Lamoureux's midnight judge bill | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lamoureux's midnight judge bill

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 6:19 AM

There's more last-minute legislative shenanigans than you can shake a stick at, but here's one. Sen. Michael Lamoureux is flying under cover of chaos to win approval of a new state judgeship in the fifth judicial circuit, which includes his hometown of Russellville. Caseloads don't show the district needs an additional judge (nine circuits have higher caseloads). The Judicial Council opposes the bill. The county judges (Franklin, Johnson, Pope) who'll have to pay to staff the court oppose the bill. It was defeated and considered dead, but — mirabile dictu — reconsidered in the Senate at 10 p.m. last night, passed and heads to a House committee this morning.

Is Lamoureux, a lawyer, creating a future job opening for himself?

Even if he's not, can a state struggling to make ends meet — one that's about to take a $95 million lick from his party's decision to shut down the state Insurance Department rather than follow federal law — really afford a new judgeship in a district with a low caseload? I thought Republicans were supposed to be penny-pinchers.

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