LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A bill filed in the Arkansas legislature on Monday would prohibit mandating school employees to use a person’s preferred pronoun.

House Bill 1468 cites the right of free speech for faculty members, teachers, and employees of public schools and state-supported institutions of higher education. It continues that mandating what pronoun to use when addressing a person when it is “not consistent with the student or coworker’s biological sex” is a violation of free speech rights.

The proposed legislation continues that a person who refuses to use a preferred pronoun may not be held criminally liable or “subject to adverse employment action.” A person who does face adverse action would be permitted to sue under the bill. 

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Wayne Long (R-Bradford).

This is one of multiple bills proposed in this legislative session seeming to target the LGBTQ+ community. Other bills have looked to criminalize health care workers offering gender transition care for youth and placing restrictions on drag performances.