Perusing the list of Senate pork projects: You have to wonder if, when Bob Johnson gives the Dept. of Arkansas Heritage $100,000 for grants to community centers, if the community center in Bigelow will miraculously get $100,000 and if such a pass-through would pass constitutional muster. The same questions apply to the $25,000 Shane Broadway is shipping to the Livestock and Poultry Commission to benefit county fairs. Will the Saline Fair miraculously turn up with that precise amount? There are many other similar examples on the Senate list, like Gene Jeffress' list for Girls and Boys Club, fairs and fire departments. And what park land will be bought with Jim Hill's $90,000? Or Randy Laverty's $39,000 for "county owned nursing homes." Some other tidbits:
Irma Hunter Brown's allocations include $30,000 to assist a "statewide children's gardening program" and $40,000 "for a grant to learning facilities and educational programs that promote skill building, physical fitness, character development and life-enhancing values for children through the game of golf."
Steve Faris has $146,429 for equipment, renovations and maintenance and operating expenses at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain. When the university was given this property, didn't it promise solemnly to develop it solely with private money?
Sue Madison has shipped $50,000 to the UA debate team.
Tracy Steele has provided $115,000 for scholarships to historically black colleges.
And so on. The real story in the list is the millions sent anonymously to state agencies for redistribution. It will be hard to track over the next two years. Unwittingly, the state Supreme Court may have forced the legislature into a procedure that is both constitutional and harder to expose as pork barreling.