Soup's on: Today's freebies for the legislature include House committee soirees | Arkansas Blog

Monday, February 9, 2015

Soup's on: Today's freebies for the legislature include House committee soirees

Posted By on Mon, Feb 9, 2015 at 7:00 AM


Free meals continue today for the legislature despite Amendment 94's ban on gifts to legislators. Light schedule, but Monday is typically a slow day at the legislature.

LUNCH: 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Capitol Hill Building, Arkansas State Independent Living Council and Partners.

(Sponsors note this is a do-good group without the means to hold daily cocktail parties, such as the nursing home lobby does. It's an opportunity for them to push their community first choice option program to encourage help for community living support for people with disabilities. Lunch will follow a news conference about the 3,000 people on a waiting list for such services.)

RECEPTION: 5-6:30 p.m., Association of Counties Building, County Judges Association. (Do the county judges pony up personal money for this lobbying effort?)

PIZZA, PRAYER AND DEVOTIONAL: 6-7:30 p.m., Room 19 Capitol Basement, Capitol Commission, a group that promotes religion in public life.

Oh, and yes, there's one of those "scheduled activities" for a select group of legislators.

DINNER: 6:30 p.m., Capitol Hotel, it's for the House Revenue and Taxation Committee. Since it is an official scheduled activity of this committee, I would think the public is welcome to attend and observe the proceeding, if not to get the free food and drinks that will be served up by the host, Stephens Investment Holding.

And then, on the House events list, there's this:

RECEPTION: 5-8 p.m., Capitol Square Apartments, #4, "Choo-Choo Room." No other details are given. The Choo Choo Room was once the name known as the floating cocktail party operated by the Union Pacific railroad lobbyists. Perhaps still. Since the whole legislature is invited — otherwise it would be an illegal giving of swill to legislators — feel free as a member of the public to drop by and watch your legislature at work. Let me know who's hosting.

Note: Some legislators will be unavailable, attending basketball practice for a coming legislative charity basketball game at the same time.


Add another "scheduled activity" to the schedule, courtesy of mega-lobbyist Bruce Hawkins and his DBH Management Consultants.

DINNER: 6 p.m., So (upscale restaurant in Hillcrest). This is for the 20 members of the House Rules Committee. Among other things, booze-related legislation comes out of this committee. Hawkins was a key player in the Conway County booze dealers' successful fight against a local option alcohol initiative in neighboring Faulkner county. The public is surely welcome to see this committee at work. There's valet parking at So. Just pull up to the front door on Kavanaugh.


And here's a late arrival. If you're interested in Agriculture, the House Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development committee will gather for:

DINNER: 6 p.m., Copper Grill. Picking up the tab, Southwest Energy and Stephens Production.

Gas companies often have interests before this committee.

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