Editor's note: Updated to clarify votes by Sens. Jake Files and Jason Rapert.
The Arkansas Senate voted 19-14 Thursday morning to override Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto of HB 1037, a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks. An override required 18 votes.
The bill will go into effect immediately now that both chambers have overridden the veto as it has an emergency clause provision attached to it.
Pushed by Rep. Andy Mayberry, R-Hensley, the bill was passed by a 25 to 7 margin – with three non-voting – in the Senate.
Two Republicans, Sens. Jake Files of Fort Smith and Jason Rapert of Conway, were not present at the time of the vote and were listed in the non-voting category for the veto vote. According to Files, he and Rapert submitted letters to be placed with the vote tally in the Senate Journal that notes their support of the veto override.
Files said Wednesday he was unsure of how he would vote, and planned to “visit with some attorneys who can speak to the constitutionality of the measure.”
“While strongly pro-life, I am ready to move the focus of this Legislature to fiscal policy talks and bills that will help retain and attract jobs here,” Files said in the Wednesday interview.
In his veto statement, Beebe said HB 1037, the “pain capable abortion” bill, violated the U.S. Constitution and would cost taxpayers money through litigation.
Mayberry respectfully disagreed and pushed for the override of the veto of his bill.
“I think this is a great bill. It saves babies lives. This bill – even under the current Roe v. Wade ruling – is constitutional,” he said.