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Friday, June 27, 2014

Beebe: Who needs transparency? It's expensive.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 2:32 PM

click to enlarge EASY PEASY: Beebe prefers no-debate, limited-public-input workouts of issues, particularly pertaining to the Oaklawn casino.
  • EASY PEASY: Beebe prefers no-debate, limited-public-input workouts of issues, particularly pertaining to the Oaklawn casino.
Gov. Mike Beebe's weekly radio address on the special session includes this reference to his addition of an Oaklawn play pretty to the agenda.

Finally, legislators asked to include a bill to prevent the Arkansas Lottery Commission from adding electronic monitor games to the lottery system. Again, when supplied with evidence of sufficient legislative support, I agreed to add it to the agenda.

Talk about a slippery slope. No telling how many majority votes could be lined up in secret without a minute of debate to express the "will of the people." Ask Jason Rapert. He has a few ideas.

Again: The lottery is going to be hamstrung because of the wishes of a powerful lobby that never once was mentioned by name in a public meeting or discussion about this legislative session.

Transparency?

This is the dark hole of Arkansas legislating. And it's an affront to the people. Beebe shouldn't have gone along. Except he's been playing this same game for decades.

This is true not just about the lottery question, but teacher insurance and prison money. We have two stopgaps without meaningful public debate and input, worked out by legislative insiders in private. Beebe's B.S.:

In our State, where regular sessions occur only every two years, special sessions become necessary at times to conduct the business of the people by their elected representatives. As my time as governor winds down, I trust that these sessions will continue to be short, productive and of minimal expense to Arkansas taxpayers.

The savings are minimal. The cost of limiting public participation is huge.

PS — One last chance for public discussion on this lottery bill awaits in House Rules, where gambling bills go. It's a committee controlled by the speaker. An effort to stop the bill there is a possibility. Note that members include the rising House Speaker Jeremy Gillam. Does he get rolled by the Senate, which has been driving the Oaklawn train?

The membership: Chairperson: Stephanie Malone; Vice Chairperson: Andy Davis,  Tommy Thompson, Kelley Linck. Darrin Williams, Andrea Lea, John Charles Edwards, Duncan Baird, James McLean, John Burris, Deborah Ferguson, Mary Broadway, Ann V. Clemmer, Jeremy Gillam, John T. Vines.

For the record: the governor has added this specific item to the call:

To amend the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Act to define and prohibit the use of multidraw screen-based lottery games as part of the Arkansas Schlarship Lottery.

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