We mentioned yesterday that Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola e-mailed Gov. Asa Hutchinson late last night asking him to veto HB1228, the so-called "religious conscience" bill that could extend legal protections for discrimination against gay people.
Here is a
copy of the letter
, acquired via FOI request.
Stodola states that the people of Arkansas have always given a "high priority to religious freedom" and would continue to do so with or without HB1228. "This type of legislation is simply not necessary," Stodola writes. The bill, he continues, "is simply too divisive":
Any piece of legislation that is so divisive cannot possibly be good for the state of Arkansas and its people. With these kinds of "wedge issues," no one is a winner on either side. I don't believe anything this divisive can move our state forward in a productive way. This bill will have a negative impact on our state's image as it send the message that some members of our community will have fewer protections than others. Our city and our state cannot be limited to only certain segments of society. We should reaffirm to everyone that our minds are open, our hearts are open, and our state's borders are welcoming to the broad diversity of humanity.
Stodola goes on to express concerns about the impact of recruiting new business to the state, and makes particular reference to the development of the Little Rock Technology Par
k and the hope to bring in tech companies to Little Rock.