We're No. 1!

& That's Bad) (Editorial

Arkansas last week became the first state to prohibit gender-affirming care for transgender minors, generating headlines like this: “Arkansas’ transgender law makes it America’s worst state for trans kids.”

The state achieved this distinction after the Republican-controlled Arkansas Legislature overrode Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of a bill prohibiting doctors from providing gender-confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 years old, or from referring them to other providers for the treatment.

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The governor rightly called the legislation an overreach that interferes in the relationships among parents, their children and their children’s doctors.

Meanwhile, the Legislature has refused to enact a meaningful hate crimes bill, with lawmakers advancing instead a meaningless “class-protection bill,” ensuring that Arkansas will remain one of three states without a hate crimes measure.

Working hard to make this legislative session among the most shameful in history, the Arkansas House advanced a measure that would allow the state’s public schools to teach creationism. Because that worked out so well last time.

There was better news with the announcement by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the brainchild of Walmart heiress Alice Walton, that it will expand by 50%. The Waltons know how to get things done, including politically, as they demonstrated in 2012 when they were instrumental in legalizing retail liquor sales in Benton County.

Last week, the Walton Family Foundation said it found recent policy moves in Arkansas concerning LGBTQ people alarming: “This trend is harmful and sends the wrong message to those willing to invest in or visit our state.”

We agree, but no one listens to us. The Walton family, however, is another story. Perhaps they could support some policymakers who won’t kneecap Arkansas when it comes to attracting investment.