Sanders vetoes first three bills, part of fourth

On Friday April 14, Governor Sanders used executive power to make political statements in the first four vetoes of her administration with one being a line-item strike from a budget bill. Here’s the rundown on all four bills and why Sanders claims they needed to be vetoed:

  1. Sanders struck a $5 million appropriation in a budget bill allocated to the Department of Corrections for pandemic related expenses, stating the “pandemic is over” and invoking “freedom and personal responsibility” as values guiding her decision.
  2. Sanders rejected HB1189, which had bipartisan sponsorship and would have created a license requirement for behavior analysts under the Psychology Board. Sanders claims Behavior Analysts are already regulated under a different board. However, this bill would have provided much-needed clarity in the field of behavior analysis by protecting the field from potentially fraudulent professionals holding themselves out as behavior analysts. This in turn protects the public by erasing confusion around a provider’s level of training or education. Sanders incorrectly called the proposed license “duplicative.”
  3. Sanders vetoed SB509, which increased stipends for members of the State Board of Corrections from $85 to $110. This is perhaps the least exciting of the vetoes, but rest assured the governor is taking the $25 hike as an opportunity to remind us she only increases government spending when it’s politically beneficial for her to do so. SB509 was sponsored by republican legislators.
  4. Sanders threw out HB1622, which would have created a Heart Attack Task Force, stating duplicity as her reason. Specifically, Sanders claims the STEMI Advisory Council already meets the needs addressed in the legislation to create this new task force. A sponsor of the bill, Representative Andrew Collins, explained that they worked with the STEMI Advisory Council and it would have been subsumed into the new task force. We’re sure the governor knows this task force could be lifesaving for Arkansans as our state has the fourth highest mortality rate for heart disease in the nation. 

Once again, the governor’s political ambitions have taken precedence over the well-being of the people of Arkansas. We can’t say we’re surprised. Stay tuned to see if there is pushback from more sponsors of these bills, and if there is any intention to override one or more of the vetoes.