Arkansas GOP governor says abortion ban he signed could be 'revisited'

Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Sunday that a pro-life law he signed banning abortions in almost all circumstances "could be revisited" to add exemptions for rape and incest, should it go into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

"While it's still life in the womb, life of the unborn, the conception was under criminal circumstances, either incest or rape. And so, those are two exceptions I have recognized I believe are very appropriate," Hutchinson said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, when host Dana Bash pressed him on why a hypothetical 12-year-old raped by a family member should have to carry her baby to term.

"And what will happen as time goes on, if Roe v. Wade is reversed, these are going to become very real circumstances. I think the debate and discussion will be -- will continue and that very well could be revisited," he said.

"Whenever you see real-life circumstances like that, that debate is going to continue. And the will of the people may or may not change. But it's going to come back to the states' flexibility on that. I believe that those exceptions are going to be important in overall to save lives, because the public understands those exceptions, the importance of it," he added later.

Hutchinson's remarks come as the nation awaits an official ruling from the Supreme Court on Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban. A leaked draft majority opinion published by Politico earlier this month indicated the court has voted to overturn its landmark decision in Roe, which created constitutional protections for abortion and limited the ability of states to pass pro-life laws restricting abortion.

In the event that Roe is overturned, Arkansas is one of 26 states that have so-called trigger laws which will immediately go into effect. The Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act, which Hutchinson signed in March 2021, bans all abortions in the state with the lone exception of a procedure to save the life of the mother. When he signed the law, Hutchinson said the "whole design" of it was to inspire a direct challenge to Supreme Court precedent on abortion.

Now that the goal of overturning Roe is within reach, the governor has backtracked and expressed support for more exceptions permitting abortions.

This would not be the first time Hutchinson has signed a law enthusiastically supported by Republican lawmakers in his state and then expressed regret or reservations about it after the fact.

In August 2021, Hutchinson said that he made a mistake by signing a bill that banned state and local government authorities from implementing mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Horowitz: Arkansas supermajority Republicans end session without any protection for workers

The Arkansas state motto, "Regnat populus," means that the people rule. But in this special legislative session for COVID-related matters, it was the special interests that ruled. Who needs blue states when even in red states, we no longer enjoy even the post-constitutional liberties we had in February 2020, before we lost the autonomy over our own bodies?

Thus far, there is only one state that has a categorical ban on the mandates of these failed COVID shots. Montana passed a bill (HB 702) earlier this year that would do just that, although even there they exempted certain health care settings, which is actually the most illogical place to mandate even a working and safe shot because most of the workers already had the virus. Yet in other states, we can't even pass protections in a compromise form of that bill, despite Republicans controlling 23 trifectas.

As I reported last week, the legislative leaders, working at the behest of Governor Asa Hutchinson and the big business lobbyists in the state, blocked most of the legislation that would ensure workers are not forced to get a dangerous and ineffective shot. The only bill that they allowed to pass to partially protect some workers would only go into effect in 90 days, when it will be too late for most workers who must decide now between taking the shot or losing their jobs.

Well, the House of Representatives ended this special session with a bang by voting down SB731, a bill that would create a right to privacy of medical status to ensure employers cannot ask about vaccination status. We have such protections under current law for other forms of medical privacy, and to exempt vaccine mandates from medical privacy is particularly absurd because in no way does an unvaccinated person affect someone else's health. If the shots work, then the people who want them are protected. Given that, of course, they don't work, and in fact, the vaccinated are now spreading the virus more and with at least the same viral load, there is no rational basis to allow this form of discrimination.

SB 731 would have further provided a cause of action for workers to sue any employer who violates that right to privacy. If businesses, at the behest of government, believe these shots are safe, then let them place their money where their mouths are. Republicans have a 78-22 majority in the House, yet they could only muster 41 votes in support of the bill! It previously passed the Senate 22-11.

Thus, all these governors who said "not in my state" to Biden's mandate are paper tigers, because with the exception of official state employees, most red-state workers are now under the gun of some form of vaccine mandate. It is shocking how, as most states convene special sessions for redistricting, they are not even considering the more urgent issue of mandates over our bodies for an increasingly problematic shot. How is it that most red states aren't even considering a version of Montana's bill?

Moreover, states have gotten billions of dollars in COVID funding, yet state legislatures have barely engaged in oversight over that funding. Instead, it's all been controlled by the health department bureaucrats in each state. Shouldn't those funds be spent on helping people with early treatment rather than pumping them into promotion of a failed shot and dangerous hospital treatments?

At the end of the month, Tennessee lawmakers will finally convene a special session on COVID fascism. This is the perfect opportunity for people to have their voices heard and ensure that one of the most trending red states actually lives up to its reputation. How is it that even in a state like Wyoming, months after mask-wearing has been completely discredited, a student was arrested for not wearing a Chinese face burka?

If you can acquiesce to the notion that someone else can control what you put in your body – whether government or an employer – then you don't own your body. If we acquiesce to the notion that large businesses acting in concert with government actors to promote authoritarianism are somehow governed by the rules of the "private sector," then we have no liberty left in this country.

On October 18, 2019, bizarrely nearly two months before the virus was officially discovered, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, the World Economic Forum, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation held a pandemic simulation, known as Event 201. The top proposal from that event, according to Hopkins, was that "governments, international organizations, and businesses should plan now for how essential corporate capabilities will be utilized during a large-scale pandemic." This is straight from the horse's mouth that corporations are an essential tool of the government's planned coercion in a pandemic. Any red-state politician who claims he is protecting liberty by allowing those government-sponsored "private" entities to violate human rights will be complicit in this unprecedented assault on human rights, human dignity, and public safety.

Horowitz: Arkansas Legislature declines to vote on protection against employer mandate of experimental shot

We have never faced such a threat to liberty in our lifetime from our own government. The federal government is now working in concert with big business, the media, and everyone who wields a modicum of economic and cultural control to segregate all Americans who choose a more prudent way of dealing with the virus the government helped fund. The last thing standing between us and utter despotism at this point are state legislatures in red states. Yet, in Arkansas, members could not be bothered with staying an extra day to protect the people.

Earlier this week, Gov. Asa Hutchinson called a special session of the legislature to repeal the ban on local governments and school boards from imposing masks on children. Rather than fighting this virus with proven early treatments, "as a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly [Proverbs 26:11]," Hutchinson wanted to return to the failed experiment of child abuse mask mandates. Thankfully, the bill, which was sponsored by RINOs Julie Mayberry and Jimmie Gazaway, failed to pass the House Public Health Committee.

That's the good news (although a judge has intervened and placed an injunction on the mask ban). However, if we are ever to forge a path to liberty in the red states and evacuate from the fascism being imposed on us by agencies like the CDC, it will not be enough for red state legislatures to merely abstain from making it worse. They must actively bar the federal actions from taking root in their respective states.

We now have a 10-alarm fire in this country with the federal government just a hairline short of mandating everyone – regardless of their risk status, immunity, or other choices for fighting COVID – must get the shots, and presumably, the boosters thereafter. The Biden administration is now threatening businesses to do his bidding. Thus, at this point, it's no longer a "private sector" issue. State legislatures must ensure that people are not faced with the unprecedented and soul-crushing choice between taking an injunction they feel is not good for them or losing their livelihood.

In comes a few conservative senators who drafted a bill to essentially apply existing medical privacy laws to COVID shots. We all know that an employer would get sued for asking if someone had HIV. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bob Ballinger along with 24 co-sponsors, would have protected people from having to disclose their vaccination status and would offer a cause of action to anyone terminated for not doing so.

In order to debate this bill, the members first needed to extend the special session. We have so many emergency issues to deal with. Last week, I offered a list of critical items the Arkansas Legislature (and other states) need to address in order to properly deal with the pandemic in a way that follows the science and respects civil liberties.

For example, where is the rush to make Ivermectin over the counter and ensure people are getting early treatment? Yet, too many Arkansas Republicans were in a rush to go home. Despite holding a 4-1 majority in the Senate, a number of Republicans joined with the Democrats to support the motion to adjourn. As always, they got just enough votes for the motion to pass.

The federal government, the governor, the department of health, and all of the big companies are colluding together to strip Americans of their bodily autonomy. Now, Arkansas residents will face the worst discrimination of our lifetime without the protection of their 4-1 majority in the legislature.

In addition, thanks to a radical ruling from a Pulaski County judge, Republicans need to fix the mask issue again. Also, other conservatives wanted to push legislation to ban critical race theory given that schools will begin in just a few days. So now, children face the prospect of being forcibly masked while having to listen to how they are a bunch of racists. Why are the GOP legislators never in a rush to do the people's business? What distinguishes Arkansas from a blue state?

Thus far, very few states have attempted to deal with the problem of the federal government bullying and colluding with private businesses to enforce its vaccine mandate. Most red states merely barred the state government from enforcing it, but the feds are getting through the states via the private businesses.

The same people who had no problem shutting down businesses for months are suddenly champions of libertarianism when it comes to merely applying existing anti-discrimination and medical privacy principles to a time when it's needed most. A business cannot discriminate against someone for not getting a shot the same way they can't fire someone for not taking Ivermectin, which works better than the shot.

There's a disturbing trend in many super-majority red states where the legislatures have no desire to get their hands dirty and interpose against the growing federal corporate tyranny on the people. You better believe that if Walmart, Tysons, and J.B. Hunt had a special order, these legislators would have burned the candle overnight in the chamber to pass their priorities. In fact, they all support COVID fascism.

The poor people of Arkansas mean nothing to them. Perhaps, if the legislators are in such a rush to adjourn, they should adjourn forever and quit their jobs. If they are content to allow executive powers in the state and the CDC to implement tyranny, what is the purpose of serving in the legislature?

One final note is in order. We already know that the existing governor is a passionate advocate for Fauci-style COVID control over the people. But there is a much-vaunted front-runner for the nomination to be governor next year. She has a really big megaphone. With regards to the right to breathe and the right to treat the virus as one deems appropriate, has anyone heard from Sarah Huckabee Sanders?

Horowitz: Arkansas governor threatens to veto bills permanently banning mask mandates, vaccine passports

Coming off his veto of the bill barring chemical castration for minors, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) is now threatening to veto a bill in the legislature that would ban the state government from ever criminalizing human breathing again. I guess Asa believes there is a right for minors to seek and doctors to perform castration, but no right to breathe without a Chinese face burka.

On March 31, the Arkansas Senate passed HB 590, which would permanently bar the governor or any state official from ever instituting a mask mandate. The bill passed with overwhelming support, and the senators voted to make it effective immediately. Last Thursday, the House Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee recommended that the full House pass the bill as well. The Senate bill is sponsored by Sen. Trent Garner, and the House bill is sponsored by Rep. Joshua Bryant.

With such overwhelming support from the supermajority Republican-controlled legislature, one would expect that a governor who speaks of Reagan and Buckley and claimed to suspend the mask mandate himself would enthusiastically sign the bill. However, at the time it passed the Senate, Mr. Conservative Governor promised to veto it. "The bill is pointless, except it would prohibit private businesses, schools and hospitals from requirements for face coverings," Hutchinson said in a statement after the vote. "This is not a good idea, and I would veto the bill in its current form."

Putting aside the fact that it is not conservative to allow businesses to violate basic human rights at a time when we apply anti-discrimination, ADA, and OSHA laws to every other health issue, this bill doesn't even bar private businesses from imposing their own mask mandates. It only applies to the governor and his departments or other state and local governmental actors, and the new version from the House committee explicitly states that it doesn't apply to private businesses. Yet the governor still had his agency folks testify against the bill. "The department of health officials under Gov. Hutchinson were the only ones testifying against it on Thursday," bill sponsor Sen. Trent Garner said in an interview with TheBlaze. "No teachers or small business owners objected to it."

It's shocking that Hutchinson would list schools among his objections to getting rid of mask mandates when he himself has suspended the mandate for the general public. Kids are not at risk at all from getting critically ill from this virus. Why would masking children be a bigger priority?

There is an important lesson to be gleaned here. Many conservatives are celebrating the fact that 24 governors have rescinded (or never instituted) statewide mask mandate. But most of those governors have not seen the light on the science and humanity; they are just temporarily suspending it but reserving the right to continue it in the future. Many of them did so because they saw the writing on the wall and that the GOP-controlled legislatures would permanently strip them of their power. Hutchinson only lifted the mandate when he saw the legislature already passed a bill nullifying his emergency powers after 60 days.

Rather than celebrate as if the ball is in the end zone after these gubernatorial announcements, conservatives would be wise to push legislation permanently barring the governors (and preferably mayors and school boards too) from ever criminalizing human breathing again. The North Dakota legislature just passed such a bill, as well as the Idaho House.

What we are seeing from so many GOP governors is that they claim to be with us rhetorically just enough to win primaries, but when it comes to action, not only are they not with us, they actively oppose any effort to put teeth into their promises. This is why Hutchinson claims to oppose the transgender agenda but vetoed a bill to actually put a stop to it. He claimed to oppose continuing mask mandates or fining businesses but vetoed the bill canceling those fines and is promising to veto the mask bill.

Likewise, Gov. Hutchinson, like most GOP governors, came out in opposition to vaccine passports, but is actively opposing any effort to pre-empt them in the real world. The big fight about vaccine passports is with big corporations who are acting in concert with the federal government to mandate them in violation of every medical privacy, anti-discrimination, and ADA law on the books. To allow businesses to require vaccine passports is to create a massive carve-out in existing law when they are acting on behalf of government anyway.

Sen. Garner in Arkansas has introduced SB 615, which would bar all businesses from mandating vaccine passports. The bill passed the Senate Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee last week and now heads to the full senate today. Once again, the only people who testified in opposition were the governor's agency heads after the governor supposedly came out in opposition to vaccine passports.

Gov. Bill Lee did something similar in Tennessee when he announced with much pomp and anticipation his opposition to vaccine passports, but then sent down his representatives to the legislature to successfully block the bill that would actually make it a reality.

The moral of the story? Don't rely on the same power-hungry governors who suspended constitutional liberties and natural law in the first place to suddenly secure our rights again. We must ensure that the legislatures permanently strip these governors of any power to issue these unscientific and unconstitutional edicts ever again.

Arkansas state House passes protections for teachers who refuse to use transgender students' preferred pronouns

On the heels of enacting into law the nation's first ban on sex-change hormone treatments or mutilating surgeries for transgender minors, the Arkansas House on Thursday passed a bill that would protect teachers from repercussions if they offend a student by refusing to use that student's preferred pronouns or name.

The bill, HB 1749, states, "An employee of a public school shall not be required to use a pronoun, title, or other word to identify a public school student as male or female that is inconsistent with the public school student's biological sex." The legislation would enable an employee of a public school who faces "adverse action" for calling a student by the wrong name or pronoun to file a legal claim for relief.

Republican state Rep. Mary Bentley, the bill's sponsor, said during debate on the House floor that the bill's purpose is to protect teachers who fear litigation for refusing to use a transgender student's preferred name.

"It's not compelling anyone's speech, it's not prohibiting anyone's speech," Bentley said. "It's helping those professors and teachers in our schools that do not want to be used for not using a certain person's pronoun."

She said that while the legislature needs to do more to protect parents and teachers, this bill is a necessary first step.

"Districts definitely need to look at this and do more. This bill is a simple bill. It has already been affirmed by the appeals court and the sixth district. All this is, is protecting our teachers, and they do feel threatened," she said.

Democratic members of the state House spoke out in opposition to the bill.

"This bill is protecting and therefore emboldening teachers who are intentionally misgendering students and therefore are intentionally severing their relationship," said Rep. Megan Godfrey.

Rep. Fred Love said that calling a transgender person by their preferred name or pronouns is simply the right thing to do if you want to be polite and respectful.

"Refer to someone as they choose to be referred to," he said. "That's not hard. That's not difficult. That's just a bit of decency and a bit of respect, and I think that's what we need to do."

The bill passed the House mostly along partisan lines, 62-21. Two Republican lawmakers joined Democrats in opposition to the legislation, which now proceeds to the state Senate.

Earlier this week, the Arkansas Legislature overrode Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson's veto to enact into law a ban on sex change operations or hormone treatments for transgender minors in the state.

In opposing the bill, Hutchinson argued that preventing doctors or counselors from prescribing puberty-blockers or cross-sex hormones to troubled transgender youths was tantamount to denying children health care. He also claimed that a limited government, conservative approach to governing means lawmakers should not interfere with the recommendations of medical professionals who believe administering drugs to children that can delay puberty and irreversibly alter their bodies is good medicine.

Horowitz: Arkansas GOP governor stands on the hill of chemical castration for minors

It's a headline I never would have imagined writing just a few years ago. But in the year 2021, it's actually newsworthy when a completely red state has enough votes to block castration operations and hormone destruction therapy for minors. In most states, governments can regulate every aspect of doctors' right to practice, including prescribing cheap and effective FDA-approved drugs to treat COVID, yet they have a green light to perform castration on minors.

On Tuesday, the House voted 71-24, and the Senate 25-8, to override Governor Asa Hutchinson's veto of the "Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act" (HB 1570). The bill doesn't even ban such a barbaric practice for adults. It merely bars puberty blocking, hormone therapy, or castration of minors. Shockingly, it's the first state to do so, even though Republicans control government in 23 states.

Both chambers initially passed the bill in March by similar margins, but the governor vetoed it on Monday. In Arkansas, the legislature only needs a simple majority reaffirmation of the initial vote to override a veto, but in this case, legislators repudiated him by a mile.

In vetoing the bill, the governor charged, "You are starting to let lawmakers interfere with health care and set a standard for legislation overriding health care." He contended that "the state should not presume to jump into every ethical health decision."

So, what if a minor went to the doctor and said she feels like a mermaid and wants him to amputate her legs? Is that not the business of the state either? If anything, amputating legs is less systemically damaging to the body than castration or gender mutilation procedures and hormones.

Moreover, the sudden libertarian conversion is quite rich given Hutchinson's recent foray into COVID fascism. Hutchinson had no problem interfering with health care decisions by forcing people to wear experimental medical devices, aka masks, and fining businesses for not participating in his worthless health care restrictions. In fact, he just vetoed a bill to zero out COVID fines on businesses and managed to pressure a number of House members to flip their votes and sustain his veto.

Gov. Hutchinson widely received accolades from conservatives when he signed SB 354, the bill barring boys in girls' sports, after South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem vetoed a similar bill in her state. Idaho, Mississippi, and Tennessee have also passed similar legislation. However, it is baffling that he would veto this bill barring castration for minors, which is a much bigger slam dunk. Men playing female sports is absurd and unfair; castration of minors is sadistic. What's next – assisted suicide of minors? After all, Governor Hutchinson, we wouldn't want to interfere with health care decisions.

Hutchinson got a lot of pressure from the same people in the health care cartel who obsessively pushed COVID fascism. He claimed to be concerned "with those young people who are currently under hormone treatment." Isn't it interesting how the same health care cartel that sought to ban lifesaving COVID treatment using drugs, such as hydroxychloroquine, that have been safely dispensed billions of times somehow believes it's safe to destroy the hormone system of minors? Adults cannot get safe COVID treatment, but children can make decisions on castration.

This sort of diabolical worldview passes as science and medicine in this era, yet Hutchinson thinks that the GOP legislators are the extremists. "The Republican Party that I grew up with believed in a restrained government that did not jump in the middle of every issue," bemoaned the governor.

Actually, governor, the party you grew up in would have banned such behavior even for adults and would have locked up those promoting it in mental asylums. Hutchinson had the nerve to say on Tucker Carlson's show last night that he appealed to "limited government principles" in the mold of Buckley and Reagan by promoting chemical castration for minors. He suggested that it is conservatives who are interjecting themselves into cultural wars, as if the woke left – mask-wearing, transgenderism, illegal immigration, and all – is the normal default.

WATCH: Tucker Carlson and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson debate the governor's decision to veto a bill banning gender…
— Daily Caller (@Daily Caller)1617756276.0

That we have ceded the playing field to the left and allowed them to define normal in every aspect of our lives is exactly why we have lost the country. The fact that we have governors in nearly every state who think this way is why the red states are not much better. But if the state legislatures would man up, then perhaps the tide will turn.

Horowitz: Dismantling the mask deity: Arkansas Senate passes bill to permanently ban mask mandates

There has never been anything implemented by government with as much religious zeal and cruel disregard for science and humanity as the mask mandate. As such, it will not go away on its own. We must fight back on multiple fronts. One way is to get legislatures in red states to permanently strip the governors and mayors of their ill-gotten powers to ever implement them again. Arkansas is now taking up this calling.

While Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson officially allowed his mask mandate to expire on Wednesday, the state Senate passed SB 590 to ensure that the citizens are not at the mercy of their governor or health department to be able to breathe freely. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Trent Garner, declares that any future mask mandate issued by the governor or executive departments in response to the virus "is superseded by this act on the effective date of this act."

The bill passed the Senate 20-9, with just three Republicans joining the Democrats in opposition. Then, the Senate voted 27-7 to declare this bill an emergency, which, having garnered a two-thirds majority, enables the legislation to be effective immediately upon being signed into law. Republicans have supermajorities in both houses of the legislature and should be able to sustain a veto from the governor if he so chooses. He has been silent on this bill, but did successfully veto a bill last month that retroactively zeroed out agency fines levied against restaurants under his COVID orders.

The bill now heads to the House Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Jack Ladyman. The legislature smartly decided to extend the session this year. With our country in crisis and our rights smoldering in the ash of executive tyranny, legislatures need to remain in session as long as possible, conduct hearings getting to the bottom of the false legalities and science undergirding COVID fascism, and pass legislation accordingly.

Mask mandates are a violation of human rights, and they also have failed to alter the natural geographical curve in similar states within the same climate zone. Not only has Arkansas experienced the same epidemiological curve as its neighboring states, it actually had slightly more deaths per capita than the three bordering states that never had statewide mandates: Missouri, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. Here are several charts plotting deaths per capita in Arkansas as compared to the neighboring states, courtesy of Ian Miller of Rational Ground:

Aside from the fact that Arkansas actually did worse than its neighbors, one can easily see that the mask mandate did nothing to prevent the two waves, despite being implemented early when cases were relatively low. In fact, the only neighboring state that had more deaths per capita than Arkansas was Louisiana, which had a mandate enforced for even longer. Checkmate.

The importance of passing a bill like SB 590 in every state cannot be overstated. The medical and political establishment (sorry for the redundancy) have already made it clear they plan to mandate masks for the flu season under the false notion that the flu disappeared this year because of masks, as opposed to viral interference from COVID. This cannot be allowed to happen again. We cannot sit idly in a fetal position hoping that, for the first time in history, executives who stole power from the people will voluntarily return it.

Masks seem to have more lives than Catwoman. Unless we permanently ban their use, no amount of data and rational arguments will matter. Ironically, they were proven false 100 years ago during the Spanish Flu, when real experts back then prophetically warned about the absurdity of mask-wearing.

Shockingly, our primitive progressives have regressed to the point of unlearning the lessons of 100 years ago.

Nobody captured the illogical religious fervor of mask-wearing better than a Seattle resident quoted at the time in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat:

The time has come to permanently slay this godless idolatry of mask fetishism.

Horowitz: Arkansas Gov. Hutchinson vetoes bill zeroing out COVID business fines

Arkansas's state motto is Regnat Populus, which is Latin for "the people rule." But if the governor has anything to say about it, he will be the only person ruling.

It looks like Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson needs the national attention from conservative media that Kristi Noem has garnered. What everyone should learn from the transgender sports bill in South Dakota is that while conservatives ignore what occurs in red state legislatures, we are getting screwed by either the legislature or governor in the strongest conservative states in the country.

Earlier this month, the Arkansas legislature passed SB 301, which would require the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division to return roughly $40,000 in cash it received in the form of fines from restaurants and businesses between July 1, 2020, and Feb. 2, 2021. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Dan Sullivan, passed the Senate 19-14 and the House 67-20.

The bill also requires the agencies to return any subsequent fines if the governor declares another emergency. However, it only applies the rescission of fines on general businesses, not fines levied against hospitals or nursing homes that violated health department orders.

The bill finds "that the implementation of these fees have been arbitrary with state agencies unfairly applying the fines under § 12 20-7-101 to smaller businesses over larger businesses; that these fines on businesses have negatively impacted small businesses throughout the state as well as the state economy and have not had the desired impact regarding the public health emergency; and that this act is immediately necessary to protect businesses from unfair penalization and to preserve the public peace."

Indeed, restaurants have been the favorite target of the governors; however, there is no evidence that they have contributed to the spread over Walmart and Home Depot, nor is there any evidence that non-pharmaceutical interventions have been effective at all. CDC data has shown no increase in cases from dine-in services reopening. A contact tracing report from Kansas showed just 0.91% of cases emanating from transmission in bars and restaurants, resulting in zero deaths.

Yet 12 months into this failure, even red state governors continue to cling to this notion that they can unilaterally legislate property rights out of existence.

On Monday, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, an alleged Republican, vetoed the bill. "The only message sent by this bill is that the rule of law does not matter," Hutchinson wrote in a letter to legislative leaders. "It is an affront to those citizens who diligently followed health and safety directives to protect themselves and their fellow Arkansans."

The nerve of the legislature to actually legislate regarding the most important issue of our time! The governor can suspend property rights, and if legislators step in, they are the ones promoting lawlessness. Don't they know the governor can make the most devastating and novel laws violating the Bill of Rights with the flick of the pen?

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu made a similar argument recently when he threatened to veto a House-passed bill zeroing out all Department of Health fines in the Granite State.

It's shocking how governors still believe they can regulate our lives this dramatically without any input from the legislature or the need to provide evidence of the effectiveness of their edicts – even 12 months later.

Here's really where conservatives should be concerned about the state of the GOP supermajorities in the legislatures. In Arkansas, only a simple majority is needed to override vetoes. Given the 78-22 majority in the House and 27-8 majority in the Senate, this should have been a cake walk. The Senate voted to override it on Tuesday, but shockingly, the House voted down the override, losing 28 Republicans from the original passage of the bill.

Here is a list of Republicans who voted against the override:

Clearly, the governor worked his magic. "I'm very disappointed in the Arkansas House that has a 78-22 GOP majority and passed the bill with 67 votes, but can't sustain a veto override with 51," said Dan Sullivan, the sponsor of the bill. Sullivan did note that a group of members can push to expunge the vote and start over again, but that would require pressure from their constituents to counter the pressure from the governor.

In many ways, this exemplifies the GOP in half the country. Republicans have squandered shockingly large majorities with Republicans in name only and can't stand for a bold contrast from what the political elites are pushing. In the case of COVID regulations, none of this is either constitutional or rooted in science, yet Republicans are barely distinguishable from Democrats on the issue. If they simply want to cave to boundless executive power, why even run for the legislature?

Asa Hutchinson is thankfully not running for re-election and will likely be replaced by former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who appears to be a shoo-in for the primary and general election. However, these constant fights with tyrannical Republican governors should motivate conservatives to focus on GOP gubernatorial primaries more than any other election.

This should also motivate conservatives to begin focusing on state legislatures as the primary organ to redress our grievances and make our voices heard. When we are dealing with the toughest issues that affect the lives of Americans, that is the time, more than ever, to involve the legislature, not the time for unilateral action against civil liberties. After all, that is what self-governance is all about.