Simmering down here, boss | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Simmering down here, boss

Posted By on Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 11:38 AM

I got a callback from Gov. Mike Beebe's office about questions related to my early morning rant about a proposal to end a rule prohibiting gifts to ABC staff from the people they regulate.

Short and sweet. The governor does not support repeal of that rule, spokesman Matt DeCample says.

I take that to mean the proposal is going on the scrap heap.

The governor's staff, yes, has been reviewing this and other rule changes proposed by ABC Director Michael Langley, but the fact that they've reached the stage described in the Stephens Media account I linked this morning does not mean they've reached a state of gubernatorial approval in every case, I'm led to believe.

UPDATE: I had a chat with Langley. He says the gift proposal was meant only to cover the occasional pizzas or similar sent over to staff by a grateful constituent for extraordinary work. He said he hadn't considered the other viewpoint. The proposal won't be going forward.

Re other issues; He said he recognized difficult economic times and said the proposed fee increases were starting points for discussion. He said the extended hours he's proposed should help retailers and he also was proposing delaying the implementation of new fees to give restaurants a year with longer hours and to guard against a new expense in a bad business year. Finally, he said he was open to solutions for the small wine wholesalers who complain fees for them are disproportionately high against major wholesalers who have a much greater sales base to spread costs. He said a legislative solution that created a niche for them akin to the small farm wine producers who are able to sell directly to retailers might be a better solution for them than a tiered fee system. Much more on this to come, I'm guessing.

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