Circuit clerks get a dose of politics | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Circuit clerks get a dose of politics

Posted By on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 4:43 PM

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State Rep. Micah Neal posted these photos on Twitter Thursday afternoon. Each shows a state elected official or, in the case of Doug Matayo, chief deputy secretary of state, a state employee, speaking at the Holiday Inn at Rogers at a training conference for circuit clerks by the Association of Arkansas Counties.

Neal is a Republican so I'm not surprised he mentioned only Republicans. I understand Democrats were invited to appear and introduced themselves, too.

I think elected officials are not covered by the following state law, as summarized by DF&A:

1. State employees are prohibited from engaging in partisan political activity during the hours they are performing work for, and being paid by an agency of State government. 

But what about Matayo? I've asked the office if he was on the clock today at the meeting and, if so, how that squared with the law. UPDATE: The office says Matayo was on leave Thursday and spoke on his own time.

Thurston, by the way, the other day had to send out a blast e-mail to all state employees apologizing for sending a blast campaign email to all state employees. He said they'd all been mistakenly included by mistake.

Here's more on state law:

The Arkansas Political Practices Act (A.C.A. §§7-1-101-104), as supplemented by Governor's Policy Directive 9, prohibits state employees from devoting time or labor during usual office hours toward the campaign of candidates for office or for nomination to office. The circulation of initiative or referendum petitions during usual office hours or while on duty is also prohibited.

Candidates for office are prohibited from using any office or room furnished at public expense for a political headquarters or for sending out or distributing any letters, circulars, or other campaign literature, and the policy directive prohibits the display of campaign literature in state offices. It is unlawful for any campaign banners, cards, or campaign literature (including bumper stickers) to be placed on any vehicles belonging to the state, and the policy directive extends the prohibition to personal vehicles when being used in the performance of official duties for which reimbursement by the state will be made. In addition to being covered by state law and administrative policy, there are other specific limitations under the Federal Hatch Act that apply to employees whose salaries are either partially or totally paid from federal funds.

Recognized university organizations and departments may invite candidates for public office to speak on campus property or in campus facilities, provided the meeting is limited to members of the campus community and is not promoted to the general public. Should the general public be invited to attend, reasonable equal speaking opportunities must be made available to all other candidates for the same political office, or reasonable equal access should be extended to all other candidates to use the property or facilities. 

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