Senate Bill 43 will not create a better Arkansas.

The Democratic Party of Arkansas released the following statement about Senate Bill 43, which passed out of the Senate City, County, and Local Committee Affairs Committee today.

SB43 is a proposed piece of legislation that would classify drag shows, where a performer sometimes (but not always) dons the exaggerated attire of another gender, as adult entertainment on par with strip clubs, pornography businesses, and escort services. It is replicated from legislation being introduced around the country as a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ fear-mongering is used to win partisan political elections and will next be heard on the state Senate floor.  

“It has taken only one week for the Republican Party to show their priorities are not on improving teacher pay, addressing criminal justice, or restoring reproductive choice for Arkansans, but on juvenile, divisive bills about drag shows that will do absolutely nothing to improve the quality of life for Arkansans,” Chair Grant Tennille said.  

“Arkansas Democrats stand with the LGBTQ+ community and know SB43 is only the first of several planned attacks on our friends and family who are seeking only to live out their lives in peace in our state. It’s time to end these pointless, and undoubtedly, illegal distractions.” 

Democratic Party of Arkansas Strategy Director Will Watson added, “We have entered a dangerous period where Republicans in Arkansas are targeting LGBTQ+ Arkansans by equating their identities with pornography and prostitution. It’s a vile and bigoted attack on Arkansans who are already at increased risk to be targeted by acts of violence. Nothing about this bill makes our state safer, fairer, or better. The Senate should send SB43 back to the legislative dumpster and focus on delivering a better Arkansas.”