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RFRA Scrutiny Shines Light On Similar Arkansas Bill

Jimmy Emerson

Nationwide scrutiny aimed at Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act may be making Arkansas legislators uncomfortable about passing their own religious freedom bill.

The bill, named the “Conscience Protection Act,” follows the same argument as Indiana’s religious freedom bill – that religious liberties are under stack and need protection. The bill awaits House approval on Senate amendments before going to Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.

Michael Hibblen is the News Director at NPR station KUAR in Little Rock. He says Hutchinson has expressed his intent to sign the bill in the past, but the attention Indiana’s legislation has received may change the resoluteness of the governor and some lawmakers.

“It is remotely possible that the Governor could change his mind and once the session ends on Thursday, then veto it Friday or next Monday. So, it is possible. He’s fairly moderate as far as Republicans go,” Hibblen says.

Hibblen says opponents loudly chanted their disapproval at the last committee meeting on the bill.

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