by Max Brantley
I'm traveling to the Hill Country today, so posting will be light.
Where it was left last night, it appeared the legislature was set to go home without deals on three non-budget items — 1) repealing the truckers' unearned $4 million tax break windfall (Senate Republicans simply won't take back the coming gift, that was supposed to be premised on a diesel tax increase); 2) changing foreclosure law to the benefit of out-of-state banks (a Republican-sponsored bailout that is being held up by the Republican support for the trucker windfall); and 3) a tightening of parole law against one category of sex offender (a bipartisan measure, reactive to a single recent case and best dealt with systemically in a regular session, but, though not particularly controversial now, also caught in the tax break logjam).
If these fail, they'll soon be forgotten, except for the partisan messaging. It will be mostly, if not dishonest, exaggerated. It might not matter much. Reader interest in these items — source of much insider hubbub — seems to decrease exponentially in relation to distance to the Capitol.
Take this as an open line. Lindsey, Leslie and Co. will be chipping in later.
PS — I meant to mention filings yesterday for county offices. Some good races on the Quorum Court are shaping up. Several will test public sentiment on protecting Lake Maumelle with, generally speaking, Republicans opposing stronger protection of the watershed and Democrats favoring it. They could be good referendums.