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Ethics/Government TransparencyRead

Arkansas Tyranny – Weaponizing Licenses and Permits

Governor Asa Hutchinson used the fact that a business held a state license as leverage against a business to enforce one of his Covid-19 orders when he suspended a license. In this instance, it was the concert venue, TempleLive, in Fort Smith that had a concert scheduled but in his edict the Governor had arbitrarily decided such venues could not open for three more days.

To keep his order from being ignored, the Governor issued a cease and desist order and then jumped to the action of temporarily suspending the business’ license to sell alcohol.  This effectively stopped the event. It also set the alarming precedent that any license you might hold can and will be used against you to force you to comply even with questionable orders of the Governor.

Instead of trying to enforce his order with an injunction, where the validity of his order would likely be challenged, he bypassed that safeguard by just having a state agency summarily suspend the license. WHERE WAS DUE PROCESS?

Governor Hutchinson’s strong-arm tactic shifted the burden to the business. which could appeal to the agency that suspended the license and which was no remedy at all because the concert date would have already passed.

This tactic takes Arkansas down a dangerous path. The tactic is a problem even if you want the Governor’s Covid orders to be strictly enforced and made even stronger. It is a problem even if you would ordinarily not care about this particular business, about concerts, or about the sale of alcohol. It takes us down a dangerous path.

Have you stopped to think about how much of our lives are subject to a license or permits? What if the state uses the same tactic to revoke your licenses or privileges for a reason unrelated to the conditions for holding the license or permit?

As Americans we place a great value on our freedoms.  Yet at every turn we are licensed, regulated, and taxed. Even to drive a car to work to make a living, you need a driver’s license and a license for the vehicle.  And that is just the beginning of licenses and permits that apply to your work, your activities, and your property.

Every business must get permits, licenses, etc. When you go into a business (if Asa lets you) start noticing licenses and permits posted in businesses.

Many occupations require a state license.  Arkansas imposes more occupational licenses than most states and we are just a small state.

Quickly you can see that Governor Hutchinson’s tactic of suspending a license to enforce an executive order is a huge expansion of government power over you.  The tactic is leverage over everyone. The tactic is tyranny.

Small businesses are the most vulnerable to such strong armed abuse.

By the way, Governor Hutchinson was not the first governor to use a state license as leverage to enforce a Covid order.  His action mirrored the tactic used by Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, a Democrat, when she suspended a barber’s license for not complying with her Covid order shutting down such businesses.  Ultimately, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that barber had the RIGHT to work.

Tell your elected officials to never go down that path again. 

The legislature needs to pass a law (and also propose a constitutional amendment) to prohibit the executive branch from abusing licensing and permitting powers to enforce compliance with unrelated orders.

 

 

 

14 Comments

  1. You can publish what i say , dont give a shit. Asa hutchinson is a liar, and i would like to see another person like Jan ,because i voted for her the last election. Hutchinson is in office to keep his kids out of jail.

  2. Absolutely. Many of Asa’s and his hinchmen’s action are overreach. Unfortunately the governor doesn’t understand his orders and guidelines are being ignored.
    I am appalled that each day when they report the number of positives that they don’t report the number that tested positive that are asymptomatic. It is important to know how many are ill with Covid-19 and, at least, and approximate number that tested positive, but don’t have any symptoms.
    People, for the most part, aren’t practicing social distancing, nor are a majority wearing masks.

  3. Governor , I beleive you are over stepping your powers, and trying to act like a god. which your are NOT, also you are not supposed to be a Democrat which you are acting like some that I know of. It would be better for you, and the State of Arkansas, it you would follow your oath, the Constitutioin of our Country, and the Constitution of our State. Unless you want to go out of office known as something besides being a good Governor.

  4. During this term in office, Governor Hutchinson has shown his true ambitions . He has used tactics that are purposely to take power from the citizens.
    Time for a recall.

  5. Certainly the legislature needs to do these things!
    Certainly this action by the governor was wrong!
    Certainly I have come to expect such from this governor!

  6. Totally agree with this article. I believe that if the legislature would truly operate separately from the governor that this would get done. However, we know what tactics the governor has used in the past to get folks to do his bidding in both houses; therefore I think he would not let this be an exception. I don’t think there are enough in either of the houses who would be willing to fight him on this. For one thing, they’d be too afraid of getting primary opposition, which we know is one of Asa’s favorite things to do in retaliation. The laziness of legislative bodies as a whole (state and federal) has ceded so much of its business/power to agencies that become independent of oversight, yet in this case Asa was swift to swipe his heavy hand to do the work himself. Hmmm……

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