The Tuesday line | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Tuesday line

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 5:00 PM

The comment line is open. Other stuff:

* COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES. They announced today a "compact" of joint aims. Did they not do these things already? The idea is to present a unified, transparent, cooperative front, I gather. The better to avoid state incursions on autonomy.

*PAY RAISES: Roby Brock reports that working out some pay raises for state employees is one unresolved question in the movement toward legislative adjournment.

* DIESEL TAX: Roby reports it came out of Senate committee today on a voice vote. Sen. Jake Files wasn't there. He's grumping, to cover his backside, that he had amendments. Questions raised by howling Tea Partyers about sufficient votes. Simple. Somebody could have demanded a roll call. That isn't how it's done in the Senate. Republicans control this committee. If they weren't in on the deal to let the bill out, then blame them simply for being stupid and derelict in their duty.

* FAYETTEVILLE TO THE FOURTH: UA prof and former state legislator and Clinton aide Steve Smith says he likes the plan to put Fayetteville in the 4th congressional district.

* CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS: A joint committee is working to come up with the three amendments to be referred to voters. Looks like one will be Sen. Jake Files amendment to allow developers to take state sales taxes from the state at large to subsidize new Walmarts and similar in select locales. Files is another Tea Party Republican looking for a taxpayer handout for private business and the legislature is all too ready to accommodate him. The Republican-sponsored sales tax amendment for freeway construction is also headed to the ballot. The idea to go back to every-two-year-legislative sessions — a cost-cutter and government reduction — is naturally voted down by the Republican-dominated committees. Republican message: More corporate welfare, higher taxes, more government. And that's all she wrote: Senate side kills off Republican Rep. Ann Clemmer's amendment to cripple the lottery and Democratic Rep. Keith Ingram's cost-cutting proposal to eliminate two generally useless statewide offices, lt. gov. and land commissioner.

*CHILD PORN PLEA: Former North Little Rock School Board member Trent Cox pleaded guilty in federal court today to possession of child pornography. He will receive a minimum of 5 years in prison under the plea deal, which must still be considered by the judge.

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