Bell’s MLK, Robert E. Lee Bill Amended

by Michael Wilkey ([email protected]) 63 views 

An amended bill involving a plan to get rid of the dual status of a state holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert E. Lee appears ready to head to committee.

The state House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee will take up House Bill 1113 at a Wednesday morning hearing, its sponsor, Rep. Nate Bell, R-Mena, said Tuesday.

Bell said the bill was amended late Monday after negotiations and compromise by all concerned.

Under the amendment, the bill would also get rid of the holiday honoring former Confederacy President Jefferson Davis on June 3 and would create a “Patrick Cleburne-Robert E. Lee Southern Heritage Day” on Nov. 30.

“The state of Arkansas has a very proud and distinguished southern culture and heritage; and the state should maintain and celebrate its culture and heritage, including its military leaders, while continuing to recognize and celebrate other events and days of state and federal historical significance,” the amended bill read.

“It is the intent of the General Assembly by the enactment of this act to maintain and celebrate the state southern culture, heritage and military leaders while continuing to honor, observe and celebrate other days and events of state and federal historical significance.”

Bell said the bill has received support from Rep. Fred Love, D-Little Rock, who sponsored a similar bill on the issue.

Also, Reps. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville, Charles Blake, D-North Little Rock, and Vivian Flowers, D-Pine Bluff, signed on Monday night as co-sponsors for the bill.

The original bill drew interest after a sign posted at the state Capitol and state offices around the state noted offices would be closed for a holiday honoring both King and Lee.