Favorite

Women's work in the House 

The new Republican majority in Arkansas came with the support of female majorities in some key races.

Democrats had traditionally enjoyed an edge among female voters, partly because of reproductive rights, but also because of progressive school, home and health issues.

Times change. Two Republican women were elected to statewide offices. Female Republicans knocked off some Democratic incumbents in the legislature, propelled by their opposition to expanded health care. The early news on future legislation is equally unprogressive, but enjoys support from Republican women legislators.

Let's begin with a superficial, but symbolic happening.

New legislators had orientation last week. In the House, the dress code is always discussed. It's brief. Men must wear ties on the floor and, when they go to the well of the House to speak, must don jackets. Women are expected to dress in business attire. This year, rising Speaker Jeremy Gillam asked outgoing Republican Rep. Stephanie Malone to give the 20 women of the House an informal session on the dress code.

Was it because a new legislator appeared for orientation, as one told me, dressed for an "evening at a bar"? Malone insists it was just a routine orientation. She told the group that women shouldn't bare arms on the floor (bearing arms is another matter altogether) and avoid clothing cut "too low or too short." Most important, though, was the urging of veteran female members to always don a jacket when speaking in the well. At least one new Republican legislator, Julie Mayberry, objected. She's a former TV announcer. She likes dresses. She thinks her dress appropriate and would prefer not to throw on a jacket, too. Malone put it this way: If women want to be taken as seriously as men, they should wear a jacket, too.

I'd rather judge seriousness of purpose by legislation than outerwear. In that category, trouble is brewing.

Male and female Republicans plan to further marginalize women. Republicans likely will succeed in 2015 with legislation to prevent federal money from flowing to Planned Parenthood to educate teens on avoiding sexually transmitted diseases. Planned Parenthood offers a range of health services, including contraception, but it also provides abortion. Anybody engaging in that legal activity must be punished by the state. Legislators seem likely to make abortion providers provide still more scare information to talk women out of abortions. One female legislator wants to require presence of a doctor when a woman is given an abortion-inducing drug. Abortions can be dangerous, she says. Childbirth can be more dangerous. Perhaps a doctor should be present when women have sex to fully inform them of health risks — not to mention the potential for ungrateful children.

Republican Kansas also tells us where Arkansas may be headed. A giant tax cut in Kansas didn't produce the boom Gov. Sam Brownback envisioned. Now he's having to raid reserves and cut state services to balance the budget.

Gov.-elect Asa Hutchinson is talking of a cumulative $150 million in tax cuts over the next two years. He's not yet gotten behind the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, which has provided health security to a quarter-million Arkansans, including multitudes of children. If he doesn't get behind it — and if some of those new Republican women don't vote for it — its collapse will drain hundreds of millions more from state services.

Kansas is slashing pre-K education. Already beggared in Arkansas, it seems unlikely to get much love from Asa Hutchinson. He has described it as a welfare program, not a vital catch-up for kids most in need.

Early detection of kids' medical problems, primary care for adults and care for the elderly are all on the line in the Medicaid vote. These were once women's issues. But if you want to be treated like a man these days, you have to not only dress like a man, you must vote like one, too.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Speaking of Julie Mayberry, Asa Hutchinson

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
    • Apr 20, 2017
  • Death Row inmates argue to keep stay of execution in place; urge 8th Circuit not to 'rush' analysis

    Early this morning, attorneys for nine Death Row inmates, filed an argument with the 8th United States Court of Appeals contesting the state's effort to override Judge Kristine Baker's order Saturday that halted executions scheduled this month.
    • Apr 17, 2017
  • Federal judge denies execution stay for Don Davis but larger stay continues

    Don Davis, who's been moved to the killing facility of the state prison for killing tonight at 7 p.m. if a stay of execution is lifted in another federal suit, sought a stay in another federal court Sunday, but the request was denied.
    • Apr 17, 2017
  • More »

People who saved…

Readers also liked…

  • Neighborliness, in Little Rock and beyond

    I had a parochial topic in mind this week — a surprise plan by Mayor Mark Stodola to address the Arkansas Arts Center's many needs.
    • Nov 19, 2015
  • Bootstraps for me, not thee

    Mean spirit, hypocrisy and misinformation abound among the rump minority threatening to wreck state government rather than allow passage of the state Medicaid appropriation if it continues to include the Obamacare-funded expansion of health insurance coverage for working poor.
    • Apr 14, 2016
  • Trump: The Obama of 2016?

    Conner Eldridge, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman, launched an assault on Boozman Monday morning rich with irony and opportunity.
    • May 5, 2016

Most Shared

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.
  • Not justice

    The strongest, most enduring calls for the death penalty come from those who feel deeply the moral righteousness of "eye-for-an-eye" justice, or retribution. From the depths of pain and the heights of moral offense comes the cry, "The suffering you cause is the suffering you shall receive!" From the true moral insight that punishment should fit the crime, cool logic concludes, "Killers should be killed." Yet I say: retribution yes; death penalty no.
  • Judge Griffen writes about morality, Christian values and executions

    Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who blogs at Justice is a verb!, sends along a new post this morning.
  • The Ledell Lee execution thread

    Arkansas Times contributor Jacob Rosenberg is at the Cummins Unit in Grady filing dispatches tonight in advance of the expected execution of Ledell Lee, who was sentenced to death for the Feb. 9, 1993, murder of Debra Reese, 26, who was beaten to death in the bedroom of her home in Jacksonville.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
    • Apr 20, 2017
  • The end of democracy in LR

    The state Board of Education was scheduled to talk this week about the Little Rock School District, under state control for two years because six of its 48 schools failed to meet an arbitrary pass rate on a standardized test.
    • Apr 13, 2017
  • Internet looting continues

    The 2017 legislative session concluded without passage of a bill to encourage internet merchants to collect and remit taxes on sales in Arkansas, though internet giant Amazon has begun doing so voluntarily.
    • Apr 6, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Event Calendar

« »

April

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  

Most Viewed

  • Not justice

    The strongest, most enduring calls for the death penalty come from those who feel deeply the moral righteousness of "eye-for-an-eye" justice, or retribution. From the depths of pain and the heights of moral offense comes the cry, "The suffering you cause is the suffering you shall receive!" From the true moral insight that punishment should fit the crime, cool logic concludes, "Killers should be killed." Yet I say: retribution yes; death penalty no.
  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Art bull

    • the nice thing about art is that it is what it is, but what it…

    • on April 22, 2017
  • Re: Executionpalooza

    • Fantastic work-from-home opportunity for everyone... Work for three to five hrs a day and start…

    • on April 21, 2017
  • Re: Erasing humanity

    • Exactly how I feel only written much better than I could.

    • on April 21, 2017
 

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