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LR mayor asks Hutchinson to veto HB1228

By Chelsea Boozer

This article was originally published March 31, 2015 at 10:31 a.m. Updated March 31, 2015 at 12:16 p.m.

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola speaks in Little Rock at the Arkansas Municipal League's 80th Convention.

Do you agree with HB1228, Arkansas' Religious Freedom Restoration Act?

  • Yes; it's an important protection for those who wish to exercise sincerely held religious beliefs. 19% 1586 votes
  • No; it will allow businesses to discriminate against members of the LGBT community. 71% 5867 votes
  • No, but it can be remedied with language saying the legislation specifically has no discriminatory intent. 6% 551 votes
  • I have no position. 0% 53 votes
  • Other (please comment) 1% 104 votes

8161 total votes.

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola has asked Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto the Religious Freedom Restoration Act if it passes the state House on Tuesday.

Stodola had a signed letter hand delivered to Hutchinson's office Monday that listed his reasons for being opposed to House Bill 1228, which would not allow the state to "substantially burden a person's right to exercise of religion" unless doing so is necessary "to further a compelling state interest."

The capital city's mayor wrote that freedom of religion is already embodied in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

"Indeed, before the introduction of HB1228, the people of Arkansas have always given a high priority to religious freedom and they will continue to give religious freedom a high priority if it is not enacted. This type of legislation is simply not necessary," Stodola wrote.

Critics say the bill would allow businesses to discriminate against gays and others. Hundreds rallied against the bill at the state Capitol on Monday when a House committee approved Senate amendments to the bill.

Stodola said the legislation is "too divisive" and will have a negative impact on the state's image and economic development.

"With these kind of 'wedge issues,' no one is a winner on either side," he said.

The House will likely take up a vote on the bill as amended today when they convene at 1 p.m. It would then go to the governor's desk to be signed into law or vetoed.

Hutchinson said Monday that he would sign the bill.

The Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce also issued a statement Tuesday speaking out against HB1228, stating that the legislation is "bad for business and bad for Arkansas."

"As the principal business organization responsible for fostering the economic growth and development of the Little Rock Region, the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce supports an open and fair workplace and equitable business environment for all," the chamber said.

"While we believe that HB 1228 seeks to protect the religious freedoms of all Arkansans, it can be interpreted to provide religious protection for Arkansans who choose to discriminate against other Arkansans."

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Comments on: LR mayor asks Hutchinson to veto HB1228

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jumpedcut says... March 31, 2015 at 11:05 a.m.

Thank you, Mayor Stodola!

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Murphy01 says... March 31, 2015 at 11:25 a.m.

Mayor Stodola if your so interested in local issues where's that west LR police substation you promised with that tax increase you fought so hard for. Still waiting.

( | suggest removal )

UCAWHY says... March 31, 2015 at 11:36 a.m.

we're supposed to care what this political hack thinks, this is the man who ran for office then immediately wanted a pay raise after elected. He is a nobody and has done nothing, but keep posturing up Stodola if it gets you over your little man syndrome

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BEARTRAP919 says... March 31, 2015 at 11:41 a.m.

To say the Least, He is Correct on this Issue.

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MATYCHY says... March 31, 2015 at 12:03 p.m.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

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Hogwild80 says... March 31, 2015 at 12:04 p.m.

I fail to understand what problems this legislation is supposed to remedy. What will religious believers be able to do or not do as a result of it becoming law? Is it just a “feel good” law for those who can’t worship in private as Jesus so instructed His followers? It seems to be for those evangelistic Christians who have a need to let everyone else know their religious business.

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Slak says... March 31, 2015 at 12:14 p.m.

It is to keep Christian florists from being forced to make black rose arrangements for Satanic cult meetings, Hog man.

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NoUserName says... March 31, 2015 at 12:18 p.m.

Nice to see Stodola crawl out from under his rock.

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HappytobeHere says... March 31, 2015 at 12:22 p.m.

Dear UCAWHY, did you miss the fact that one of the first things our new State Senators and Representatives did was give themselves a HUGE raise? So far, I haven't seen anything constructive that they have done. They are too busy trying to push their views off on the rest of us.

( | suggest removal )

Ragmop says... March 31, 2015 at 12:26 p.m.

Holy Matrimony Batman, this is all nonsense. The Supremacy Clause in the Constitution supersedes any state law that guarantees religious freedom. All this whining and complaining is just to get attention.

( | suggest removal )

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