mr. Trump’s disruptive presence in the primary field.
Continuing his complaints about Megyn Kelly, one of the moderators of the debate, in an interview on CNN Friday night, Mr. Trump said, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” The remark prompted Erick Erickson, the leader of RedState, the conservative group, to disinvite him.
“If your standard-bearer has to resort to that,” Mr. Erickson told hundreds of conservative activists in a packed Atlanta hotel ballroom on Saturday, “we need a new standard-bearer.”
With Mr. Trump at center stage Thursday in Cleveland, Fox News shattered television viewership records for a primary debate: Nearly 24 million people watched. But any hopes that Mr. Trump, the real estate developer and television celebrity, would try to reinvent himself as a sober-minded statesman, or that he would collapse under scrutiny and tough questions, vaporized in the opening minutes when he refused to rule out running as an independent candidate for president. His remarks Friday only furthered the impression that he also had no intention of speaking more carefully. Mr. Trump denied on Saturday that he had been implying that Ms. Kelly was menstruating. “I think only a degenerate would think that I would have meant that,” he said in an interview, insisting that he had been referring to Ms. Kelly’s nose and ears.
But as his latest eruption rippled through Republican circles, the conversation turned to whether the party, and his rival presidential contenders, should continue to accommodate his candidacy, quietly hoping that this would be the moment he burned out — or whether they should try to run him out on a rail.
If party leaders saw danger in provoking a breakup — and no small advantage to be seized from the ratings bonanza Mr. Trump showed himself capable of delivering — there were signs that other influential Republicans would tolerate only so much of Mr. Trump’s behavior.
“Come on,” Jeb Bush, who has campaigned as the adult among the party’s 17 presidential candidates, said in his remarks at the RedState gathering. “Give me a break. Do we want to win? Do we want to insult 53 percent of all voters? What Donald Trump said is wrong.”
Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive, who delivered perhaps the most assertive turn in Thursday’s debate among the candidates trailing in the polls, posted on Twitter: “Mr. Trump: There. Is. No. Excuse.” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina went further, saying, “Enough already with Mr. Trump.”
Yet in a sign of the lingering reluctance among some in the field to anger Mr. Trump’s supporters, other candidates, including former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, would not condemn Mr. Trump’s comments.
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, in an interview to be broadcast Sunday, praised Ms. Kelly but stopped short of calling on Mr. Trump to apologize. “I’ve made a decision here with Donald Trump, you know, if I comment on everything he says, my whole campaign will be consumed by it,” he said. “That’s all I’ll do all day.”
In recent days, public statements from businesses like Walmart, which is based in Arkansas, have played a big part in getting the Arkansas governor, Asa Hutchinson, and the governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, to reconsider their previous support for the religious freedom laws as passed by their Legislatures. On Thursday, lawmakers in Indiana adopted changes to clarify that its law does not authorize discrimination. And Arkansas legislators changed their law so it closely mirrors a federal law.
Just issuing corporate statements against such a law is relatively easy and actually doesn’t provide protection against discrimination. If corporations and their executives care about civil rights, they should make clear that they will not donate to or support the campaigns of politicians who back such regressive legislation. They certainly shouldn’t back lawmakers like Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, who is running for president and who has been a vocal supporter of the initial versions of the Indiana and Arkansas laws, and Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, who suggested on Wednesday that gays have it pretty good in the United States because they are not executed here as they are in Iran.
Another thing businesses can do is to make clear that they want lawmakers in all states to pass anti-discrimination protections for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people. More than three dozen chief executives of technology companies did just that in a statement released on Wednesday.