New abortion ban stalls in Arkansas Legislature
Arkansas lawmakers have effectively killed remaining attempts to consider a Texas-style abortion ban that supporters say would make it harder for courts to overturn.
Members of the state Senate on Wednesday voted to table three resolutions that would have allowed votes on the proposals. This comes a day after two other resolutions failed in the same chamber.
Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, decried the move as an attempt to silence anti-abortion lawmakers.
“Obviously this move to squelch and silence the voice of members of this body when we’d agreed there would be no more resolutions filed, this move is unprecedented that I’ve ever seen in this body,” Rapert said. “This body, generally up until the last couple of years, has been pretty collegial.”
A two-thirds vote is required for the Senate to reconsider the resolutions, though similar efforts that failed in the chamber Tuesday fell far short of reaching that threshold. Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin said the lack of support among lawmakers does not amount to a conspiracy.
“I’ve been here seven years. Sometimes it’s collegial, sometimes it’s not,” Griffin said.
The abortion bills would have allowed anyone to sue people in civil court for performing or obtaining the procedure. Senators also passed several appropriations bills, including for the governor’s office, supreme court and the University of Central Arkansas.
Meanwhile the Arkansas House on Wednesday failed to pass an appropriation bill for Arkansas PBS, on a vote of 49 to 45. The lone lawmaker to speak against funding for the broadcaster was Rep. John Payton, R-Wilburn, who said he does not support public funding of “indoctrination and lobbying efforts.”