The line is open. Closing notes:
* BULLIES: The House completed action bills aimed at school bullying and cyberbullying. This is good. Now if they'd just pass legislation that made it illegal for adults to whip kids with boards. (We currently allow school employees to do this.) About cyberbullying: I think several Republicans with fears that the cyberbullying bill was too vague made good points. It could give rise to infringement of free speech in claiming bullying by, say, blogs that write mean things about people.
* JUDICIAL PAY RAISES: Tough times all over, right? Not down at Little Rock District Court. The city, which is pleading poverty and talking about a sales tax increase for a shrunken workforce that has received little in the way of pay raises the last several years, told the legislature it wanted a pay raise for its three municipal judges — Traffic Judge Vic Fleming, Criminal Court Judge Alice Lightle and Environmental Court Judge Mark Leverett. The law currently limits their pay to $140,000 a year. The bill passed in the House today raises the maximum from $140,00 to a whopping $175,000. City manager Bruce Moore said not to worry: the judges currently make $138,321 and will be eligible, like other city employees, for only 4 percent pay raises — or more than
$7,500 $5,500 — this year.
Raises were the order of the day in several district (county and municipal) courts all over Arkansas. Read the bill here. Maximum allowable pay is also going up in Maumelle (by $10,000 to $50,000) and Sherwood (by $10,000 to $95,000). Cities pay these salaries out of their revenue, including court coss. Arkansas Supreme Court justices make $139,821; the chief justice makes $151,049. They received no pay raise this year.
* OBAMA: Early pundit return on his live speech on Libya characterizes him as sounding Bush-like. Ouch.
* LATE NIGHT: Senate meeting into the evening hours. The weenies in the Senate are standing in way of finishing redistricting debate. I guess Senate and House also have to meet minds on school funding bill. The Senate wants to provide unequal transportation funding. Hello Supreme Court.
* BOOZMAN'S FALSE START: John Boozman gave his maiden speech in the Senate today. He opened with a mistake. He said Hattie Caraway of Arkansas was the first woman "to serve" in the U.S. Senate. She wasn't. The first to serve, if only for a day, was Rebecca Latimer Felton of Georgia. Hattie Caraway was the first ELECTED to the Senate, also following on heels of her husband. Hat tip, Mark Powell.