Legislators have smooth path to freebies today | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Legislators have smooth path to freebies today

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 7:40 AM

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Phew. No snow or ice. No worries about slipping and falling before or after legislators make their way to free food and grub provided by lobbyists despite Amendment 94's ban on freebies.

The legislature has declared an open bar invitation is a "scheduled activity" and exempt from Amendment 94. No Ethics Commission or court has said so, but who needs them?

Today's sloppings:

BREAKFAST: 7-8:30 a.m., Capitol Hill Apts. dining area, Arkansas Nurses Association.

LUNCH: 11:30-1 p.m., Capitol Hill Building, Arkansas Cable Telecommunications Association.

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

And then there are dining opportunities for select committees, also deemed "scheduled activities" for purposes of free slop.

LUNCH: 11:30-1 p.m., Brave New Restaurant, House Transportation Committee by, get this, "concrete entities."

I have a question pending about just who "concrete entities" are that are holding this Transportation Committee factory feeding. Related to the highway contractors, no doubt, who have been lobbying the committee — successfully — to raid general revenues to pay for highway construction projects.

Scheduled activity my pothole.

UPDATE: The House provides the sponsors of this feed: Arkansas Ready Mixed Concrete Association; 
Oklahoma/Arkansas American Concrete Paving Association; Portland Cement Association, South Central Region.


DRINKS AND FEED: 6 p.m., Samantha's Wood Fired Grill, House State Agencies committee by Mullenix Associates. That lobby group's clients:

Altria Client Services Inc. and its Affiliates
Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield
Arkansas Realtors Association
Cisco Systems, Inc.
Express Scripts, Inc
Insurance Auto Auctions
Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP
LeBonheur Children's Medical Center
McDonald's Corporation
MCNA Health Care Holdings LLC
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
Oaklawn Jockey Club
Property Casualty Insurance Associaton of America
Plains Pipeline, L.P.
Rural AR Telephone Systems
Rave Mobile Safety
SAP Public Services, Inc
Stephens Group
Stephens Production Company
Superior Senior Care
Unisyn Voting Solutions
Wilson & Associates PLLC
Arkansas Judicial Council

Big River Steel

These meetings are open to public by law.

Legislators who partake will not suffer a reduction in the per diem they draw — nominally for expense reimbursement — during the legislative sessions, including for many days they don't meet. Good news for them too: They are barely more than a week away from a 150 percent pay raise, against courtesy of Amendment 94, the "ethics amendment."

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