Gov. Hutchinson Vetoes Publicity Rights Bill
LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) – Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed a publicity rights bill on Tuesday (March 31) that aimed to protect the names, voices, signatures and photographs of Arkansas citizens from exploitation and unauthorized commercial use, officials say.
The bill, SB 79, passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 80-6 and the Senate with a vote of 25-3, according to legislative records. The bill was sent to Hutchinson on March 25 at 10:43 a.m.
SB 79 was filed by Sen. Jon Woods, R-Springdale, and cosponsored by Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, legislative records state.
Hutchinson said he believed the bill “as drafted would extend protection beyond the stated intent of the bill and unnecessarily restrict free expression and may result in unnecessary litigation in Arkansas.”
He released the following statement on the veto of SB 79:
“In its current form, the bill unnecessarily restricts free expression and thus could have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and freedom of the press. In addition, SB79 exempts certain types of noncommercial speech while failing to exempt other forms of noncommercial speech. The absence of these exemptions could result in unnecessary litigation and suppress Arkansans who engage in artistic expression.”