An open line and a dreary legislative report: Secrecy; anti-AEA; pro-freebies; anti-pet; pro-pipeline; anti-Saving Time | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 19, 2015

An open line and a dreary legislative report: Secrecy; anti-AEA; pro-freebies; anti-pet; pro-pipeline; anti-Saving Time

Posted By on Thu, Mar 19, 2015 at 3:37 PM

Here's the open line and video report (completed shortly before the Supreme Court put a halt to Little Rock school hearing).

Yes, the legislature met. The action is nearly uniformly bad. The House Education Committee, with a heavy contingent of Democrats, killed a bill for openness of documents if third parties are engaged to make recommendations on operations of publicly financed schools. Opponents said the Walton Family Foundation might stop giving money to schools. They only give long enough to put charter operators in place to be run with public dollars anyway. House Speaker Jeremy Gillam took a bill out of the Education Committee so it could pass through the friendlier Public Health Committee. It makes it easier to stop paying dues to the Arkansas Education Association. Get it? It passed the House with 60 votes in favor over a strong objection from Rep. John Walker about the bypass of the Education Committee.

And on it went.

A bill to prohibit rehoming of children — as Rep. Justin Harris did (and into the home of a sexual predator) — was up for a vote in the House but delayed on a final vote by addition of a small amendment.

Both House and Senate got out early to get duded up for the invitation only Speakers' Ball and President Pro Tem dinner tonight. The Republican Party of Arkansas declined my request for information about invitees and financial support for the dinner. If it is not a violation of Amendment 94's ban on freebies for legislators, it spits in its face.

Want more heartburn ahead of time?

* PIPELINES: Rep. Warwick Sabin will take HB 1870 to committee tomorrow. It protects private property owners against pipeline companies. Property owners would have to get notice of potential seizure, be paid for damage during surveys, and require an environmental permit. You've undoubtedly read about the various Republican efforts to prevent "takings" through sound zoning or to block a power line that would carry wind energy (opposed by the coal burners). I'm betting those same private property absolutists will find the rights of pipeline builders a whole lot more sacred than the pastures they cross. But maybe I'm wrong.  9 a.m., House Insurance and Commerce.

* DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME: All other problems solved, Rep. David Meeks wants to take Arkansas off observation of Daylight Saving Time. He's amended the bill to do it only after one other bordering state does it. I like Daylight Saving Time. There are arguments on both sides about the supposed energy saving, but i like more daylight in the evening. I got an impassioned defense today from a reader who argued that the best alternative is year-around saving time.

* PETS: Rep. Jim Sorvillo's HB 1620 is on the agenda of the House Agriculture Committee tomorrow. It would regulate the commercial dog breeding industry. Puppy mills have been a continuing shame in Arkansas, but advocates of the bill expect a defeat this year because of Arkansas Farm Bureau opposition to any regulation of animal husbandry and particularly the stout opposition in-chamber from Rep. Marcus Richmond, a Republican from Harvey, who makes an industry providing "certification" for commercially bred dogs that can't qualify for AKC registration. One advocate of the bill has sent a note to legislators talking of her dog rescue work, including a rescue of 120 dogs from a trailer in Pine Bluff, with this photo of one of them.

click to enlarge img_6157.jpg

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