Sarah Sanders vetoes $5 million in pandemic expenses for state agency: 'COVID-19 Pandemic is over'

The veto is one of four issued by Sanders on Friday.

Published: April 16, 2023 11:00pm

Updated: April 17, 2023 6:22am

(The Center Square) -

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a line-item veto Friday for $5 million in pandemic expenses included in the Department of Corrections budget.

"During my first days in office, I terminated several existing Executive Orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic," Sanders said in her veto letter. "I believe in freedom and personal responsibility – not COVID mandates or shutdowns. The COVID-19 pandemic is over."

Sanders approved the remainder of the bill.

The veto is one of four issued by Sanders on Friday.

The governor also nixed a bill that would have increased stipends for Arkansas Board of Corrections members from $85 to $110.

"Elected officials have a responsibility to eliminate unnecessary spending at every level of state government," Sanders said in her veto letter. "Senate Bill 509 carries with it a price tag - an increase which cannot be justified to Arkansas taxpayers."

House Bill 1169, which would have created state licenses for behavior analysts, was vetoed by Sanders.

"This bill creates unnecessary and overburdensome regulation to Behavior Analysts that practice in the State of Arkansas," Sanders said in her veto letter. 'Behavior Analysts are already certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and are subject to regulation. Creating duplicative licenses with new fees attached is additional red tape that does not ensure additional protections for the public."

The fourth bill vetoed by Sanders would have created a statewide heart attack task force. The governor said the task force duplicates already-existing programs.

Arkansas law requires a majority of lawmakers in both houses to agree to override the governor's veto. Lawmakers return to Little Rock on May 1 to officially close the 2023 legislative session.

Unlock unlimited access

  • No Ads Within Stories
  • No Autoplay Videos
  • VIP access to exclusive Just the News newsmaker events hosted by John Solomon and his team.
  • Support the investigative reporting and honest news presentation you've come to enjoy from Just the News.
  • Just the News Spotlight

    Support Just the News