A petition drive is underway to refer to voters SB 202, now Act 137, which is intended to prevent local governments from passing equal rights ordinances that protect people on ground of sexual orientation and gender identity. Sen. Bart Hester passed the discriminatory legislation in response to the Fayetteville civil rights ordinance, later defeated by voters.
Hester’s bill was adopted without an emergency clause, so it doesn’t take effect until 90 days after the end of the legislative session, sometime in August.
Meanwhile, a drive is underway to gather 51,000 signatures to refer the law to a statewide vote. If they can be gathered, the issue would be on the November 2016 ballot and the law would not take effect at least until then.
Sarah Scanlon will be campaign coordinator.
Several other cities are considering ordinances that could be invalidated by Hester’s law — presuming federal courts don’t strike the law down, which is a distinct possibility. As yet, the state’s largest city and the one presumed most friendly to full participation by LGBT people in commerce, has yet to do anything. I’m talking about Little Rock, of course.