Legislators can chill out with lots of free meals today, including a newly declared special group | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Legislators can chill out with lots of free meals today, including a newly declared special group

Posted By on Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 7:09 AM

unnamed-1.jpg

Ice or no ice — and you may be sure the secretary of state has whisked the last drop of it away from drives and walks encircling the Capitol — the swill must go through.

Yes, free meals and drinks resume today for the legislature, despite the Amendment 94 ban on lobbyist freebies. It's under a ruse by which "scheduled activities" are declared — they may conflict, they may include no program, they may be nothing more than an open bottle of booze — to evade the risible new "ethics" amendment voters adopted in November. It also extended term limits and is about to give starving lawmakers a huge pay raise on top of per diem undiminished by free meals or days not actually at work.

Hog slops today:

BREAKFAST: 7:30 a.m.-9 a.m., Capitol Hill Bu9ilding, Arkansas Cancer Coalition.

LUNCH: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Capitol Hill Building, Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.

LUNCH: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Capitol Square Apartments, #13, Arkansas Health Care Association (nursing home lobby, Michael Morton's playpen).

LUNCH: 11:30 a.m., Association of Arkansas Counties Building, Third District Caucus legislators, hosted by Northwest Arkansas Chambers of Commerce. (I've asked the Ethics Commission and House Speaker Jeremy Gillam if someone has now decreed a congressional district caucus an official governmental body for purposes of evading the no-hog-slop rule in Amendment 94.) The exemption applies to a "specific governmental body." A district caucus has what governmental powers?

COCKTAILS: 4-6:30 p.m., Next Level Events, NWA Night Out hosted by the Northwest Arkansas Chambers of Commerce (many of the chambers are recipients of local tax dollars in the name of economic development/legislative hog slopping)

COCKTAILS: 5-7 p.m., Capitol Square Apartments, #4, CHOO CHOO ROOM. This is a lobbyist-run standing cocktail hour for clients including

Arkansas Automobile Dealers Association
Arkansas Hospital Association
Arkansas Medical Society
Arkansas Pharmacists Association
Arkansas Podiatric Medical Association
Arkansas State Dental Association
Independent Insurance Agents of Arkansas
Pfizer, Inc.
Arkansas Community Colleges

And, of course, the special meetings of smaller groups will resume, another more particular and cozier end-run around Amendment 94.

DINNER: At last report, the location was to be determined. But Phillips Management and Consulting Services will being picking up the tab tonight for the Senate and House Insurance and Commerce Committees. Among their clients: County Judges Association of Arkansas, Arkansas Municipal Power Association, RehabNEt, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Arkansas Heart Hospital, Arkansas Physical Therapy Association, Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association, Arkansas Association of Insurance Companies, EngagePoint, Forest Park Medical,  Teradata, QualChoice, Inspirations Day Treatment, Arkansans for Tobacco Free Alternatives.

UPDATE: The Phillips boys will be dining at Brave New Restaurant.

ALERT—ALERT—ALERT: I'm informed the weather has forced cancellation of the dinner. But be of good cheer, one dinner remains on the calendar:

DINNER: 6:30 p.m., Bravo!, Stephens Investments Holding will be feting the eight members of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee.

Don't know if Stephens Production or Southwest Energy still managed to have their Copper Grill soiree last night for the House Agriculture and Economic Development Committee. It didn't appear on the schedule I had yesterday.

Again: These are all official scheduled activities of public bodies who's meetings are required to be open by Constitution and chamber rules. If they were not official activities, lobbyists couldn't be buying the food and drinks for them, otherwise prohibited by new Amendment 94. So feel free to drop by. I'll try to get an update on those insurance committees. They won't be eating at Franke's or Subway, I'm reasonably sure.

UPDATE: Attorney David Couch reminds me of the column I wrote when Amendment 94 was "improved" by Republican legislators to add freebies, more pay and longer terms in office. That criticism narrowed an original effort to open feeding to "identifiable groups" to a specific governmental body. He believes, as I do, that a caucus of the legislature — black, white, Republican, Third District — is not a specific governmental body. No word yet from House Speaker Gillam or Ethics Commission.

UPDATE II: House Speaker Gillam says the entire House is invited to the NWA lunch, not just the Third District Caucus, as the printed calendar on the Senate webpage indicates.

Tags: , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Open line and Civil War update

    More Confederacy defenders were on hand in Bentonville against imagined threats to a one of hte Confederate statues put up long after the Civil War to spin a narrative about the noble Lost Cause.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • Three dead in WLR

    Three dead in suspected double murder-suicide in West Little Rock.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • One dead in shooting at Buffalo National River

    KTHV reports a man was fatally shot Saturday at the Buffalo National River in Searcy County in what is being called an officer-involved shooting. No other details at the moment.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Al Gore remembers Dale Bumpers

    Former Vice President Al Gore, a former U.S. Senate colleague of Dale Bumpers, sent a statement on Bumpers' death Friday:
    • Jan 3, 2016
  • Baseball fans have a new place to stay

    If you missed out on Razorback baseball home games this year because you couldn’t find a great place to stay, your problem is now solved: Staybridge Suites of Fayetteville is now fully renovated and located directly across from Baum Stadium, with free parking for hotel guests.
    • May 22, 2017
  • Jason Rapert vs. Wikipedia

    Sen. Jason Rapert against the world: Wikipedia edition.
    • Jan 23, 2016

Most Shared

  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.
  • Lynchings hidden in the history of the Hot Springs Confederate monument

    Hot Springs twice erupted into the kind of violence that has its roots in the issues left unresolved by the Civil War, and both times, it happened right where that monument to Confederate soldiers stands today.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Open line and Civil War update

    • "20 or so CSA irrregulars mustered to protect the Confederate statue on the town square…

    • on August 20, 2017
  • Re: Open line and Civil War update

    • Gary, don't forget the sore, bruised, and lacerated knuckles.

    • on August 20, 2017
  • Re: Open line and Civil War update

    • Boy, gofer you have convoluted things for everybody with attributions that are not true, unless…

    • on August 20, 2017

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation