Legislature meets, eats, leaves | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Legislature meets, eats, leaves

Posted By on Thu, Feb 5, 2015 at 7:36 AM


Amendment 94,
approved by voters in November, ended free eating and drinking on the lobby for legislators. Supposedly. But it didn't. In an interpretation as yet untested by the toothless Ethics Commission, the legislature has interpreted the rule to open the door to unlimited freebies as long as enough legislators are invited.

Noted: This unilateral voiding of the gift rule probably means the legislators can now safely eat the biggest lobsters and enjoy the priciest wines without fear of the old $100 limit on giveaways. When you eat at Arthur's Prime, you can hit that $100 per person without much heavy fork and glass lifting.

Events slow on Thursday, because the legislature is still mostly in four-day workweek posture (though drawing per diem as if they are meeting five). Nonetheless, freebies are on offer:

BREAKFAST: 6:30-8:30 a.m., Capitol Hill Building, Coalition for Tobacco Free Arkansas.

LUNCH: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Arkansas Flood Plain Management Association.

LUNCH: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., the daily "scheduled activity" of the nursing home lobby, the Arkansas Health Care Association.

Farming is hard work, short weeks notwithstanding, and there are not one  but two "planned activities" for a smaller group of legislators dear to the gri lobby — the House Agriculture Committee.

The University of Agriculture Division will feed this group lunch at noon at the Arkansas Poultry Federation headquarters and the Arkansas Farm Bureau will feed them beverages and drinks at a 6:30 p.m. dinner at Cajun's Wharf.

Since this is a scheduled activity of a full House committee I'd think a citizen with an interest in shaping of agriculture law would be welcome to joint the activities. I wouldn't expect a free meal if you are not a legislator.

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