A number of proposals that enjoyed broad support in the late lamented state legislative session somehow didn’t make it through to enactment.
Some were lost in parliamentary cul de sacs. Sponsors wisely just forgot about some of them, or were bought off. Lobbyists who purchased some of them were allowed to light cigars with the parchment. Some perished after criticism that they emitted too strong an odor of common sense, or that the taint of fairness was upon them. A couple were written in plain understandable language, an obvious disqualification.
Below is a sampler of this failed legislation that perhaps deserved a better fate.
Or perhaps didn’t.
A bill permitting pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions on grounds of conscience as long as the prospective customer was a poor person, a minority person, or a woman, but requiring the pharmacist to just shut up and do his job in the case of a state legislator seeking to get his erectile-dysfunction prescription filled.
A bill authorizing deer-hunting in or along the median of any divided highway in Arkansas, including but not limited to the interstate highways, and absolving said hunters of any responsibility for resulting death or injury to human travelers along said highways. The bill called such prospective accidental deaths or injuries “just t.f.b.”
A bill requiring that teachers in Arkansas public schools give a grade no lower than a “C” to any student who uses the excuse, “My dog ate my homework while I was praying around the flagpole, ma’am.”
A bill voiding any claim of marriage between an illegal alien and a gay person, or vice versa, and prohibiting a couple in which either member was of that description from adopting children or owning a pet.
A bill requiring consultants who come into the public schools to preach abstinence to use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS in their printed matter listing which lewd acts can cause a participating young person to go blind.
A resolution encouraging morticians to conclude graveside funeral services by leading mourners in the Woo Pig Sooie hog call.
A bill authorizing Farm Bureau members or supporters to abuse animals of any variety and in any number all they want to. Permissible mistreatment wouldn’t have been limited to farm animals. Rogue alligators, for example, were included. And cormorants. Also newts. And players and coaches for visitor ball teams with provocative critter mascots such as wampus cats, redbugs, and owls.
A bill decriminalizing the calling of a political opponent “a sorry whorehopper.”
A bill making it a punishable offense to broadcast or publish a political advertisement that might be construed as polite, intelligent, informative or tasteful.
A bill inviting the Arkansas Supreme Court — “or anybody else that don’t like the way we do things” — to “fold it five ways and put it where the moon don’t shine.”
A bill giving the state legislature sole authority over the connecting, disconnecting, and reconnecting of feeding tubes in comatose, politically exploitable Arkies. The bill included a provision banning death-culture types from deliberately clogging up feeding tubes by filling them with such inappropriate nutritional materials as Campbell’s Chunky Chicken Soup.
A bill in which the hon. rep. from Morrilton had himself named Gambling Czar of Arkansas, Poohbah of the Concatenated Hoo Hoo, and reigning Kingfish of the Mystic Knights of the Sea.
A bill mandating prayers in the public schools “whenever and wherever the spirit moves,” but only prayers to “the real God” rather than to “such imposters as Allah, Zeus, Thor, the Great Spirit, or the Hindoo character with all the arms.”
A bill to let private business developers steal public money of any amount or description so long as they remembered to claim that a small amount of it might be used to build some sort of commercial enterprise that might conceivably sooner or later result in the creation of a new job. (Oh, wait, this legislation was actually enacted.)
A retirement bill to give state legislators a permanent spot at the trough, no matter how many terms or how much time they might have served, if indeed they ever served any. A legislator only had to have been born to qualify for his pension under this legislation. Or hatched, from some sort of devil egg, which seems oddly and disproportionately to have been the case.
Finally, there was a bill to require every Arkansas community, no matter how strapped, to donate to a gigantic pot of money to be gifted upon the town of Bigelow (pop. 329) for no particular reason. Bigelow residents weren’t adjudged especially needy, or anything like that. The legislature just thought it would be a nice gesture, and if making it required screwing your community, and mine, and all the rest of them, well, that was merely that t.f.b. factor putting in another appearance.
Just kidding about that last one, of course. No legislature, not even ours, is so anserine that it would even consider such a proposal, much less whoop it on through to the Annotated Acts for sane people and posterity to laugh at.
When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
Bob Lancaster, one of the Arkansas Times longest and most valued contributors, retired from writing his column last week. We’ll miss his his contributions mightily. Look out, in the weeks to come, for a look back at some of his greatest hits. In the meantime, here's a good place to start.