Snyder’s way 

Spooked into near-hysteria by “drug warriors,” Congress enacted a law six years ago denying federal aid for college to anyone with a drug conviction on his or her record, even if the person meets all the other requirements for assistance, including a respectable grade-point average. Murderers and rapists are not denied federal aid to attend college; anyone who’s had a youthful misdemeanor conviction for possession of marijuana is.

It’s an unusually stupid law, and U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder has been trying to get it changed for several years. This session, he is again co-sponsoring a bill that would end the penalty. Not only is it unfairly applied to drug offenders only, Snyder says, but it keeps potential college students from becoming productive citizens. (And increases the chances that they’ll become criminals or professional welfare recipients instead.)

This is the sort of thing his Second District constituents have come to expect of Snyder — opposition to injustice, compassion for the underprivileged — and they value him for it, too much so to be distracted by the irrelevancies his opponents have historically tried to use against him. One of this year’s would-be congressmen has accused Snyder of being born outside Arkansas. It happens to be true — though Snyder has lived and worked in Arkansas for many years — but it’s weak material to build a campaign on.

Resisting reform

Another organization has been formed to protect rural school districts in Arkansas. What’s needed is an organization to protect rural schoolchildren.

Ron Crawford, a businessman, is the spokesman for the Rural Education Preservation Alliance, apparently an outgrowth of an earlier group that was trying to keep tiny Paron High School in Saline County from having to comply with recently enacted education reforms requiring higher standards in the public schools. Thus far, efforts to exempt Paron High from the law have been unsuccessful. Should Paron succeed, small schools all over the state would want the same exemption, of course — a damaging blow to the long-delayed improvement of Arkansas schools.

Crawford says he isn’t politically motivated, but suspicion remains. The sponsor of a bill to save Paron — defeated in the recent special legislative session — was Rep. Jeremy Hutchinson, who happens to be the nephew of Asa Hutchinson, the Republican candidate for governor. And Asa sounds as though he finds the political pickings at Paron pretty promising. Paron is just “the tip of the iceberg,” Asa says; “You can’t have a one-size-fits-all approach.” Hutchinson’s opponent, Attorney General Mike Beebe, a Democrat, supports the education reform movement and opposed the Paron bill. Crawford criticized Beebe, but made no mention of Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee or his state Education Department. Their positions on Paron are the same as Beebe’s. Was this an oversight?



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

  • Architecture lecture: Sheila Kennedy on "soft" design

    Sheila Kennedy, a professor of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founder of Kennedy & Violich Architecture Ltd., will give the June Freeman lecture tonight at the Arkansas Arts Center, part of the Architecture + Design Network series at the Arkansas Arts Center.
  • Petition calls for Jason Rapert Sewage Tanks in Conway

    A tribute is proposed for Conway's state senator Jason Rapert: naming the city's sewage sludge tanks for him. Petitioners see a similarity.
  • Health agency socked with big verdict, Sen. Hutchinson faulted for legal work

    A former mental health agency director has won a default judgment worth $358,000 over a claim for unpaid retirement pay and Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson is apparently to blame for failure to respond to pleadings in the case.
  • Religious right group calls for compromise on damage lawsuit amendment

    The Family Council, the religious right political lobby, has issued a statement urging its followers to oppose the so-called tort reform amendment to limit attorney fees and awards in damage lawsuits.
  • Constituents go Cotton pickin' at Springdale town hall

    Sen. Tom Cotton, cordial to a fault, appeared before a capacity crowd at the 2,200 seat Pat Walker Performing Arts Center at Springdale High tonight to a mixed chorus of clapping and boos. Other than polite applause when he introduced his mom and dad and a still moment as he led the crowd in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance — his night didn't get much better from there.

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

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Historical entertainment planned for joint celebration of three Southwest Arkansas milestone anniversaries

Event Calendar

« »


  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  

Most Viewed

  • Arkansas voters know what they want

    With a surprisingly strong vote, 53 percent of Arkansas's voters said last Nov. 8 that they wanted to bring medical marijuana to the state.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Arkansas voters know what they want

    • It is inappropriate for disgruntled legislators to take revenge upon the citizens of the state…

    • on February 25, 2017
  • Re: Future is female

    • When I try to be pithy I probably come across like an asshole, but there…

    • on February 25, 2017
  • Re: Hating the media

    • Yup, as Jefferson said "Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper"…

    • on February 25, 2017

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