Among the gruesome dying gasps of this legislative session will be the fight by Sen. Gary Stubblefield to pass an anti-sanctuary city bill that even Gov. Asa Hutchinson has expressed reluctance about. But not City Director Lance Hines, who you can see with failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Jan Morgan discussing his support of the legislation.
Hines recounts the unwillingness of the City Board of Directors to vote on his resolution codifying the city’s intent to comply with federal immigration law. Nobody has suggested the city doesn’t comply, explicitly.
Hines and Morgan speak ill of the program to provide ID cards for immigrant residents. These cards don’t confer legal status, but they have made life easier in various transactions for resident immigrants. Some 1,100 have been issued, Hines told Morgan, at a cost of the city of $180,000. “Your tax money,” said Morgan, who does not live in Little Rock.
Hines insists Stubblefield’s bill wouldn’t lead to profiling. Little Rock police have made it clear they don’t ask for legal status, believing it can reduce cooperation with law enforcement. He contends status would only be an issue in criminal acts.
Hines says people in his part of town (west Little Rock ) “don’t want sanctuary cities in this state.”
The bill is pending before a House committee. Hines testified in favor last week. City Director Joan Adcock testified in opposition.
This isn’t the only bad bill with a sponsor hoping to ooze through in the final hours. The Democratic Women’s Federation, for example, called out, in addition to SB411, the sanctuary bill:
NO to SB463 to shut down voter petitions. NO to SB672, which is voter suppression (cuts back days for early voting). NO to SB668 to extend state supervision of local schools. NO to HB166, which is more voter suppression through reducing number of ballots.
These are bills to supplement the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce constitutional amendment heading for final Senate passage today, aimed at keeping popular initiatives off the ballot except by the very richest special interest groups. (Think the business lobby if the three legislatively-referred amendments aren’t pro-business enough.)
Among other 11th-hour lowlights, the same House committee that twice refused to delete a symbol of slavery from the Arkansas flag will consider a bill intended to prohibit removal of Confederate statutes anywhere. It would end local control by cities, counties, school districts and others. The monument bill, coincidentally, is carried by Sen. Mark Johnson (R-Ferndale), son of the famous late segregationist politician Jim Johnson. The younger Johnson also has been advocating legislation damaging to the Little Rock School District, in which he doesn’t live. Its tumultuous integration in the 1950s was a cornerstone of the elder Johnson’s politicking.
Look away Dixieland. The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.
Also: The Stand Your Ground bill is pending, too.