Public interest law 

You've perhaps heard already about the lawsuit filed Monday by the Arkansas Public Law Center, with civic activist Kathy Wells of Little Rock as plaintiff, challenging the general Arkansas legislative practice of submitting undocumented requests for monthly expense reimbursements.

Most legislators admit these are thinly disguised salary supplements and justify them as allowable under federal IRS rules. The lawsuit contends, however, that the Arkansas Constitution prohibits payments beyond salaries except for documented expenses. It named two defendants – a House Republican, Ann Clemmer of Bryant, and Senate Democrat, Jerry Taylor of Pine Bluff – but the suit is aimed at all members filing the undocumented claims.

Who is the Arkansas Public Law Center? It's a new nonprofit, with a seven-member board headed by Little Rock lawyer Michael Lauro. It also has Arkansas Times ties – board members Ernest Dumas, our columnist, and senior editor Max Brantley. Other Board members are Brent Bumpers, Lee Lee Doyle, Theresa Beiner and Patty Barker. Lawyers for this suit are Bettina Brownstein and John Burnett, both with plenty of ACLU work on their records, along with private practice.

The Center has intervened previously in a federal open courts case. Does it have other projects under consideration? Stay tuned, we are reliably informed.


Speaking of...


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in The Insider

  • All in the family

    Old habits die hard. We may have a new Republican majority in the legislature, but like the old Democratic majority, it still doesn't hurt to have a lawmaker spouse to land a part-time job during the legislative session.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • 'Circuit breaker' legal

    When we first asked Gov. Mike Beebe about the "circuit breaker" idea out of Arizona (automatically opting out of Medicaid expansion if the feds reduce the matching rates in the future), he said it was fine but noted that states can already opt out at any time, an assurance he got in writing from the feds.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • Church goes to school in Conway

    An interesting controversy is brewing in Conway Public Schools, periodically a scene of discord as more liberal constituents object to the heavy dose of religion that powerful local churches have tried to inject into the schools, particularly in sex education short on science and long on abstinence.
    • Jan 23, 2013
  • More »

Most Recent Comments


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