Attorney general candidate Nate Steel outlines legislative agenda | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Attorney general candidate Nate Steel outlines legislative agenda

Posted By on Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 10:45 AM

click to enlarge TOUGH ON CRIME: The attorney general isn't a prosecutor. But you might think otherwise from candidate Nate Steel's campaign photo and his crime-fighting heavy legislative agenda.
  • TOUGH ON CRIME: The attorney general isn't a prosecutor. But you might think otherwise from candidate Nate Steel's campaign photo and his crime-fighting heavy legislative agenda.

Does a candidate for attorney general need a legislative package? Democrat Nate Steel says yes, though his Republican opponent Leslie Rutledge hasn't chosen that route beyond her vow to fight the federal government on everything, no matter how many frivolous court filings that might entail.

Here's Steel's extensive list of ideas

It's heavy on crime fighting and plays what's become a popular card with candidates — sex crimes, particularly those against children.

He'd end parole for sex offenders and brand their driver's licenses, for example. He promises to figure out a way to better collect past-due child support; to support alternatives to prison for drug offenders; to improve access to criminal and parole data; to work for veterans and to help business by such means as fighting cyber crime and "frivolous" patent lawsuits. He again pledges to limit outside contracts with law firms that have won some big paydays for themselves by representing the state on class action litigation.

He didn't promise to fight for guns, moms, apple pies and baseball, but you know Nate Steel is the kind of guy unafraid to do so. (Come to think of it, how'd he overlook the gun card? Why didn't he add to his agenda clarifying the open carry question that he helped screw up as a member of the legislature?)

The attorney general represents the state on all criminal appeals and also serves as the legal counsel for the various state agencies. 

If Steel wanted to talk about transparency, he could begin by opening the office's working papers to public inspection. If he wanted to prove his vigor, he'd announce that he'd declare legislative proposals unconstitutional when he sees it. He'd vow not to defend transparently unconstitutional laws. He'd promise never to trade his silence for legislative support of a fat a.g. staff with a growing law enforcement component and he'd end the practice of poaching from legal settlements for a personal attorney general slush fund.

I can dream, can't I?

UPDATE: Opponent Rutledge responded to KUAR:

“I will be working hand in hand with the legislature to look at their proposals to see where…we’ll have attorneys on staff to see where there may be confusion in the law, cut back on any ambiguity in the law to make sure it’s written as intended. That’s the role of the attorney general to enforce and defend. The role of the attorney general is not to stand in the place of the legislators,” said Rutledge

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