Does snow day mean no freebies? Attend and see. | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Does snow day mean no freebies? Attend and see.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 7:27 AM


Amendment 94 banned lobbyist wining and dining of legislators. But call a cocktail party a "scheduled activity" of the legislature and the free drinks keep pouring, thanks to a hands-off approach from the Arkansas So-Called Ethics Commission.

Here's today's freebie calendar, subject to change on account of weather. (Is it a scheduled activity to provide a 4WD or vehicle with snow chains to deliver a legislator to the hog trough and to deliver him or her back to their state-subsidized lodging?)

BREAKFAST: 8-9:30 a.m., 501 Woodlane, Suite 105, Arkansas Energy Forum (a lobby promoting fracking for gas in the Fayetteville shale.)

LUNCH: 11:30-1 p.m., Capitol Hill Building, Arkansas Association of Continuing Adult Education.

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

RECEPTION: 5-7 p.m., Curran Hall, 615 W. Capitol, Historic Preservation Alliance and Quapaw Quarter Association.

RECEPTION (DAILY COCKTAIL PARTY): 5-7 p.m., Capitol Square Apt., #4, "Choo Choo Room." Lobbyists for:

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

The Senate schedule notes that the 30th annual meeting of the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, with reception, dinner and program (Gov. Asa Hutchinson to speak) is at 5:15 p.m. today at Verizon Arena. But it also notes that tickets are $75. Surely they don't expect an Arkansas legislator to pay for dinner? Certainly not members of select committees scheduled to get free fine dining at leading restaurants tonight.

Remember a legislative committee may decree a "scheduled activity" for purposes of getting free eats and drinks from special interests, despite Amendment 94. Today's "scheduled actives:

LUNCH: Noonish, Doe's Eat Place, by the Arkansas Cable Telecommunications Association for the House Education Committee. (Didn't I read about some competition for carrying Internet to schools?)

DINNER: 6:30 p.m., Brave New Restaurant, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield for the House Public Health Committee.

DINNER: 6 p.m., Riverfront Steakhouse, Arkansas Insurance Coalition for the Senate Insurance and Commerce Committee.

DINNER: 6 p.m., Arthur's Prime Steak House, lobbyist Joe Bell for the Senate State Agencies Committee. Bell's clients: Darren O'Quinn, Arkansas Railroad Association, Reynolds American tobacco.

All meetings of the Arkansas General Assembly and its committees are open to the public, by Constitution and chamber rules.

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