by Max Brantley
So naturally it came out of a House committee yesterday. The Farm Bureau wants to prohibit the state Environmental Quality Department from investigating anonymous pollution complaints. The farm lobby knows it will chill the already inadequate response of the state to polluters and provide a ready means of retribution against whistleblowers. Farmers say they want to face their accusers. This is a misleading argument. They will face an accuser. If DEQ finds a violation based on anonymous tip, it must present its evidence, based on a proper investigation. No violation, no accusation.
If this is good for farmers, why not for murderers, tax cheats, etc.? Why should they be investigated on the basis of anonymous tips?
Here's one where Beebe shouldn't wait to say he'll veto.
Speaking of bad ideas: The Walton- and Hussman-backed bill to open the door to virtually unlimited charter schools in a locality, whether they are needed or not and whether they have demonstrated track records or not, was approved in Senate committee and heads to a final vote. Prediction: It will spawn a flood of Walton-financed schools in Pulaski County, with any inadequacies discovered in them too late to cure the damage they'll do to real public schools. Money talks, as ever.
Speaking still of bad ideas: This one didn't fly, surprisingly enough. John Brummett writes in more depth about a topic mentioned yesterday -- Gov. Mike Beebe's intervention against some sweetheart bills to fatten the take of the Lord's Ranch and other providers of residential mental health treatment for youth.