by Max Brantley
Most of the heat occurred during some three hours of testimony this morning. But a House committee reconvened after the House adjourned this afternoon for almost another hour of testimony on Rep. Jon Hubbard's bill to deny any state "benefits" to undocumented people, except for emergency or life-threatening situations.
Hubbard, facing multiple problems with the drafting of the bill, again asked to pull the bill down for further work. Some committee members objected, wanting to finish consideration of the contentious bill. With the objection, Hubbard needed two-thirds of those voting to pull the bill down. The motion failed. That forced the issue to a vote. Hubbard closed by saying he'd amended the bill to meet objections.
The motion for a "do pass" failed on both the voice vote and the roll call. The roll call ended 8 for and 9 against, with 11 votes needed for approval. Afterwards, Hubbard told reporters the bill's defeat was the result of "political games" that started all the way at the top of the Arkansas government, with Gov. Mike Beebe. "I don't think the governor wanted this bill passed, he did whatever he could do to see that it wasn't passed and he was successful," he said. Hubbard said he accepted the amendment to exclude prenatal care for women, not because he had a change of heart (he had said the issue was a difficult one for him), but because he thought it might get the bill passed. When asked if he was treated fairly by his fellow committee members, he said he had no comment.
UPDATE: Mike Beebe responds appropriately to whining Jon Hubbard. Sorry. There's a schoolyard taunt that comes to mind every time Hubbard rolls out the crocodile tears about politics getting in the way of his pet projects— titty baby.