Fine dining tonight at the legislature | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fine dining tonight at the legislature

Posted By on Wed, Feb 4, 2015 at 7:02 AM

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Wednesday is typically a lighter day legislatively, but it doesn't mean the lawmakers don't work up a hunger. And lobbyists will be on hand to feed and lubricate them for free, despite Amendment 94, which nominally prohibited freebies for legislators except at "scheduled activities." The legislature has interpreted that to mean breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktail hour.

Today's feedings:

BREAKFAST — 7:30-9 a.m., Capitol Hill Building, Arkansas Campaign for Grade-level Reading.

LUNCH — 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Capitol Square Apartments #13, the nearly daily feeding by the nursing home lobby, otherwise known as the Arkansas Health Care Association.

RECEPTION — 4-6 p.m., Capitol Square Apartments #13, the nearly daily cocktail party by the same nursing home lobbyists above.

RECEPTION — 5:30-7:30 p.m., Capitol Hill Building, Winrock International and Innovate Arkansas.

DINNER — 6-10 p.m., Bevis Farm, "country caucus" sponsored by Arkansas N.A.H.R.O, the organization of local housing authorities. I presume "country caucus" extends to all legislators, not just country legislators, because there is no official government body by that name and this wouldn't qualify for a small group "scheduled activity."

DINNER — 6 p.m., Arthur's Prime Steakhouse, Cranford and Associates. This is one of those small group scheduled activities, where the lobbyists will focus on the Senate Public Health Committee. Cranford's clients include mental health and drug abuse treatment facilities.

DINNER — 6:30 p.m., Sonny Williams Steakhouse, Impact Management and Bipartisan Strategies. Another small group event, this one for Senate Judiciary. Impact's many clients include the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber arm aimed at "legal reform." Making it hard to sue corporations, in other words. Bi-Partisan Strategies is a small lobbying outfit that includes former legislator Marvin Parks.

UPDATE: A normally friendly lobbyist reacted coolly to my idea that meetings of Senate committees should be open to the public. They are scheduled activities after all. Any good government group have an interest in sending attendees to all scheduled activities such as the two above. Surely the public would be welcome. What would there be to hide?


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