“We are alarmed by the string of policy targeting LGBTQ people in Arkansas. This trend is harmful and sends the wrong message to those willing to invest in or visit our state.” Read the full statement by Tom Walton, Home Region Program Committee Chair https://t.co/YaAnP5Md3l
— Walton Foundation (@WaltonFamilyFdn) April 6, 2021
The Walton Family Foundation has issued a statement saying it is “alarmed” by the stack of anti-transgender legislation working its way through the legislature. The statement comes shortly before anticipated votes in the House and Senate to override a veto of one of the bills, a prohibition of transition medical services for transgender youth.
Governor Hutchinson has already signed three anti-trans bills: to prohibit transgender girls participation in athletics; to allow “conscience” as a reason to refuse medical services, and a bill to allow parents to get advance notice of mention of LGBT issues in class, examine the materials and remove children from such classes. Pending is another bill to allow the attorney general to sue to stop transgender girl sports participation. There’s also a “hate crime” bill written to omit references to LGBT people. The House passed a resolution pledging state defiance of federal rules and laws protecting LGBT people. A House committee today approved a bill that would protect a teacher who intentionally refers to a transgender child by the wrong gender Bills in previous sessions protected employment, housing and public service discrimination against LGBT people and prevented cities from passing local civil rights ordinances that protect these classes.
The statement from Tom Walton, grandson of Walmart founder Sam Walton and heir to billions, some of it put to use on a variety of legislative agendas, particularly school vouchers and charter schools:
“We are alarmed by the string of policy targeting LGBTQ people in Arkansas. This trend is harmful and sends the wrong message to those willing to invest in or visit our state. We support Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s recent veto of discriminatory policy and implore government, business and community leaders to consider the impact of existing and future policy that limits basic freedoms and does not promote inclusiveness in our communities and economy.
Our nation was built on inalienable rights and strengthened by individual differences. Arkansas has been called the land of opportunity because it is a place where anyone can think big and achieve the extraordinary. Any policy that limits individual opportunity also limits our state’s potential.”
– Tom Walton, Home Region Program Committee Chair – Walton Family Foundation
Welcome though the Walton statement is today, the family is late to this particular rodeo.
Yes, Walmart has established a reputation for promoting diversity in its workforce. It always scores well in the Human Rights Campaign rankings of corporate responsibility on LGBT issues.
But, then there’s politics. The Center for Media and Democracy reports that Walton-related money has poured ($160,000) into campaign treasuries of Arkansas sponsors of anti-transgender legislation. The honor roll (please note the high standing of Randy “Cancel Culture” Zook’s Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce):
Here’s the truth. The lunatics are in charge of the asylum. Moneybags oppose the controlling crackpots at their peril (or peril to their legislative aims). Many of the special interests (see Farm Bureau/Mountaire, are on board in the culture wars, to begin with.) Once in a while, a business lobbyist might squeak a word or two of opposition to the Bible beaters. This week is one of those times, with a reason. The business lobby owes Governor Hutchinson a debt for his pro-business, weak-on-health approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tom Walton’s brother ran the governor’s “back to business” task force, remember.
As I said yesterday about the sham hate crimes bill endorsed with a backhand slap at the victims by Zook of the state chamber of commerce (he actually invoked the phrase “virtual signaling”), one lame piece of legislation carried by old white men and one veto issued with the expectation of an override won’t overcome the reputation Arkansas has built over many years. It is busy-spit shining its retrograde reputation this legislative session. See the House Education Committee this morning: Unconstitutional creationism school instruction; against sex education; against women’s medical autonomy; anti-transgender; pro a certain brand of religion. All under a false flag of patriotism.