The controversy involving the handling of Rep. Justin Harris’ adoption of three girls ratcheted up on Wednesday with the House Minority Leader calling on the West Fork Republican legislator to resign.
About a half hour before Gov. Asa Hutchinson held a bill signing ceremony, Rep. Eddie Armstrong, D-North Little Rock, leader of the House Democrats, said the situation involving Harris had become a “distraction for the [legislative] body.”
Armstrong said Harris should “strongly consider” resigning from office and he urged Gov. Hutchinson and Speaker Jeremy Gilliam, R-Judsonia, to persuade Harris to “remove” himself from the situation – an inference to resign.
Hutchinson said it would be “premature” to call on Harris’ resignation because all of the facts are not known at this time regarding the circumstances that led to Harris “rehoming” his adopted daughters to a family where one of them was raped.
“I don’t think anyone at this table knows all the facts, I don’t think anyone in this room knows all the facts, and I can assure you I don’t know all the facts,” Hutchinson said.
The governor has ordered the Arkansas Department of Human Services to review adoption policies and to find ways to improve the system.
Hutchinson said he has met with Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, and Rep. David Meeks, R-Conway, on legislation they’ve filed to end the practice of “rehoming,” or transferring adopted children to other families without a formal transfer process.
When asked if he thought Harris’ situation was a distraction to legislators, Hutchinson said, “It didn’t seem to stop 2,000 bills being filed.”
Hutchinson said he has not talked to Rep. Harris since the story published by the Arkansas Times first broke last week.