The House yesterday passed Rep. Kim Hammer's House Bill 1273, which would halt consideration of new monuments on the Capitol grounds unless they're first approved by the legislature. The bill appears to be aimed at the Satanic Temple, a religious group that is unpopular among lawmakers at the Capitol.
On Capitol View over the weekend, Rep. Michelle Gray, a backer of Charlie Collins bill to force public universities and colleges to allow staff members to carry concealed handguns, faced off against Austin Bailey, director of the Arkansas Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a citizens group which opposes the bill.
Here's an idea that has mostly gotten lost in the shuffle in the legislative shenanigans this year: Back in November, Sen. Jim Hendren filed Senate Joint Resolution 1, which would propose a constitutional amendment to eliminate the fiscal session of the legislature. Sounds like a good idea to me! However, we're hearing rumblings that some in the House may want to go the other direction, potentially proposing an amendment to require the legislature to meet in a full, regular session every year instead of every other year.
KATV reports that a verdict was reached late last night in the wrongful termination and defamation lawsuit brought by former David Singer, a former Arkansas treasurer's office staffer, against Treasurer Dennis Milligan and his chief of staff Jim Harris. The jury found in favor of Milligan and Harris.
Two joint resolutions filed in the Arkansas Senate call for constitutional amendments that would fundamentally alter oversight of the public school system and the balance of powers between the branches of state government. If either is approved by the legislature, it would appear on the 2018 ballot for consideration by voters.
The House Rules committee yesterday passed a bill codifying an exception for travel junkets to the laws prohibiting gifts from lobbyists to public officials and creating an explicit exemption for swag given out to legislators at fancy balls. Really.
Sen. Tom Cotton — the only member of the Arkansas congressional delegation with an appointment-only policy for constituent visits to field offices — is now promising that he will hold town hall meetings in Arkansas this year.
The Senate today passed a bill to create a tax exemption for military retirement pay, 30-0 (one didn't vote and four were present). A similar bill passed the House yesterday; once they have flip-flopped, they'll be on the governor's desk.
Noted: SB25, which appears to be an effort by the Arkansas Realtors Association to preserve the status quo, isn't heading to House Judiciary this week, as you might expect. Instead it's being re-routed to a committee likely friendlier to the realtor lobby.
A photograph of a woman doing a headstand so you can see her red underpants. A sculpture by Robyn Horn titled "Approaching Collapse." Those and other works that assistant professor of photography Margo Duvall says "celebrates the female voice in art" for Women's History Month go on exhibit March 1 in the gallery in the Russell Fine Arts Building.
The plan, formulated months ago, was this: Ellen and I were going to go to Washington for inauguration festivities, then fly out the morning after the balls for Panama City and a long planned cruise to begin with a Panama Canal passage.
Not since the John Birch Society's "Impeach Earl Warren" billboards littered Southern roadsides after the Supreme Court's school-integration decision in 1954 has the American judicial system been under such siege, but who would have thought the trifling Arkansas legislature would lead the charge?
The Senate this morning added an amendment to Rep. Charlie Collins campus carry bill that incorporates the effort denied in committee yesterday to require a 16-hour additional training period before university staff members with concealed carry permits may take the weapons on campus.