Huckabee veto stopped ethics bill 

An Aug. 25 Arkansas Times article concerning possible conflicts of interest by college and university trustees failed to mention that earlier this year the legislature approved a bill to regulate business dealings between trustees and their institutions, and Gov. Mike Huckabee vetoed it. The bill (HB 2501), introduced by Rep. Jodie Mahony, would have prohibited contracts between members of state boards and commissions and the agencies they serve unless the contract was approved by the state Ethics Commission. The bill also would have applied to state employees. A similar law already applies to board members and employees of the public schools. Huckabee’s veto message of April 13 said: “While I recognize that the intent of this bill is noble, its application would have a chilling impact on the operations of state government. The large vote totals for the measure signal a legitimate desire on the part of the Legislature to create proper walls between public service and private gain. But the provisions of this bill would prove to be more a hindrance to good government than a help. The fact that this measure was enacted so late in the session and contains two significant errors in the first section — an incorrect code reference and an amendment that would render the existing law confusing — leads me to believe there may be additional problems with the bill. I would implore the members of the General Assembly to sustain this veto and to address this issue in future sessions when there is time to discuss the pitfalls in the bill.” Mahony said last week that Huckabee’s reference to “significant errors” in the bill was “eyewash.” He said an employee of the state Code Revision Commission told him the errors were minor. He said he didn’t understand the rest of Huckabee’s message and hadn’t talked with the governor about it. “Nobody would decline to be on a board because of this bill,” he said. He didn’t try to override the veto because he didn’t have enough votes, he said. Asked about Huckabee’s own problems with the Ethics Commission, Mahony said, “I wasn’t going to mention it, but the governor seems to have a lack of enthusiasm for the Ethics Commission and its director.” Huckabee has been at odds with the commission over the years, principally over his acceptance of gifts, and he once sued the commission, unsuccessfully, because he disagreed with its actions. Mahony said he introduced HB 2501 because legislative audits had revealed possible conflicts of interest involving members of state boards and commissions. He mentioned specifically a controversial proposal by the University of Central Arkansas to purchase land in which a UCA trustee had a financial interest. At the time, state law prevented the trustees of all the four-year universities except the University of Arkansas from doing business with their institutions. Hardin was seeking legislation to give UCA the same exemption as UA, but both Hardin and Mahony said last week that Hardin had agreed to HB 2501 as an alternative. Hardin’s bill giving UCA the same exemption as UA was approved by the legislature also and not vetoed by the governor. Other universities are expected to seek similar legislation next session. Mahony said he hoped that someone would sponsor a bill like HB 2501 next year. He will leave the legislature at the end of this year because of term limits.

From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Eligible voters removed from rolls

    Arkansas Times reporters contacted election officials around the state to see how they had handled flawed felon data from the secretary of state. Responses varied dramatically.
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • Real Republicans don't do pre-K

    Also, drifting away from trump, Hudson's downfall at ASU and more.
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • Asa on pre-K

    • Aug 17, 2016

Most Shared

Latest in Arkansas Reporter

Event Calendar

« »


1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments


© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation