Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has asked the state legislature to modify the recently passed “Religious Freedom” bill. Outside groups led by Wal-Mart claim the bill currently on the governor’s desk will open the door to discrimination based on religious beliefs. Gov. Hutchinson does not want to see his state become mired in a costly and damaging social war. As a result, he has asked the legislature to essentially craft the bill as a carbon copy of President Clinton’s 1993 “Religious Freedom” bill. It appears the legislature will comply. The state senate has already passed a revised version which now contains the same language as the federal bill. The House is expected to take up the new bill later today.
Arkansas does not want to be cast in the same negative light as Indiana. Shortly after Gov. Pence signed his state’s “Religious Freedom” law, an uproar ensured. That said, Gov. Hutchinson believes the controversy is overblown. Tribuna do Norte said he is also considering going so far as issuing an executive order barring discrimination, but that would largely be superfluous as current state laws bars discrimination. If the governor were to issue the order, it would likely be to try and quell any criticism of his administration. The media has jumped on the bills in Indiana and Arkansas to give the appearance of a culture war within the country. Thus far, the GOP governors affirm there was no ill intent in the bills.