Favorite

Now hiring: DHS director 

Quote of the Week

"Look, these are trying times for our nation. It's important to have a steady hand on the helm during times like this. ... And as you know the speaker doesn't have to be a member of the House. So, therefore: Vice President Cheney for speaker."

— U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, explaining to Politico with a straight face why Dick Cheney should be the next speaker of the House. Republican congressman Kevin McCarthy — the presumptive heir to the speakership after John Boehner leaves the position — dropped out of the running last week.

Judge Griffen halts executions

Last Friday, Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen stayed the scheduled executions of eight men on Arkansas's Death Row, pending a hearing on their request for an injunction. Two of the inmates were set to die on Oct. 21. The eight have filed suit to stop their executions because the state, under a law passed earlier this year, refuses to provide information about the drug cocktail to be used in lethal injections.

Griffen's order allows the inmates their day in court, explaining that "immediate and irreparable injury will result to Plaintiffs absent a temporary restraining order enjoining Defendants from executing Plaintiffs as scheduled." Well, that's hard to argue with.

Now hiring: DHS director

Arkansas Department of Human Services Director John Selig will leave his position at the end of the year, the agency announced last week. Selig has been running DHS for a decade. He was appointed by Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee, then served for eight years under Democrat Mike Beebe, during which time he oversaw the implementation of the private option, Arkansas's expansion of Medicaid.

Who's to replace him? Running the sprawling bureaucracy of DHS — which handles everything from foster care to food stamps — is among the hardest jobs in the state. Gov. Asa Hutchinson will need someone who's at once a technocratic wizard, a capable manager, a shrewd political operator and a willing punching bag for irony-challenged legislators looking to beat up on Big Government.

1982 all over again?

State Rep. John Walker (D-Little Rock), the civil rights attorney who has crusaded for decades for racial equity in local public education, filed a federal suit last week seeking to reverse the takeover of the Little Rock School District by the state in January. It's been less than two years since the LRSD reached a final legal settlement with the state in the desegregation suit originally brought by Walker in 1982.

The 71-page complaint argues that the ousting of a democratically elected (and majority black) LRSD board was the result of a conspiracy "rooted in racial considerations." To argue his case, Walker has included pages and pages of exhibits, including emails that seem to show some within the (mostly white) Little Rock business community lobbying members of the state Board of Education for takeover long in advance of the decision. The suit also says the state has done little to address academic deficiencies in the LRSD since the takeover, which after all was motivated by low test scores.

Don't stroll in Dover

A federal jury last week declined to award damages to a Dover family that sued local and state law enforcement over a 2011 incident in which Eva Robinson and her son, Matthew, were accosted by an officer while walking their dog near their home. Read the details of the case online, but suffice it to say that before the encounter was over, Matthew (then 16) had been tased multiple time and he and his mother were both arrested, for no crime other than being resistant to the cops.

While the jury deliberated last week, a jittery attorney for one of the defendants — Pope County Deputy Sheriff Kristopher Stevens — made the bad call to reach an 11th-hour settlement with the plaintiff's lawyer, for $225,000. About 30 minutes later, the jury returned its verdict siding with the defendants and awarding no damages. Too late: The settlement is still binding. The Robinsons at least will get $225,000 for their troubles.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

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

  • Trump unfit

    Even as an oligarch, President Trump turns out to be breathtakingly incompetent. Is there any reason to suppose he's even loyal to the United States? Does he even understand the concept? Trump is loyal to Trump, and to his absurdly swollen ego. Nothing and nobody else.
  • You want tort reform? Try this.

    The nursing home industry and the chamber of commerce finally defeated the trial lawyers in the 2017 legislature. The Republican-dominated body approved a constitutional amendment for voters in 2018 that they'll depict as close to motherhood in goodness.
  • Goodbye, Mr. Trump

    It is hard to escape the feeling that the fortunes of President Trump and the country took a decisive, and for Trump a fatal, turn May 9-10, when the president fired the director of the FBI over its investigation of Russian efforts to swing the presidential election to him and the very next day shared top-secret intelligence with Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting closed except to a Kremlin press aide toting electronic gear to capture the intimate session for Russians but not Americans.
  • Raw feelings in the Arkansas Justice Building over workload, pay

    Strained relations between the Arkansas Supreme Court and the Arkansas Court of Appeals broke into public view this week. I expect more to come.

Latest in The Week That Was

Visit Arkansas

New Entrance and North Forest to debut with Chihuly exhibit opening at Crystal Bridges

New Entrance and North Forest to debut with Chihuly exhibit opening at Crystal Bridges

Dual Chihuly exhibit opening also brings culmination of year-plus forest project

Event Calendar

« »

May

S M T W T F S
  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 Recent Comments

  • Re: A long way to fall

    • Nobody on this damn forum has provide one shred of proof that Ron Fields is…

    • on May 21, 2017
  • Re: A long way to fall

    • Jay C Rider is an incredible person. He is absolutely not responsible for ANY murder…

    • on May 21, 2017
  • Re: Arkansas ticks wanted

    • How do we find our local extension service office?

    • on May 20, 2017
 

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