Under the bill that Hutchinson says he'll sign into law, King will have the third Monday of January entirely to himself, as dictated by federal law; Lee will now be commemorated in a state holiday on the second Saturday of October. If the civil rights icon and Confederate general would seem to make for rather odd bedfellows, the state's Legislature has come to agree. Member station KUAR reportsthat by a 66-11 vote Friday — with 18 members not voting and five voting present — the Arkansas House of Representatives passed a bill to "eliminate the dual status of the joint holiday," and to "specify the teaching of content related to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in conjunction with the corresponding holiday." The Senate had already approved the change.
In a statement, Hutchinson commended the passage of the bill, which was co-sponsored by state Sen. David Wallace and state Rep. Grant Hodges, both Republicans. According to KUAR, the governor thanked lawmakers for the bipartisan effort:
"The support for a separate holiday to recognize Martin Luther King far exceeded my expectations and speaks well of the General Assembly and our state. This bill was one of my priorities, and I was honored to testify for it in both Chambers. I look forward to having a signing ceremony that emphasizes the historic dynamic of this new day."