Fact-checking Mark Darr | Arkansas Blog

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fact-checking Mark Darr

Posted By on Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 7:09 PM

NEEDS SENATE RULE BOOK: Senate presiding officer Mark Darr.
  • NEEDS SENATE RULE BOOK: Senate presiding officer Mark Darr.
I mentioned Lt. Gov. Mark Darr's blather about partisanship on the open line, but really didn't give the boilerplate much attention. A reader objects and notes that he should at least be held to accuracy on representations about the body — the state Senate — that he nominally leads.

Darr wrote:

Currently in the Arkansas Senate, Democrat senators get to choose their committee preferences first before a single Republican gets to choose the committees on which they wish to serve, regardless of seniority. We’ve seen over the years that when a majority is too comfortable in government, things like transparency and accountability weaken.

I knew better than to let this pass by. Committees in the Senate are selected by seniority, not by party. The most senior senator gets first pick and picks alternate by seniority. First up in the current session of the General Assembly was, in fact, Republican Sen. Ruth Whitaker. As the critic noted:

This ignorance on Darr’s part is especially concerning, when you consider that he is president of the Senate, and presumably ought to know its rules.

Yes, Republicans are so downtrodden in the Senate that a Republican, Sen. Gilbert Baker, was named Senate co-chair of the powerful Joint Budget Committee. Mention of Baker inevitably recalls when he led a rump group of Republicans and other Democrats to block the ascension of a Republican, Dave Bisbee, to be Senate president pro tem.

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