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Gov. Hutchinson gives COVID-19 overview, says he will let bills become law without signature

Seven-day rolling average of COVID deaths in Arkansas - 10/13/21
Seven-day rolling average of COVID deaths in Arkansas - 10/13/21
Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 9:51 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 13, 2021 at 3:08 PM CDT
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Dr. Jose R. Romero updated the public at 1:30 p.m. on the state’s response to the coronavirus, including the latest cases of COVID-19 and deaths.

The governor gave an overview on the COVID-19 numbers for the state.

Gov. Hutchinson announces he will not sign SB739 and HB1977 into law. He said he would allow them to become law without his signature.

Both SB739 and HB1977 deal with employee exemptions involving the COVID-19 pandemic.

The law would require employers to allow employees to opt out on requirements to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if people are tested weekly or can prove they have antibodies for the virus, the Associated Press reported.

Lawmakers filed the bill in response in a plan to challenge the Biden Administration’s order on the issue.

Supporters, in recent debate, said the plan would help people in a difficult situation while business groups and hospitals opposed the plan, saying it would create a negative impact.

Gov. Hutchinson said he will also allow a pair of congressional redistricting bills to become law without his signature.

Under the law, Pulaski County, which is now in the 2nd District, would be split into the 1st, 2nd and 4th Districts.

Critics have said the law would dillute minority representation in Congress, while supporters said in recent debate that population drops in eastern and southern Arkansas caused the need for the map.

SB743 and HB1982 will set the four congressional districts in the state through the 2030 election cycle. Gov. Hutchinson said he is letting the bills become law without his signature due to concerns, saying there may be some legal challenges.

Watch the full briefing live on-air or online here>>>

Copyright 2021 KAIT. All rights reserved.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.