ARKANSAS: Senate Approves Anti-Gay License To Discriminate Bill, Gov. Asa Hutchinson Says He Plans To Sign It
The chamber voted 24-7 to approve House Bill 1228, the Conscience Protection Act, a day after representatives from the Human Rights Campaign spoke out against the bill in Little Rock and called it discriminatory. HB1228's lead sponsor, state Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville, has said the bill will shift Arkansas to a strict scrutiny standard, which makes it more difficult to infringe on religious rights. He told House members when the legislation passed that chamber last month that it would require the government to have compelling interest and for it to take the least restrictive action to regulate a "legitimate, deeply-held religious belief."The bill must now return to the House to reconcile minor changes made by the Senate. The House first approved the bill in February. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said yesterday that he intends to sign it.