Open line: Business groups back immigration reform; ASU med school advances; suit filed against NCAA; counting money in Ross-Hutchinson battle | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 17, 2014

Open line: Business groups back immigration reform; ASU med school advances; suit filed against NCAA; counting money in Ross-Hutchinson battle

Posted By on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 4:40 PM

The Monday line is open. Final words:

* A PLUG FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM: The prognosis still seems bleak for congressional passage of meaningful immigration legislation, but important groups keep pushing for it.  Representatives of the Little Rock Chamber, Arkansas Chamber, Economic Development Commission and the Arkansas Farm Bureau have scheduled a press conference Wednesday to talk about labor shortages that slow economic growth. A statewide effort is planned to talk about the impact on local economy.

* ANOTHER MED SCHOOL: Arkansas State University announced today the not-unexpected news that the New York Institute of Technology Board has approved a plan to establish an osteopathic med school at ASU. Arkansas currently has a single med school at UAMS. Now ASU and a group in Fort Smith have plans to establish osteopathic med schools, which also produce doctors certified for general practice. The idea is to meet physician shortages in underserved areas, though no one has yet explained how creating new med school seats will necessarily guarantee where they go to work. UAMS has noted a lack of sufficient residencies to train the current graduating output of the country's med schools.

* NCAA SUED OVER RESTRAINT OF COMPETITION: It will be a long way to the finish, but a lawsuit has been filed against the NCAA and major conferences, including the SEC, over "illegally restraining competition for use of players." Orville Henry always said players should be paid beyond a free ride. As much money as flows now to the colleges — mostly thanks to exorbitant cable TV charges that will get worse under the new SEC deal — you'd think some more could find its way to the gladiators.

* WHO'S GOT THE MONEY?: Republican Asa Hutchinson raised more and spent more than likely Democratic opponent Mike Ross in February, but neither raised as much as the $200,000-plus  Tim Griffin showed in his initial outing. Ross has a $600,000 advantage in cash on hand.

Hutchinson raised $167,261, spent $139,221 and had about $1.3 million cash on hand of about $1.85 million raised. Ross raised $140,558, spent $103,295 in Feburary and had about $1.965 million of the $3.823 million he's raised still on hand. No reports handy on Republican Curtis Coleman or Democrat Lynette Bryant. Bryant just announced, but she spent $3,700 on bus advertising last year that began appearing shortly after she announced. There's no sign she ever filed a report on that expenditure, though a $500 expenditure generally is supposed to trigger campaign filing.

ALSO: Democrat Nate Steel reported about $49,000 in fund-raising for his race for attorney general. That's a good bit more than the $19,000 and $12,000 raised, respectively, by Republicans Leslie Rutledge and David Sterling. His $233,000 cash on hand compares with $124,000 and $106,000

* STATE OF THE CITY: Mayor Mark Stodola pronounced it good today. But we do have a problem with violence. He said everyone needs to pitch in.

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