Saturday, June 22, 2013

Arkansas's two-branch government

Posted By on Sat, Jun 22, 2013 at 6:36 AM

CUSTODIAN: Legislature erodes Gov. Mike Beebes power.
  • CUSTODIAN: Legislature erodes Gov. Mike Beebe's power.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported the outline this morning of how the Republican-majority legislature's vendetta against Planned Parenthood will play out in the case of a tiny contract for workers to help people sign up for expanded health coverage provided by Obamacare.

Here's how it looks like it will go: Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford will, properly, recommend Planned Parenthood's proposal to hire seven workers to "navigate" people through the process of getting health coverage. The organization promises that none of the money will go to the abortion services that are among its wide range of health services. The contract will be submitted to the a Republican-controlled legislative "review" committee. The committee will express disapproval because legislators want to put Planned Parenthood out of business over abortion. Gov. Mike Beebe will bow to the unconstitutional wishes of the committee majority and instruct Bradford not to attempt to go forward with the contract.

Will Planned Parenthood file a can't-lose lawsuit over this clear case of viewpoint discrimination? Perhaps not, in trade for the fact that the legislative review panel didn't veto a small HIV-education grant that passed through Friday. (PS: Survival of that grant is less significant than it might appear. It would have been extraordinary for an interim committee to overturn action of the regular legislature, which beat an effort to strip that contract from Planned Parenthood in a House committee.)

Camp followers of the Republican bullies who have set out to deprive Planned Parenthood of equal citizenship rights will argue that this is the proper course. Otherwise, they'll say, offended Republicans might undo the Obamacare plan to the detriment of tens of thousands of Arkansas citizens. The sycophants of Rep. John Burris and Sen. David Sanders, who are now in charge of state government, say it would be Planned Parenthood's fault if Republicans reneged on health care expansion.

"You made me shoot you," is not a valid defense to a homicide charge.

So this particular skirmish may be done. But the larger issue isn't. It's about nothing less than the future of three-branch government.

With surrender, Gov. Mike Beebe hastens the demolition of the executive branch of government. That was already the case in the session, given how easy it is to sustain a veto override under the Arkansas Constitution. But now, every executive action can be thwarted by threat-wielding bullies in interim committee action.

The legislature, by the way, has plans in the works to complete the end of executive power in law as well as practice with a proposed constitutional amendment that turns the existing review process into an actual legislative approval process. In theory, review currently means just that — review — though it functions as approval.

If the amendment is adopted, the governor will become a bit player, a custodian. His agencies will operate wholly at the pleasure of the legislature. Planned Parenthood and any other person, group or business held unacceptable to Burris, Sanders, Rapert and Co. will not be allowed to do business with the state. Sooner or later, lawsuits will be filed and lost by the state over such discrimination.

One wonders what the bullies have in mind for the judicial branch.

Tags: , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (16)

Showing 1-16 of 16

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-16 of 16

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The Russian White House

    Washington Post's latest: Jared Kushner may have attempted to arrange secret back channel communications with Russians. He, the attorney general and Mike Flynn all have failed to disclose their Russian contacts.
    • May 26, 2017
  • The weekend's long read: Post-election Hillary

    Rebecca Traister has done a profile for New York on Hillary Clinton's life since the election, included extended interviews, and it is great stuff.
    • May 26, 2017
  • A Memorial Day open line

    Here's the open line. Also, news and comment.
    • May 26, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • 'How to decimate a city' — a big freeway

    Reporting from around the U.S. continues to illustrate the folly of the Arkansas highway department and construction boosters like the chamber of commerce and Vice Mayor Lance Hines in advocating ever wider freeways through the heart of Little Rock. Syracuse, N.Y., is looking for a better way in a debate remarkably similar to the debate about widening Interstate 30 in Little Rock.
    • Nov 20, 2015
  • Super Bowl line

    Over to you.
    • Feb 7, 2016
  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

  • Conspiracy theorists

    Back in 2000, I interviewed Rev. Jerry Falwell on camera in connection with a documentary film of "The Hunting of the President," which Joe Conason and I wrote.
  • The health of a hospital

    The Medicaid expansion helped Baxter County Regional Medical Center survive and thrive, but a federal repeal bill threatens to imperil it and its patients.
  • Virgil, quick come see

    There goes the Robert E. Lee. But the sentiment that built the monument? It's far from gone.
  • Real reform

    Arkansas voters, once perversely skeptical of complicated ballot issues like constitutional amendments, have become almost comical Pollyannas, ratifying the most shocking laws.
  • That modern mercantile: The bARn

    The bARn Mercantile — "the general store for the not so general," its slogan says — will open in the space formerly occupied by Ten Thousand Villages at 301A President Clinton Ave.

Visit Arkansas

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Underutilized waterway is a hidden gem in urban Little Rock

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The 'Jason Rapert Must Go' Suggestion Box Edition

    • "Jason Rapert must go" He hasn't gone yet? Man, no wonder there's so much toxicity…

    • on May 26, 2017
  • Re: A Memorial Day open line

    • "Greg Gianforte is an unusually precocious Republican in that he got arrested even before he…

    • on May 26, 2017
  • Re: A Memorial Day open line

    • "Exclusive: NSA Chief Admits Donald Trump Colluded With Russia. When will Admiral Rogers say publicly…

    • on May 26, 2017

Blogroll

Slideshows

 

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