The Wednesday night line | Arkansas Blog

The Wednesday night line



The line is open. Closing odds and ends:

* TYRANNY OF THE MINORITY: The House meets into the evening. Another vote tonight on the Insurance Department? Don't know.

* HUCK PROMOTES 'GUNPOINT' LEARNING: Though someone tried to scrub it, a watchdog group has captured Mike Huckabee saying on video that Americans should be indoctrinated "at gunpoint" to learn Christian supremacist history from bogus historian and religionist David Barton. No guns needed in Hot Springs. David Barton is already God over the First Church of Hot Springs, otherwise known as the mayor's church home at First Church of the Nazrene.

* DORM INCIDENT: A couple of female UA athletes were arrested after a fight in a dormitory.

* ELEVATORS: Rep. Barry Hyde recalled his bill to exempt state elevators in the Capitol area from the state elevator safety law. He didn't explain. Perhaps it's to narrow the bill down to only the cause of the legislation — an aging freight elevator in the Capitol Hill Apartments where many legislators live that can no longer qualify for waivers from state safety rules. This is Secretary of State Mark Martin's bill to simply his oversight of the Capitol Hill building.

* CHARTER SCHOOLS: Reps. Tracy Steele and John Walker fought the good fight, unsuccessfully, against the charter school expansion bill. They aren't against charter schools. They are against the concerted effort to tear down good Pulaski County schools. Rep. Ann Clemmer of white flight Bryant is carrying the Waltons baggage on this bill. There was a time when she admitted how poor Bryant schools were. Now, it's all about the failing Pulaski County schools. Nothing like money and prevailing winds to change your outlook. It passed 55-28. The state continues to repudiate its solemn vow not to contribute to segregation in Pulaski County schools. Walmart flunky Clemmer also carried the bill to make it easier to create charter schools. This is the bill Sen. Jiimmy Jeffress, the Senate Education Committee chair, decided he wanted no part of. Champagne's on Luke Gordy. Ann can tell you where it's being poured.

* WOMEN LEGISLATORS: A program is set at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the Capitol to honor all the women who've served in the Arkansas legislature. 30 of the 135 seats are held by women this year. Some of the history of female service is on the jump.

* INTERNET SALES TAX: The House completed action today on the bill to attempt to apply the state sales tax to some Internet purchases. Opponents debate how effective it will be, but it's a step toward fairness for in-Arkansas retailers. Walmart needs government help, doesn't it?

* WASHINGTON STYLE: Gov. Beebe decries the "Washington-style" government that has arrived in Little Rock. He means a handful of zealots willing to trash important government services with a minority roadblock on account of ideological fervor. Yes.


The Women's Legislative Caucus will host a celebration of all the women who have served in the Arkansas General Assembly at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 31, in the rotunda on the second floor of the state Capitol.

Current and former women members of the legislature will be honored.

In the 2011 session there are eight women serving in the Senate and 22 in the House.

The first woman elected to the Senate was Dorathy Allen, who served from 1965 through 1974. She was from Brinkley and published a newspaper there called The Citizen.

In the 1975 session, there was not a female member of the state Senate.

It wasn't until 12 years after Dorathy Allen's first election that a second woman was elected to the state Senate. She was Vada Sheid and she served her first term in the Senate in 1977. She had been a member of the House of Representatives since 1965.

Ms. Sheid was from Mountain Home. She served in the Senate until 1983, and for her entire career in the Senate she was the only woman.

In 1985, Charlie Cole Chaffin of Benton was elected to the Senate, and she served until 1993. She took part in five legislative sessions, and in four of them she was the only woman.

The exception was the 1989 session, when the Senate had two women for the first time in its history. Gladys Watson of Monette was elected to fill out the unexpired term of her husband, Senator Tom Watson, who died in office.

The 1989 session was Senator Watson's only one. In 1991 and 1993 Senator Chaffin was again the only one woman in the Senate.

Senator Peggy Jeffries of Fort Smith served in the sessions of 1995 and 1997, and in both sessions she was the only female senator.

In 1999 the Senate had no women.

In 2001 there were four - Senator Sharon Trusty of Russellville, Senator Barbara Horn of Foreman, in southwest Arkansas, Senator Brenda Gullett of Pine Bluff and Ruth Whitaker.

In 2003 they were joined by three new female senators: Senator Sue Madison of Fayetteville, Senator Mary Anne Salmon of North Little Rock and Senator Irma Hunter Brown of Little Rock.

In the House, the first two female representatives were elected in 1923.

The first two female House members were Mrs. F.M. Hunt of Jefferson County and Miss Erle Chambers of Pulaski County.

On average, there were two, three or four women in the House until the 1993 session, when there were 12.

In 1995 there were 16 women in the House.

In 1997 there were 22 women in the House of Representatives.

In 1999 there were 20, in 2001 there were 14 and in 2003 there were 15 women in the House of Representatives.

Amendment 8 to the state Constitution, granting equal suffrage to women, passed in 1920.

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