PA, I agree with you for the most part, but you need to know when to quit. You will not be able to change any minds on this blog. Realize who the audience is and you will be better off. I never thought of you as being dishonest, by the way. Disappointed that Max would suggest that.
As much as Senator Rapert likes to see his name in the press, it would not surprise me one bit if he arranged for the release of the letter to you himself.
I agree that this ethics bill has problems. I do want to point out some things that it does that are good.
1. It extended Term Limits. Arkansas had the harshest, most draconian term limits in the nation. Now, all my Democratic friends for years lamented how terrible term limits were and how they needed to be repealed. Warrick Sabin and Jon Woods were able to fix that. Now granted, if you are in favor of term limits, you won't like what they did, but if you are opposed to the extension of term limits simply because the Republicans control the legislature, then I don't feel as sorry for you.
2. The legislators deserved a pay raise. Creating a commission was the best way to go about it. Many states have a similar set up and legislators and constitutional officers in Arkansas have talked about creating this for years. Arkansas was close to being dead last if not last in what it paid Constitutional Officers and legislators. You may not like it but these men and women deserved a pay raise.
3. They put a cap on Corporate Campaign Contributions. This is a good thing. It keeps folks like Michael Morton and the Nursing Home Industry from writing a maximum contribution for each home he owns. So Morton can't dump 50K at the drop of a hat like he used to do.
4. It did cut out individual lobbying wining and dining. I know you all think it still goes on as much as it did before. It is true that lobbyists can still take out whole committees. Trust me, I have many friends who are lobbyists and they will tell you that the amount of wining and dining is a fraction of what it was before amendment 94 went into effect. If you think it is bad now, and I know many of you do, then you really have no comprehension of just how bad it was before 94 went into effect.
Now, I will agree that the legislation passed this session that works in conjunction with Amendment 94 is pretty meaningless when it comes to ethics reform. There is no reform to it. It just makes it OK for these guys to do what they have been doing already. There was the one piece of this bill that requires Legislative Council to come up with a plan for mandatory electronic filing of campaign reports. Would love to see that implemented. If it isn't implemented than this whole thing just passed this session is a joke.
PA, it is interesting how this legislature spends all their time trying to help out special interests but doesn't lift a finger to address the corruption in our state government. You just had Paul Bookout plead guilty to wire fraud, a federal charge, because there were no state laws adequate to prosecute him under, yet no one tries to fix that. Instead, these guys spend more time figuring out how to give preferential treatment to Nursing Homes, out of state companies like Crown Cork and Seal, and others. The little guy gets totally overlooked. Hope Arkansas is happy with how they voted.
Take Justin Harris out of the equation just for a minute. And understand I do not condone his conduct with regard to this matter one bit. But having said that, DHS needs to have a thorough examination conducted of their role in this whole affair. This isn't the only case I have heard of where problems arose in DHS adoptions that were troubling.
Thank you Michael for posting accurate information. Always appreciated. And I agree. Eat rice, especially Arkansas Rice. It helps all of Arkansas to support our farmers.
What lawsuit are you referring to? Post a link so we can all be educated? If you are talking about the law suit a few years back where Riceland was a plaintiff, that case had nothing to do with Arsenic. And you still didn't answer the question: Where do you want P.F. Chang to get their rice from? Tell us about this organic locally sourced rice farm that we all should be buying rice from.
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