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House passes revised religious freedom bill; now headed to governor | Events

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House passes revised religious freedom bill; now headed to governor
House passes revised religious freedom bill; now headed to governor

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The Arkansas House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 975 to enact the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) Thursday afternoon. It is now headed for Governor Asa Hutchinson's desk for signature.

On Wednesday, just hours after Gov. Hutchinson announced he wouldn't be signing HB 1228 in its current form, Republicans in the House and Senate drafted amendments to two other bills in hopes of keeping the RFRA alive in Arkansas.

The original bill would prohibit state and local government from infringing upon someone's religious beliefs without a compelling reason. Hutchinson asked lawmakers to recall the bill, amend it or pass a follow-up measure that would make the proposal more closely mirror a federal religious-freedom law that now does not apply to individual states.

They settled on a plan that adds the RFRA as a sub-chapter in two different existing bills, adding language that "this act be interpreted consistent with the RFRA Act of 1993," which is what Gov. Hutchinson said he desired to see in this bill.

A spokesperson for Gov. Hutchinson told THV11's Kevin Trager that if SB 975 were to pass in the House that he would sign it with no amendments.

The House is expected to vote on whether to recall HB 1228 on Thursday as well. THV11 is following this story and will update you as more information develops.

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