Scheduled activities of the legislature: Open to the public | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Scheduled activities of the legislature: Open to the public

Posted By on Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 10:04 AM

COME ON DOWN: The House Education Committee gets dinner here tonight courtesy of AT&T. The public is welcome. It's the law.
  • COME ON DOWN: The House Education Committee gets dinner here tonight courtesy of AT&T. The public is welcome. It's the law.

A legal friend buttresses my daily mention that the public should feel free to attend the "scheduled activities" at which major lobbies are running roughshod over Amendment 94 by having daily free meals and cocktails paid by special interests, in many cases at hideaway Capitol Hill apartments in which the entire legislature could not fit, even if they wanted to do so.

Should you want to attend, say, the Choo Choo Room daily cocktail party this week or, tonight, the AT&T dinner at Copper Grill, the Blue Cross dinner at Brave New Restaurant, or the tort reform lobbyist dinner at 1620 Savoy, just drop on by. If someone objects, cite:

Article 5 Section 13 of the Constitution:

13. Sessions to be open.
The sessions of each house, and of committees of the whole, shall be open, unless when the
business is such as ought to be kept secret.

The rules of the House and Senate

All committee and subcommittee meetings including but not limited to hearings at which public testimony is to be taken, (normally called “public hearings”) shall be open to the public (Art. 5, Sec. 13) and shall be scheduled at least eighteen (18) hours in  advance ..
.
The rules and Constitution do not specify that you must be fed — only that you must be allowed to attend.

The legislature can vote to meet in secret. Will it do so just to get a free meal?

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