IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR …
BARE-KNUCKLE POLITICS. Cabot Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh announced he’d be a Republican candidate for 1st District Congress, a seat now held by Democrat Marion Berry. Stumbaugh talks tall, an ex-cop in the Tommy Robinson mold.
SEGREGATION. Jacksonville prepared to open separate middle schools for boys and girls, the first same-sex public schools in Arkansas.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK MAYOR PAT HAYS. Voters ratified his proposal to raise the sales tax a penny to build a new baseball park for the Arkansas Travelers downtown. Everybody wins, particularly Little Rock. The team’s saved, downtown gets another attraction, North Little Rock voters pay and War Memorial park land will soon be free for new uses.
IT WAS A BAD WEEK FOR …
PORK. A raft of state pork barrel projects were put on hold after Pulaski Circuit Judge Willard Proctor said Mike Wilson of Jacksonville had a decent chance of winning a lawsuit challenging general improvement fund projects as unconstitutional local legislation.
DWAYNE DOBBINS. The North Little Rock representative resigned his House seat after entering a negotiated plea to a charge that he’d fondled a teen’s breasts. (Dobbins claimed later that he was innocent. The judge should haul him back to court, set the wrist-slap plea deal aside, and set Dobbins for trial.)
GITTING AND GOING. The Git-N-Go convenience store chain pulled out of Altheimer, Grady, Humnoke and Wabbaseka, leaving those communities without gas pumps. The owner cited employee thefts among other cost factors in ending the operations.
LONOKE POLICE CHIEF JAY CAMPBELL. He was suspended amid an investigation of allegations that he used state prisoners to repair his boat and work on a sidewalk to his swimming pool and that a state prisoner housed at the city jail, as the Democrat-Gazette put it, “had sexual contact with a citizen.”
The House completed action today on Sen. Trent Garner's SB 522, intended to discourage "mass picketing," a piece of legislation similar to many being passed by Republicans lawmakers nationwide to tamp down political demonstrations. The vote was 58-22.
Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled today that he had no choice based on a past Arkansas Supreme Court decision but to dismiss a lawsuit by Death Row inmates seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection process.But the judge did so unhappily with sharp criticism of the Arkansas Supreme Court for failing to address critical points raised in the lawsuit.