by Max Brantley
Among other tidbits to watch at the Capitol today:
I've heard that Rep. Jim Medley has had his fun with the state Supreme Court and its budget will be approved this morning without further harassment. UPDATE: No tussling today, but the budget was held over yet another day. Chair said he hoped to resolve issue tomorrow.
Corporate interests will turn out in committee to defeat a bill to provide for a death benefit for workers who die on the job without dependents in accidents for which they'd otherwise get $50,000 from the no-fault Workers Comp system. This is from the terrible case of a worker in a Deltic Timber mill who was killed by a wood chipper that was negligently pieced together. Under the system, no negligence lawsuit could be filed and the parents who buried their son, not being his dependents, couldn't get a death benefit. That's compassionate conservatism for you.
There might be another run at the ERA in committee today, judging by the alarums coming from the Religious Rigth, their networks atwitter with talk of being forced to turn gay, have abortions and share bathrooms with people of the opposite sex. It must be terrible to live in constant fear of bogeymen. UPDATE: Not today.
Finally, perhaps the gay adoption bill will get a committee assignment today. Opponents predict it will be beaten if it goes to House Judiciary, whose members include one of the legislature's gay members, Rep. Kathy Webb of Little Rock. Her freshman year has included a great deal of valuable networking with a broad cross-section of House members. (Remember Rep. Donna Hutchinson's "upskirt" bill?) Note that the Senate bill did not have a House sponsor at last report. That's some measure of a lack of House enthusiasm on a punitive bill that is inconsequential except for the pain it would cause a tiny segment of the state's population and children who would deprived of decent homes as a consequence.