Arkansas lawmakers react to overriding of Gov. Hutchinson veto of ‘SAFE Act’ bill

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK) –  Governor Asa Hutchinson admitted that his veto of HB1570, which would prohibit kids under the age of 18 from receiving any chemical or surgical treatments involving gender reassignment, would likely be overridden. 

On Tuesday afternoon in the House Session bill sponsor Robin Lundstrum made the motion to over turn the Governor’s veto.  In her remarks she maintained the bill was to protect children’s health.

“This is an FDA not-approved procedure, this is experimentation on children with long-term health effects,” Lundstrum said.

She also said the bill still allows for healthcare and counseling of youth with gender issues and that anything to the contrary is not true.

“Anybody that says that is choosing to lie and the choosing to scare children and their parents,” Lundstrum said.

State Representative Tippi McCollough was the only person to speak out against the override in the House chamber.  She said the hormone therapy that trans youth receive is a part of their basic healthcare.

“Yes counseling is important but so is medication and that the chemical stuff saves lives,” McCollough said.

The House voted to override the Governor’s veto by a vote of 72-25.

The bill was then brought up in the Senate.  Since this was a House bill originally that is where the process must start.  State Senator Scott Flippo made the motion to override.

Only Senator Clarke Tucker spoke against the override and he compared this bill to how the current climate views racial segregation laws in the past. 

“Everyone in this room everyone in this building would stand up in righteous defiance against that absolutely because that is obvious to us today in 2021,” Tucker said.

He said people wielded their power inappropriately on the matter back then and it is potentially how future generations could view this legislation now.

“And so when I see this bill is the most powerful again bullying the most vulnerable people in our stay,” Tucker said.

Ultimately, the vote fell down party lines with only Sen. Alan Clarke and Sen. Ben Gilmore not present.  The override was passed 25-8 in the Senate. 

The bill did not have an emergency clause and will go into effect 90 days after the General Assembly recesses, which is scheduled for April 30.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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