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State tourism official warns of economic damage from “bathroom bill’

November 6, 2017

Arkansas Times,

November 3, 2017-

John Lovett of the Times-Record in Fort Smith reports on remarks this week by top state tourism officials and a warning about the damaging impact on tourism should Arkansas adopt a so-called bathroom bill that prevents transgender people from using restrooms that match their gender identity. Such a bill passed in North Carolina, with calamitous consequences. Sen. Linda Collins-Smith failed with such a bill in the Arkansas legislature in 2017, but the idea is being studied in the interim for possible re-introduction.

That’s not a good idea, said Joe David Rice, retiring state tourism director, who was joined in the appearance  by Jim Dailey, who’s been chosen to succeed Rice. A bathroom bill could harm the state’s image and hurt the $350 million annual tourism business, Rice said. Dailey also spoke, though not quite so directly on the bathroom bill. However, he was appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who opposed Collins-Smith’s bill.

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