Senate overrides veto of ‘fetal heartbeat’ bill

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 38 views 

The Arkansas State Senate overrode its second gubernatorial veto of an abortion restriction bill in less than a week.

On Tuesday, Senators overrode Gov. Mike Beebe’s (D) veto of SB 134, the “fetal heartbeat” bill, which would restrict abortions with certain exceptions after about 12 weeks.

Senators split along party lines in the override vote, 20-14.

SB 134, by Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, was the second veto override in less than a week. It now heads to the House of Representatives, where an override is likely.

Last week, Senators overrode HB 1037 by Rep. Andy Mayberry, R-Hensley, which would have restricted abortions after about 20 weeks.

Both measures may face legal challenges on constitutional grounds, which Beebe cited in his veto letters.

On the House side of the capitol, House Majority Leader Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, could not muster enough Republican votes to secure passage of HB 1041. The bill places a spending cap on state revenues tied to disposable personal income increases.

The measure only received 49 votes and needed 51 to pass.

Westerman said he wasn’t planning on making another attempt at the bill in the near future, but he didn’t close the door on trying again later in the session.

“I am proud and thankful for the 49 members who chose to honor our commitment to hardworking Arkansas taxpayers and restrain the growth of state government spending,” he said after the vote. “There are still two tools available to the legislature to responsibly limit the growth of government: appropriations bills and the Revenue Stabilization Act. House Republicans remain committed to the promises we made to restrain spending, and to build the Arkansas General Assembly into a true co-equal branch of government and not a rubber-stamp of the governor’s office.”

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