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Gov. Sanders vetoes three bills, uses line-item veto on budget bill

Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaking to supporters after a rally on Sept. 6 in Benton.
Michael Hibblen
Then-gubernatorial candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks to supporters after a rally in Benton on Sept. 6, 2022.

Gov. Sarah Sanders vetoed Friday (April 14) three bills and exercised her line-item veto on a budget bill, her first vetoes of the session.

Sanders said she was striking an appropriation of $5 million for “pandemic related expenses” for the Department of Corrections. The governor said she has terminated by executive order COVID-19 pandemic mandates.

“I believe in freedom and personal responsibility – not COVID mandates or shutdowns. The COVID-19 pandemic is over,” she said in her veto letter.

She rejected HB1189, sponsored by Rep. Nicole Clowney, D-Fayetteville, and Sen. Kim Hammer, R-Benton, would create a state-based Behavior Analyst license. Sanders said the bill creates unnecessary and overburdensome regulation and noted that Behavior Analysts are already certified by a board and subject to regulation.

“Creating duplicative licenses with new fees attached is additional red tape that does not ensure additional protections for the public. Therefore, I am vetoing this legislation,” she said in her veto letter.

Sanders vetoed HB1622, sponsored by Rep. Andrew Collins, D-Little Rock, and Sen. Justin Boyd, R-Fort Smith. The bill would create a Heart Attack Task Force, but Sanders said the program was “duplicative of pre-existing programs” at the Department of Health.

Finally, Sanders vetoed SB509, sponsored by Sen. Scott Flippo, R-Bull Shoals, and Rep. Jack Fortner, R-Yellville. The measure would increase stipends for members of the Arkansas Board of Corrections from $85 to $110.

“As Governor, I made a commitment to the state of Arkansas that I would look for ways to reduce government waste and ensure that tax dollars are spent wisely. Elected officials have a responsibility to eliminate unnecessary spending at every level of state government,” Sanders said. “Senate Bill 509 carries with it a price tag – an increase which cannot be justified to Arkansas taxpayers. Therefore, I am vetoing this resolution.”

When lawmakers return from their recess on May 1, they can attempt to override the vetoed legislation. A simple majority of votes can override a gubernatorial veto.

Gov. Sanders will be a guest on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics and Capitol View. In the interview, she discusses responses to the recent tornadoes; legislative action on education, criminal justice, tax cuts and social issues; the budget and spending; and national politics. You can access viewing times at this link.

Roby Brock is the Editor-in-Chief and Host of Talk Business & Politics.