by Max Brantley
Rep. Buddy Blair of Fort Smith calls in a PS on the item about the Lord's Ranch, free charter jet provider to the governor's presidential campaign and recipient of $8.5 million annually in Medicaid money from Huckabee's DHS.
It is purely coincidental that the Aging, Children and Youth Committee will be meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 21, Room 130, at the Capitol on several matters, including the Lord's Ranch. Some legislators have been concerned for some time, Blair said, about the state's bills at this and several other "faith-based' facilities. The concerns include the youth center's influence on juvenile judges in winning orders to place troubled youths at the ranch. Blair says there's a concern that certification of the need for the treatment is provided by Lord's Ranch staff, not by wholly independent evaluators. There are questions, too, about how hard it is to get a child removed once placed at the Lord's Ranch. This meeting should bring out many lobbyists, Blair said. Spectators might do well to have legislators' financial contribution reports at the ready as scorecards for the active players. The Lord's Ranch participates in that game, we know from Huckabee's reports.