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List of executive orders signed by Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders

While some of the executive orders promise immediate improvement for Arkansas, some have sparked statewide concerns.

ARKANSAS, USA — Just over a week after Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders was sworn into office, she has signed 10 executive orders covering a wide range of topics from the banning of critical race theory education, TikTok, and the use of Latinx terminology, to the enactment of a state-wide hiring freeze.

The executive orders have been released quickly, and while some of them promise immediate improvement in the quality of life for many Arkansans, some have sparked concerns about acceptance across the state.

Executive Order 1

Order to execute an immediate hiring and promotion freeze: 

The first executive order signed by Gov. Sanders institutes a "moratorium on hiring and promotion," effectively putting a stop to "all ongoing hiring processes that have not yet resulted in a formal offer of employment."

It is worth noting that the hiring freeze does not apply to the Arkansas Department of Corrections, and the Department of Public Safety.

Other notable exceptions to the promotion and hiring freeze are members of the Arkansas Legislature, Justices of the Supreme Court, any Judicial branch of the state, or offices of the Governor.

The freeze will remain "in full force and effect until amended or rescinded by further executive orders."

Executive Order 2

Order to reduce government rules and regulations:

The second order intends to prevent "unnecessary rules and regulations that burden businesses." To that end, the order requires "all state departments, agencies, and offices to seek approval from the Governor" when proposing any new rule, or adjusting any existing regulation.

This order would ban any department from appearing before legislative committees in regards to any rulemaking procedure without the Governor's permission.

It is yet to be seen how this order will play out, and how efficiently state bodies will be able to file regular legislation. 

Executive Order 3:

Order to limit government overreach, reduce bureaucracy and review previous executive orders: 

Despite its broad titling, the Governor's third executive order simply directs the Arkansas Inspector General to "conduct a complete and exhaustive review of all previously issued executive orders." 

The review is due 90 days after the order's signing (Apr. 10, 2023), and is required to include a list of what every executive order ever enacted covers, as well as the date they were issued, whether or not they are still in effect, and how they "impact the rights and liberties of Arkansans."

Executive Order 4:

Order to protect taxpayers and reduce waste in the department of commerce division of workforce services unemployment insurance program:

This executive order intends to "implement measures to enhance the integrity of the Unemployment Insurance Program," claiming that tens of millions of dollars have been spent on "improper unemployment benefits."

To that end, this order will demand the cross-checking of incarceration and death records when Arkansans apply for unemployment. It also requires taking a closer look at out-of-state applicants.

Executive Order 5:

Order to prohibit indoctrination and critical race theory in schools:

This hot-topic executive order refers to critical race theory education as discriminatory "indoctrination" that is opposite to "traditional American values."

It claims that teaching critical race theory allows children to take part in "resurrecting segregationist values, which America has fought so hard to reject."

Critical race theory discussion began in the 1980s and centers around the topic of the unavoidable racial bias throughout U.S. society, and at times specifically inside the U.S. government.

It is this discussion that has led to many lawmakers across the U.S. banning the teaching of the subject.

Executive Order 6:

Order to protect state information and communications technology from the influence of the adversarial foreign governments:

Centering around the prohibition of the social-media app TikTok, this executive order states particular concern about the Chinese app developer's "significant ties to the Chinese Communist Party."

Furthermore, it refers to an "economic, political, and military competition" between China and the United States as background for the decision.

It also quotes an investigation by the U.S. Department of Commerce into "certain transactions involving Chinese persons and entities," that may pose a risk to national security.

Executive Order 7:

Order to respect the Latino community by eliminating culturally insensitive words from official use in government:

Another controversial order effectively bans the use of 'Latinx' terminology in any official state document, stating that "one can no more easily remove gender from Spanish than one can remove vowels and verbs from English."

The order came to the shock and dismay of many who do not identify as either strictly male or female within the Latinx community—a percentage identified in the executive order itself to be at least %3.

It refers to the use of Latinx as "culturally insensitive," as well as inappropriate ethically.

Executive Order 8:

Order to prioritize L.E.A.R.N.S. (Literacy, Empowerment, Accountability, Readiness, Networking, and School Safety):

Executive order 23-08 seeks to improve education for young children, stating that %35 of Arkansas third graders read at grade level.

It says that "every student deserves access to effective teachers," and to that end, it plans to conduct a "kindergarten-readiness analysis" that will include a list of every child younger than five enrolled in an early education program and an "analysis of the gaps between what is currently offered and what parents and families seek."

Through various avenues, the executive order also aims to encourage the adoption of "high-quality instructional materials" for struggling students, review educator training to "decrease time-to-hire," and attract more experienced educators.

The order also provides funding for a review to ensure schools and districts implement school safety laws that cover shooter drills and safety plans.

Executive Order 9:

Order to repeal COVID-19 executive orders:

Order 23-09 repeals five previous executive orders enacted by Asa Hutchinson when the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, covering emergency aid for Arkansas residents.

The acts created and funded the Arkansas Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act Steering Committee, the Medical Advisory Committee, the COVID-19 Testing Advisory Group, COVID-19 Technical Advisory Board, and the COVID-19 Winter Task Force.

Executive order 10:

Order to limit government overreach, reduce red tape, and improve education:

Gov. Sander's tenth executive order aims to change the way school districts apply for government funding and financial planning.

In order to do that, the order commands the Department of Education Secretary to develop a "unified system that streamlines applications."

Prior to the release of that unified system, the order requests that a review be conducted to identify unnecessary state laws and processes.

The final part of executive order 23-10 requests the establishment of a system with which school districts can submit feedback to the Department of Education.

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