The populus did not regnat on term limits | Arkansas Blog

Friday, November 9, 2018

The populus did not regnat on term limits

Posted By on Fri, Nov 9, 2018 at 11:11 AM

click to enlarge issue.jpg

More evidence here of why state legislators and their owners at the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce were so desperate to knock Issue 3, the term limits amendment, off the ballot. It had deep support, witness a 64,000-vote margin in Pulaski County.

click to enlarge regnat.jpg
The chamber successfully sued to knock Issue 3 off the ballot, using the hypertechnical requirements of a law passed by the legislature to make it very difficult to use paid canvassers to circulate voter petitions. The term limits people started with a volunteer effort, but used paid canvassers to finish. Registration of paid canvassers ran afoul of picky details in the law causing disqualification.

It was a great relief to legislators who now can serve 16 years in a single house of the legislature, accruing vast power in the process. With lucky draws on reapportionment, senators can serve up to 22 years. Cecile Bledsoe is headed to 20. Jason Rapert could get 22. With fattened pay, untaxed and generous per diem payments, solid gold affordable health insurance, retirement benefits, occasional free junkets and plenty of free lobbyist feeds it's such a good life that some people make it their only work. It is not the citizen legislature the founders envisioned, with a 60-day session every two years. Some of them live almost permanently in the (cut-rate) Capitol Hill apartments.

The Chamber likes not having to learn a new scorecard and cultivates favorites through PAC support on which most legislators rely for re-election cash. It didn't want to switch to a system limited to six years in the House and eight in the Senate, or 10 altogether. Experience counts. Just ask Jon Woods, whose accumulating experience led to ever bigger scandals and finally an 18-year prison sentence.

The people? They seem to have different thoughts. Though the measure was removed from the ballot and Secretary of State Mark Martin was ordered not to canvass votes, the measure remained on most counties' ballots and were automatically counted. Signs were posted noting that the votes wouldn't count, so you can't say the votes are necessarily proof of anything. But ....

Three-to-one seems to be a pretty standard margin in votes I've seen around the state. Here's the vote from another major population center, Washington County:

wascoun5ty.jpg

In Pope County, the ayes had it 13,514 to 3,529.

I think the term limits crowd should try again. if the state motto is to be Regnat Populus rather than Regnat Lobbyist.

Tags: , , ,


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

Readers also liked…

  • Among the last words from Kenneth Williams: 'Finger Lickin' Good Fried Chicken'

    What's purported to be a final-words essay from condemned prisoner Kenneth Williams was distributed today by Deborah Robinson, a freelance journalist in Arkansas.  He reflects on his execution, his victims, reactions of inmates and big servings of fried chicken, which he says are given to all inmates on execution days.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • Mitch Landrieu on the removal of Confederate tributes in New Orleans

    You want to hear the words of a strong mayor? Read the speech delivered by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on the removal of the last of four Lost Cause tributes in the city. THIS is a strong mayor. Brilliant.
    • May 22, 2017
  • 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

Slideshows

  • Arkansas vs Ole Miss at War Memorial stadium in Little Rock, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. After leading for much of the game, Arkansas lost 37-33 when Ole Miss scored the game winning Touchdown with less that 2 minutes left. 
  • Margaret Clark Adventure Park
    New sculptures, preschoolers play area dedicated in Riverfront Park in Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

 

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