You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Arkansas governor allows COVID-19 vaccine mandate opt-out bill to become law

The Hill logo The Hill 10/14/2021 Joseph Choi
Asa Hutchinson wearing a suit and tie: Arkansas governor allows COVID-19 vaccine mandate opt-out bill to become law © The Hill Arkansas governor allows COVID-19 vaccine mandate opt-out bill to become law

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Wednesday allowed two bills letting employees to opt out of vaccine mandates to become laws without his signature.

Hutchinson allowed Arkansas state Senate Bill 739 and House Bill 1977 to become law without signing them, calling them both "unnecessary" and "harmful to our goal of encouraging vaccines." Hutchinson said he did not veto the bills to allow them to be challenged in court in the 90 days before they go into effect.

"These bills are unnecessary, and the conversation has been harmful to our goal of encouraging vaccines. For those reasons I will not sign the bills into law with my signature. I will allow them to become law without signing," Hutchinson said.

As The Associated Press noted, bills in Arkansas become law after sitting on the governor's desk for five days, a tactic governors have used to express opposition to a bill.


Video: Texas governor bans COVID-19 vaccine mandates (TODAY)

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

These bills were designed to push back against President Biden's vaccine mandate for federal employees.

"I am opposed to the current mandate by the Biden Administration, but the solution is not to place additional mandates on employers at the state government level. The solution is not to put employers in a squeeze play between state and federal law," the Arkansas governor said. "Employers need the freedom to protect their employees and their customers, and government should not interfere with that freedom through mandates."

Hutchinson criticized the bills for creating "distrust and additional hesitancy" toward the COVID-19 vaccine.

"The vaccines are safe, and Arkansans need to get vaccinated, but not through mandates," he added.

According to the Mayo Clinic's COVID-19 tracker, around 47 percent of Arkansas residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 while 56 percent have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from The Hill

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon