Amid intense criticism of Indiana’s religious liberties law, which has prompted lawmakers in that state to vow to fix the legislation, another state charged ahead with a similar measure. Arkansas lawmakers on Tuesday passed their own religious freedom bill, putting the state on the verge of formally adopting a law that could lead to another firestorm.
On Tuesday afternoon, after some debate in the state House of Representatives, lawmakers signed off on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The law now heads to the desk of Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), who has said he intends to sign it into law.
“This legislation doesn’t allow anybody to discriminate against anybody, not here,” State Rep. Bob Ballinger, a Republican who sponsored the bill, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “The bill does just the opposite. It focuses on the civil rights of people believing what they want to believe, and not letting the government interfere with that.”
Ballinger, an attorney who represents a district in northwestern Arkansas, said that he agrees with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) in that “there needs to be some clarity in the perception of the legislation.”
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