Gov. Hutchinson signs Arkansas ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Governor Asa Hutchinson has signed a bill bringing a “stand your ground” law to the state of Arkansas.

The measure, Senate Bill 24, passed through both chambers of the Arkansas legislature after first failing to make it through the committee process earlier in the session.

Supporters of the bill say it strengthens self-defense rights, while opponents have derided it as “a license to kill.”

Hutchinson announced his intention to sign the bill while speaking with reporters Wednesday, noting that previous comments by law enforcement opposing the measure had been addressed with this version of the bill.

The governor noted that he believes a hate crimes bill should be considered along with this legislation, noting such a measure would address concerns that “stand your ground” laws disproportionately affect minority communities.

The governor also announced that he would be signing House Bill 1112, legislation that would tighten procedures around voters casting provisional ballots and remove the ability for voters without a state-issued ID to cast a ballot after signing a sworn statement.

This restriction of voting rights is just one seen around the country following the November 2020 election.

Hutchinson also discussed the ongoing discussion in Washington over stimulus funding, saying the Biden administration’s changing of the funding formula will shortchange Arkansans at the expense of other states.

Previous CARES Act funding was distributed based on population, but Hutchinson said the new plan would distribute funding based on unemployment rates. That switch from per capita distribution, the governor claimed, would mean Arkansas could miss out on up to $330 million in federal funding.

The governor said he had spoken with Sen. John Boozman and Sen. Tom Cotton on the issue, and they echoed his concerns.

Hutchinson also announced a proclamation on the launch of the Energy Resources Planning Task Force, which would review how the state and utility companies responded to the recent winter storms that left many state residents without water and saw some parts of the state see rolling blackouts.

The governor said he expected to see reporting from this new task force by September 30 of this year.

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