Hutchinson Claimed He Never Spoke With Corporate Interests About Trans-Bill Veto. One Week Ago He Said 'Global Corporations' Were 'Certainly Worried'

"We're the home of some major global corporations here in Arkansas, they're certainly worried about the image of our state."
Chris Menahan

Apr. 07, 2021

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) on Tuesday night twice denied to Tucker Carlson that he had spoken with corporate interests about his decision to veto a pro-family bill banning child sex change surgeries and the experimental drugging of children with cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers.

On March 31, while discussing a slew of pro-family, anti-LGBT bills Republicans were pushing in Arkansas, Hutchinson told Fox News: "We're the home of some major global corporations here in Arkansas, they're certainly worried about the image of our state."

From National Review:
The SAFE act is just one of a slew of LGBT bills to come to Hutchinson's desk in recent weeks. In the last month, Hutchinson has already signed into law a bill that prohibits biological males from competing in womens' high school and collegiate sports, as well as legislation — which he opposed in 2017 — that protects the conscience rights of health-care professionals who object to providing "a particular health care service."

But in the fallout from those bills, and in the buildup to the SAFE Act, Hutchinson admitted in a March 31 appearance on Fox News that "some major global corporations here in Arkansas" are "certainly worried about the image of our state."

Speaking to host Rachel Campos-Duffy on Fox News Primetime about the "Fairness in Women's Sports Act," Hutchinson was asked specifically whether "the Chamber of Commerce, for example, or any of the other business outlets and communities in your state, have you had any pushback from them?" On March 26, the Human Rights Campaign ran a 30-second ad, which aired during the Arkansas-Oral Roberts NCAA tournament game, criticizing Hutchinson and other Republican governors for "using their time and energy to attack LGBTQ kids."

"Well, there's a combination of bills that come through the legislature, and as a whole, if you — like our medical-conscience bill, that allows a physician or a medical provider to step away from coverage for religious or ethical reasons, from a particular kind of treatment, that’s gotten some criticism," Hutchinson admitted to Campos-Duffy. "And we have to recognize, while that is appropriate for conscience reasons, to have that exemption, it is perceived as being against a particular community. It’s not designed for that."

"We're the home of some major global corporations here in Arkansas, they’re certainly worried about the image of our state," he continued. "But we're trying to send the signal that you can protect conscience, you can protect girls in sports, without being discriminatory, and trying to say 'we're not diverse and tolerant of different lifestyles.' That's important for us, as a state, and what we have to achieve as a nation."

Campos-Duffy ended the interview by bringing up the SAFE Act, saying "I think a lot of moms are going to be supporting you on that as well," which did not elicit a response from Hutchinson.
NRO noted his veto earned immediate praise from the Walton family (who inherited their wealth from their father).

NRO continues:
While it remains unclear whether the Walton family personally lobbied Hutchinson on the bill — neither Hutchinson's office nor the WFF returned requests for comment — the two have ties. Per FEC records, the Waltons are longtime financial supporters of Hutchinson's political career, as is Walmart. Sam Walton's brother, Steuart Walton, is a current board member at Walmart and was tapped by Hutchinson last April to chair the state's "Economic Recovery Task Force."

It is also not the first time that the Walton-Walmart conglomerate has pushed Hutchinson on LGBT issues.

On April 1, 2015, Hutchinson reversed on his initial commitment to sign the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) — which said "governments should not substantially burden the free exercise of religion without compelling justification," and drew criticism from pro-LGBT groups for potentially allowing discrimination. Hutchinson asked the Arkansas legislature to make changes to the bill’s language, the day after Walmart CEO Doug McMillan said the law "threatens to undermine the spirit of inclusion present throughout the state of Arkansas and does not reflect the values we proudly uphold."
If Hutchinson didn't consult directly with corporate interests about this veto -- and that's a big if -- it's only because he didn't have to.

He's so joined at the hip with corporate interests that their interests are his interests and vice versa.

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