Tuesday's open line. Plus, a sip of wine; a touch of judicial retirement; a bit of self interest; a new abortion limit | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tuesday's open line. Plus, a sip of wine; a touch of judicial retirement; a bit of self interest; a new abortion limit

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2015 at 6:20 PM


Here's the open line. Plus some legislative notes:

* NO WINE BEFORE ITS TIME: Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson couldn't muster the votes today for Senate committee approval of a bill that would allow supermarkets to expand wine offerings from Arkansas and small-batch wineries in other states. He said it would be amended to sweeten a state subsidy for Arkansas wineries and grape growers that would be paid by an enhanced fee on supermarkets expanding their offerings. He'll try again. But the House remains as a big obstacle to greater wine choice in grocery stores. A loss for consumers.

* JUDICIAL RETIREMENT: Rep. Matthew Shepherd fell just short of the 51 votes he needed for a bill that would allow judges to stay on the bench longer without losing retirement benefits. They now must retire at the end of a term in which they turn 70, or lose retirement benefits. His bill would up the age to 72. He said the bill would help keep qualified people on the bench. It also would help an unnamed judge in his district who doesn't want to retire. It apparently won't help Chief Justice Jim Hannah of the Arkansas Supreme Court, who'd like to run again in 2016. He'll turn 72 just a few days before the start of a new term, were he to run again. He could serve, but he couldn't receive retirement benefits. the vote was 49-21.

* SELF INTEREST I: BILLBOARD TAX BREAK: The state has long undervalued billboards. The Assessment Coordination Division established a guide based on practices in other states, including Oklahoma, to take cost and location into account. This will produce tax increases for billboard owners, who include Sen. Bart Hester, the primary sponsor of the bill to override the agency. It zipped through the Senate and today passed the House . Rep. John Walker noted that the bill's effort to to limit assessments to cost  could have a devastating impact elsewhere in taxation. For example: Two houses with identical costs to build have a value quite different in different parts of town. "It's just not fair to use a cost method by itself," Walker said. "There's no reason for this little piece of property to be treated differently than other property." He said he figured his opposition would assure passage, but he said hoped the legislature would think about passing bills every time two or three representatives came up with an argument to do something that benefited them. The bill passed 67-6.

* SELF INTEREST II: DOLLARS FOR RAPERT: The House voted 52-10 to pass a bill arising from Sen. Jason Rapert to override the state fire code to allow a door-locking device sold by a company in which he, former Republican Rep. Ted Thomas and a Republican JP from Faulkner County are investors. The State Fire marshal testified that the device is unsafe because it would be hard to remove in a time of panic. There are safer devices, but more expensive, by which school doors can be locked in the case of an active shooter. The bill makes the device more salable in thousands of school rooms across Arkansas.

* ANOTHER ANTIABORTION BILL: Senate completed action on legislation  to override common medical practice and require Arkansas doctors to follow outdated guidelines on use of RU-486, which is given to women in the first eight weeks of pregnancy to induce a miscarriage. Doctors today use a lower, safer dosage than required in FDA guidelines first issued 20 years ago. The guidelines also complicate the protocol for giving the pill to a patient. The bill is intended to limit and eventually end the use of the pill to induce abortions. It is now used more commonly than surgical abortion. Courts are split on whether this amounts to an undue restriction on abortion rights.

Tags: , , , , ,


Favorite

Comments (26)

Showing 1-26 of 26

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-26 of 26

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Jerry Dhonau, former Gazette editorial page editor, dies at 83

    Jerry Dhonau, a retired newspaperman whose career included reporting on the Little Rock school crisis and being editorial page editor of the Arkansas Gazette when it closed in 1991, has died. Ernest Dumas provides his colleague’s obituary.
    • Aug 18, 2018
  • DHS confirms it's withholding personnel records on Leslie Rutledge

    Chris Burks, the lawyer in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking personnel records of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge when she was a staff lawyer at the Department of Human Services, says DHS confirms the existence of records that have not been released in previous examinations of her record there.
    • Aug 18, 2018
  • Death reported in Malvern prison

    The Correction Department is reporting what it calls an apparent suicide Thursday evening in the Ouachita River Correction unit in Malvern.
    • Aug 18, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017
  • The LR chamber does the public's business. Is it accountable? Blue Hog on the case.

    Matt Campbell, lawyer and Blue Hog Report blogger, has sent a Freedom of Information Act request to Jay Chessir, director of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Mayor Mark Stodola related to the publicity stunt yesterday  built around withdrawing from the mayor's rash pronouncement that the city would seek an Amazon HQ2 project even though the city  didn't meet the company's criteria.
    • Oct 20, 2017
  • Free Zinn book for Arkansas teachers

    Arkansas teachers! Get your free Howard Zinn book here! Whether Kim Hendren likes it or not.
    • Mar 3, 2017

Most Viewed

  • An open line

    Tell us something.
  • How charter schools and Asa Hutchinson's policies are hurting education everywhere in Arkansas

    Here's a new voice writing about the damage being done to Arkansas education by the charter school movement and the Hutchinson administration's waiver of school standards.
  • The Family Council vs. Issue 1

    Here's a storyline to watch: The Family Council, the conservative Christian group that's long fought against same-sex marriage and abortion rights, has come out heavy against Issue 1, the so-called "tort reform" ballot proposal that would limit damage awards in lawsuits. The messaging battle over Issue 1 has long been seen as one that pitted the deep pockets of the state Chamber of Commerce and big business in the state against the deep pockets of trial lawyers. Could the Family Council's truck with evangelicals tip the scales?

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: An open line

    • 1958 we had a group of student from Turkey and they were hostile to Any…

    • on August 18, 2018
  • Re: An open line

    • My roommate and fellow history student told me about the Turks he fought with in…

    • on August 18, 2018
  • Re: An open line

    • There weren't a whole of lot of Turkish fighters in the Korean War, but there…

    • on August 18, 2018

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation