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Ark. Governor Won’t Sign ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill as is

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, right, answers reporters' questions as Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe, listens at the state Capitol in Little Rock on Wednesday. (Danny Johnston/AP Photo)
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, right, answers reporters’ questions as Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe, listens at the state Capitol in Little Rock on Wednesday. (Danny Johnston/AP Photo)

 

LITTLE ROCK (USA Today) — As local and state leaders and organizations pressured Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto House Bill 1228 — the Religious Freedom Restoration Act — the governor said Wednesday he won’t sign the bill in its current form.

The full House passed the “religious freedom” bill Tuesday afternoon after three concurred amendments passed the House Judiciary Committee on Monday. The measure was sponsored by Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville. Hutchinson had said he would sign the bill into law.

Ballinger said the governor has five days from the time he received the bill — not including Sunday — to act. He said that if Hutchinson does nothing, HB1228 will go into law; he has to veto the bill to prevent that.

The Republican governor said the bill wasn’t intended to allow discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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