Former legislator says NO to Amendment 1 | Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 24, 2014

Former legislator says NO to Amendment 1

Posted By on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 10:10 AM

PAT FLANAGIN: I agree with his view on Amendment 1.
  • PAT FLANAGIN: I agree with his view on Amendment 1.
Former state Rep. Pat Flanagin of Forrest City sent me a note this morning with criticism of the legislature's proposed constitutional Amendment 1 on the Nov. 4 ballot.  It would give absolute power to legislative committees to approve or reject state agency administrative rules before they take effect. Flanagin agrees with me that this is a terrible idea — yet another legislative incursion on an already-weak executive branch.

He writes:

Anyone talking about this? I've been out of state and just took notice. This proposed change to the Constitution would allow for a small interim committee to not only thwart the people's will but that of the General Assembly and Governor.

Suppose the Senate and House Public Health Committees study and hold hearings on an environmental protection proposal, for instance, prior to and during a session. The Bill is agreed to, passed, and signed into law. The hypothetical Act provides that necessary regulations be promulgated by ADEQ to implement the act.

Two or three months later, after adjournment, implementation of the act can be nullified or the act's intent could be changed by an interim committee on rules and regulations which may not even include members who served on the Public Health Committees that developed the legislation.

I worked with others in the early 90s to lessen the powers of Legislative Council Committees to obstruct legislative intent of enactments by intimidation of state agencies in this review process. Amendment 1 not only provides for a review but for establishing the power of an interim committee to APPROVE OR NOT APPROVE regulations necessary for implementing a law.

This is not good democracy!

Since he brought one issue up and many have asked my opinion as early voting has begun: The safest votes are NO to all three amendments proposed by the legislature — the legislature's power grab, a measure to make it harder for the people to put ballot initiatives to a vote (Oaklawn and the corporate lobby back this idea) and the bastardized "ethics" proposal meant to allow greedheads to serve longer in the legislature and get paid more. Vote YES for the increase in the minimum wage and to allow the sale of alcohol statewide.

PS — Does the legislature's power grab on rulemaking open the door to the legislature taking over hunting, fishing, highway and higher education stuff? Don't you think they'll try?

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