Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday night open line: Obamacare, teacher insurance, Mark Martin's fight against FOI

Posted By on Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 3:46 PM

click to enlarge TRUCKIN' In a state where such sentiments are prominently displayed, it's not surprising that release of Obamacare insurance rates -- though much better than expected -- were still greeted by non-stop Tea Party howling. The photographer/reader notes, unkindly, that the driver's Hogs weren't so hot Saturday either. He wondered  if the armed service branch plate belongs to a commissioned officer. Officers are generally expected to give more deference to the chain of command.
  • TRUCKIN' In a state where such sentiments are prominently displayed, it's not surprising that release of Obamacare insurance rates -- though much better than expected -- were still greeted by non-stop Tea Party howling. The photographer/reader notes, unkindly, that the driver's Hogs weren't so hot Saturday either. He wondered if the armed service branch plate belongs to a commissioned officer. Officers are generally expected to give more deference to the chain of command.

The Monday night line is open. Final items:

* CHILD INJURED BY DOG: Faulkner County authorities say a three-year-old boy was seriously injured when his grandfather's pit bull escaped from a chain and attacked the child. The dog was killed by authorities, Fox 16 reported.

* SECRETARY OF STATE MARK MARTIN CONTINUES TO FIGHT FOI REQUEST: Matt Campbell reports that Circuit Judge Tim Fox has refused Secretary of State Mark Martin's request that the judge reconsider his ruling that Martin couldn't hire an outside counsel to defend the office in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The law prohibits Martin from using outside counsel rather than the attorney general without first clearing it with the a.g. Martin didn't. The bigger issue is that Campbell, who writes Blue Hog Report, has made a valid request for information and Martin is flouting the law by not providing all relevant documents. Good government.

* TEACHERS INSURANCE: Gov. Mike Beebe said no deal is done yet on a possible solution to a huge jump in health insurance for Arkansas teachers. He announced a one-month delay, until Nov. 1, for open enrollment for school employee insurance. He said he hoped for a consensus by Oct. 15, time to give the board that oversees employment benefits to plan for a new start date. 

* JOSH HASTINGS TRIAL: UPDATE: Reports from the courthouse are that Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen has completed a jury — 12 (seven women and five men) plus two male alternates — to hear the manslaughter charge agains the former Little Rock cop. The trial will begin Tuesday. I have no word yet on the racial breakdown of the jury, which will consider the case of a white police officer who shot a black youth with a record before a black judge who's sternly warned parties about his intentions to keep racial bias out of the case. UPDATE: There are two black women on the jury. The remaining 10 are all white, five men and five women.

* LITTLE ROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT SEEKS HEARING DELAY: The Little Rock School District has asked for a stay of a scheduled December hearing on whether to end state desegregation payments to the school district. Judge Price Marshall had refused a delay previously. The district wants a delay until it has a ruling from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court on its objection to state approval of open enrollment charter schools in Pulaski County that bleed students from the local school districts. John Walker, representing black families in the lawsuit, joined the request for a stay. Here's the brief.

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