Gov. Mike Beebe says he will be “much more careful” in leaving state government in the hands of Lt. Gov. Mark Darr.
Beebe, a Democrat, expressed his dissatisfaction with Darr, a Republican, who signed into law a bill, SB 131, that would make concealed carry permit holders’ information exempt from public release.
Darr signed the bill last Friday when Beebe was out of state for a National Governors Association conference.
Describing Darr’s actions as “inappropriate,” Beebe said he will be much more cautious in the future. Darr apologized for any offense in an interview earlier today (Feb. 26).
Beebe said, “He didn’t embarrass me. He embarrassed himself.”
Darr responded with a statement issued after Beebe’s comments. He said:
“I respect the office of the Governor, the Constitution of the State of Arkansas, but mostly I respect the citizens of Arkansas and the 130,000 citizens that are now protected under this law.
“I want to thank the number of constituents who have called and emailed in support of this law. People like Donna Schaefer of Carlisle, who took the time to come to the Capitol today and express how grateful she was. Donna and her 82 year old mother were two names that were released yesterday by a reporter here in Little Rock. Her story is an example of why I felt the urgent need to sign this bill into law.
“It is important to remember that Act 145 received a tremendous amount of support from the Arkansas Legislature with a vote of 84 to 9 in the House and 24 to 9 in the Senate.”
In other topics, the Governor also said he would make a decision by 2pm today on HB 1037, a bill that limits abortions after about 20 weeks when supporters of the measure argue that a fetus can feel pain.
Beebe said he met with the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Andy Mayberry (R-Hensley), this morning. He called Mayberry a “man of character” for not asking Darr to sign the bill during Beebe’s absence from the state.
Beebe is also expected to meet this afternoon around 3pm with state lawmakers to discuss options related to the federal government’s flexibility on the state’s Medicaid program.