Big day at the Capitol -- UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Big day at the Capitol -- UPDATE



Joint Budget should get the General Improvement Fund deal in a few minutes. Again, should any legislative reader lay hands on the document and be handy to a computer, we'd appreciate a forward of it. We'll be searching for that $4.3 million new plane for the governor and hoping it's not coming at the expense of natural and cultural heritage programs. (We're supposed to get an answer on that $9 million poaching from the governor's office this morning.) We're in the minority on the need for the amount fancy air travel for the executive this purchase contemplates. (You can buy a lot of charter service for that.) But: 1) if it's strictly for official business 2) if the governor drops the sham excuse that it's a "security": need and 3) there's total accountability on use, I suspect the majority won't have a problem with it.

PS -- Blog reader reports encountering Mike and Ginger Beebe in DFW last weekend, waiting for one of those torture rides on American Eagle. Someone asked why he wasn't flying the state plane. Because, he said, he was on a political trip, not a state business trip. Bravo.

PPS -- Just got the official word that another effort will not be made to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. The 10-10 vote in the House committee is as close as it will come. The forces of darkness prevailed, despite some significant advances, including support from all statewide elected officials. The coalition that worked for the ERA this session says it will try again in 2009.

Also today: The Judiciary Committee takes up the bill to punish gay people.

And I'm wondering: If House Speaker Benny Petrus will try again in the Senate on his ethics bill, the one deep-sixed last week by Sen. Bobby Glover, no ethics champion to begin with but simmering because he can't get a special tax break for mini-warehouses.

UPDATE: I just spoke with the speaker. He's heading down to the Senate to see if he can get the ethics bill off the table today. Will the Senate kill it outright, which many desire because they hate the idea of ethics reform? Or will they have something more diabolical in mind. We'll be checking in.

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