Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, who eventually broke a tie that let HB 1228 out of the Senate Judiciary committee after it had failed there three times, continues to publicly regret his role in advancing the bill to the full Senate, where it passed 24-7 after being bottled up in committee for two days. The bill was eventually replaced by the narrower SB 975 after Hutchinson’s uncle, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, asked the legislature to recall HB 1228 to bring it more in line with the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yesterday, Sen. Hutchinson told Huffington Post that though he knew the bill would have unintended consequences for Arkansas, he cast the tiebreaker vote to send HB 1228 to the full Senate out of cowardice after Democratic Sen. David Burnett unexpectedly flipped his vote to a yea. Said Hutchinson to HuffPo:
I had yet to vote on it, period, because as chairman you don’t vote unless you’re needed to make the fifth vote, which is the passing vote. And so when this Democrat switched his vote, I was surprised, as was everybody else, and in that moment, I honestly was a coward and voted party line and voted to send it out.”
Honesty! What a concept. I can think of a few Arkansas politicians who should try it.