Friday, April 03, 2015

Arkansas Legislature Passes Ten Commandments Monument Bill

The Arkansas legislature on Wednesday gave final passage to SB 939, The Ten Commandments Monument Display Act (full text) which directs the secretary of state to arrange for private groups to place a Ten Commandments monument on the State Capitol grounds. The bill has been sent to Governor Asa Hutchinson for his signature.

The bill begins with a series of findings emphasizing the importance of the Ten Commandments as a foundation of the U.S. and Arkansas legal systems. One of the findings reads:
The Ten Commandments represent a philosophy of government held by many of the founders of this nation and by many Arkansans and other Americans today, that God has ordained civil government and has delegated limited authority to civil government, that God has limited the authority of civil government, and that God has endowed people with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The bill also sets out the specific text of the Ten Commandments that is to appear on the monument. The bill authorizes the Attorney General to defend against any legal challenge to the monument, or to request Liberty Legal Institute to prepare and present a defense.  Northwest Arkansas Democrate Gazette reports on the legislature's action.