by Max Brantley
Though the resolution for Arkansas to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment is mired in Senate commitee after a 4-4 vote on approval, the fight is not over.
ERA backers went to legislative guru and current governor, Mike Beebe, for advice. Beebe has said repeatedly that he supports approval of the ERA resolution.
Beebe tld ERA backers that legislation that has lingered for 50 days -- and has not received a negative committee vote -- can be extracted from commitee with a simple majority vote, or 18 senators.
It isn't done often. Some view such a move as a violation of protocol. But why should something specifically allowed by the rules be a violation of protocol? The measure is lodged in a committee chaired by Sen. Steve Faris, who's an important player in the Senate this year. His powercould be a factor in any attempted vote.
Does the fact that a popular governor, most legislators, constitutional officers and, polls show, most Arkansans favor this amendment give cover to those fearful of the Religious Right opposition on account of their future political aspirations?
Perhaps we'll see next week.