Favorite

Last week, we complained that the legislative session was ending in a fit of meanness. The editorial hadn’t appeared in print before lawmakers were showing their better side. Let us amend our remarks.

One of the nastiest, most ignorant bills of the session, presumably on its way to approval, was stopped by a House of Representatives committee. Senate Bill 959 would have prohibited homosexuals from fostering or adopting children, and prevented unmarried heterosexual couples from adopting. It had passed the Senate 22-2; the House Judiciary Committee crushed it. Nice work by informed legislators; their action benefits children and inhibits intolerance.

Gov. Mike Beebe deserves credit too, for quiet but effective opposition to the bill, and so does Speaker of the House Benny Petrus, D-Stuttgart, for assigning SB 959 to an appropriate committee. Some of them would have been less discriminating, we imagine.

At about the same time, the House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee was correcting another Senate mistake. SB 20, approved by the Senate 23-7, would have allowed the state to snoop into everybody’s medicine cabinet, discover what prescription drugs people are taking, and exert government force against patients, pharmacists and physicians found not in compliance with drug warriors’ demands. Supporters of SB 20 aren’t concerned as much about drugs as they are about liberty — they think there’s too much of it and too many people using it. One of those supporters showed his distaste for free speech by insisting that the committee act on the bill without hearing from opponents. The committee’s action was to deny the bill a favorable recommendation.

Still, the darker side of legislators’ nature has not been entirely vanquished. A Petrus-sponsored, House-approved bill to impose higher ethical standards on legislators and lobbyists died in the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee, at the hands of senators who don’t much like Petrus or ethics. Sen. Randy Laverty, D-Jasper, said he knew he’d be criticized for his opposition. It’s rare for Laverty to be right.

A few years back, we depended on senators to save us from House excesses. In this session, the situation seems reversed. When the House has passed bad legislation, like HB 2768, a hateful anti-abortion bill, the Senate has meekly gone along. Maybe the senators expect to be saved by a gubernatorial veto. As a senator, Beebe regularly opposed bills like HB 2768, and he was quietly effective then too. Exercising a veto would be a little showy for Beebe, but he’s gotten the hang of this governing business, and could be ready to strut. We wouldn’t hold it against him.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Indian Rock House at Fairfield Bay

Indian Rock House at Fairfield Bay

Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: A week of 'thunderbolts'

    • So poignant. Often, leaders come and go, only to fade into the chapters of history…

    • on January 18, 2017
  • Re: Hillbillies

    • Investigator, you're like an old record that skips and keeps repeating over and over and…

    • on January 18, 2017
  • Re: Hillbillies

    • Oh Pshaw. I never criticized her "affectionate feelings" for her children - in fact I…

    • on January 18, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation