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New house rules

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Don Bingham, who, with his wife Nancy, ran the Governor’s Mansion for Gov. Mike Huckabee won’t stay on to manage the house for Mike and Ginger Beebe.

Ron Maxwell, a Democratic Party stalwart, will be Mansion administrator.

Oh and one more Mansion change. The Huckabees did not stock or serve alcoholic beverages. A spokesman for Beebe said the Beebes did not anticipate restrictions on beverages served at the Mansion.

Black judges leaving

Two of Arkansas’s highest-ranking black judges will leave office at the end of the month. Judge Olly Neal and Judge Andree Layton Roaf are members of the Arkansas Court of Appeals, the court that is just below the Arkansas Supreme Court. Neal was appointed to the court by Gov. Jim Guy Tucker in 1996 and elected in 2000. Price Marshall of Jonesboro, who is white, was elected to succeed him. Roaf is retiring with two years left on her six-year term. Gov. Mike Huckabee will appoint a successor to serve out the term. Roaf joined the court in 1997 by Huckabee appointment. The seat represents a district covering seven Delta counties, including Jefferson, Roaf’s home.

Payback time

The legislature has already shown its displeasure with the Supreme Court’s decision in the Lake View school case by quashing a significant pay raise for state judges. They seem likely to be held to the 2 percent state employees get (and none of the step increases and bonuses that other state employees get). Requests for increases in the budget of the Administrative Office of the Court, such as for additional interpreters, also have been treated coldly in legislative committee.

The recent Supreme Court ruling that said legislative pork barreling had reached unconstitutional levels has further stoked the fire. Angry legislators reportedly are talking about cutting judicial staffs and looking for a way to impose term limits on judges.

Re-gifting

Given the arrests of eight ticket scalpers before the November 24 LSU-Arkansas game in Little Rock, we puzzled a bit over a recent AETN Foundation fundraising effort that was forwarded to us this week.

“The Arkansas Educational Television Network Foundation currently has VIP seating available for the Dec. 21 performance of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Alltel Arena in Little Rock,” the electronic flyer said. “AETN has a limited number of these tickets available for $200 a pair. Tickets are available on a first come, first serve basis,… All proceeds will help support public television programming in Arkansas.” The top ticket for the event was priced at $52.75.

So, how is this not scalping? Tony Brooks, deputy director of AETN, said that the tickets are actually a gift — a premium for any donor who makes a donation of $200 to the AETN Foundation.

“We’re not selling the tickets per se,” Brooks said. “Those tickets were made available to us by Trans-Siberian Orchestra to help promote public television.”

In addition to the tickets, Brooks said, $200 donors received a DVD of the orchestra and a year’s membership to the AETN Foundation.

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