LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is asking Arkansas lawmakers not to override Gov. Asa Hutchinson's veto of SB 298, the Arkansas Sovereignty Act of 2021.
SB 298, by Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch, and Rep. Brandt Smith, R-Jonesboro, restricts local or state law enforcement or public officials from enforcing or assisting federal agencies or officers “in the enforcement of any federal statute, executive order, or federal agency directive that conflicts with the Arkansas Constitution.”
Hutchinson on Friday vetoed the bill over concerns it would hinder local and state law enforcement cooperation with federal law enforcement entities. It is Hutchinson’s third veto of the session. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is hoping lawmakers sustain Hutchinson's veto because, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, it could take away $18 million of funding if enacted the way it is currently written.
"The act threatens to stop the flow of almost $20 million per year in federal funding for fish and wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation in Arkansas," a statement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says. "It is critical that we act to protect this funding."
Arkansas' commission spokesperson Keith Stephens said on Sunday that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a revision to the bill by including an exemption of the Federal Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax.
Stubblefield, the bill's co-sponsor, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Sunday. Lawmakers are set to vote on the veto Monday.