Ark. Legislature Passes Bill To Separate MLK And Robert E. Lee Days

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LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — The Arkansas Legislature passed a bill on Friday (March 17) that would move Robert E. Lee day so it doesn’t fall on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has supported the bill since it was filed on Tuesday (Feb. 28), and he announced he will sign it into law on Monday (March 20).

Senate Bill 519 would move recognition for Robert E. Lee from the third Monday in January to the second Saturday in October. The third Monday in January is designated as the remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

“I want to thank members of the House for their bipartisan support and passage of SB 519, and I especially want to thank Sen. Wallace and Rep. Hodges for their leadership on this landmark bill,” said Hutchinson in a news release. “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.”

In addition to moving the remembrance of Robert E. Lee’s birthday to October, the bill would also require the state department of education to develop curriculum to teach students about the historical contributions of African Americans starting in the 2018-2019 school year.

After the Arkansas Senate passed the bill on Friday afternoon, Hutchinson tweeted his support.

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