by Max Brantley
Yesterday was the deadline for proposing state constitutional amendments. Many have been filed.
Some quick-draw predictions on measures that will survive the winnowing process: One of the proposals to change the usury limit. Low interest rates, combined with the existing limit, have all but shut down the municipal bond market, a bond lawyer told me recently.
A session doesn't pass without new constitutional corporate welfare provisions. A quick glance in this direction would have to turn first to powerful House Speaker Robbie Wills' two proposals . One would take the minimum off the amendment that allows the state to issue general obligation bonds for economic development projects. No longer would something have to be a super project to get taxpayers to stand good for financing. The other allows still more use of tax dollars to support private business (creeping socialism, eh?). It would provide for state investment in private technology businesses.
Sen. Steve Bryles has a "shell" amendment that he promises will improve the lives of all Arkansans. That's generally code for more corporate welfare and its presumed trickle-down benefits. Watch for it.
After usury and corporate welfare, what? Hard to say. You can't discount the nutty ones, like sanctifying the right to fish and hunt in the Constitution, another run by Sen. Steve Faris at balming the gun lobby with extraneous claptrap.