by Max Brantley
Between abortion and guns and defeating health care for working poor, the legislature hasn't had much time to devote to government ethics. Despite loud talk about good government from the new Republican majority, little has emerged to demonstrate a commitment to that.
So, after some talk that ethics legislation might actually emerge from the legislature, the Regnat Populus ethics initiative has decided to move on its own.
Earlier this year, we were very excited that there had been talk of the legislature making an attempt to introduce some sort of Ethics Reform legislation. While at first it seemed that progress was being made, the initial momentum now seems to be stalling. This has prompted Regnat Populus to take the following action.
On Wednesday, the 13th of February, Regnat Populus will kick-off canvassing efforts beginning at the State Capitol. We will be encouraging our fellow Arkansans in the State House and Senate to take a position on our ethics measure by asking them to sign our petition. All are invited to attend, including the media. We will begin at 12:00 and canvass until 3:00pm. Canvassers please meet us at 11:30 on the ground floor of the Rotunda to get petition sheets. Of course their responses will be made public record, so even those of you who cannot attend will know if your Representative or Senator supports the measure.
We also wish to invite all of you to contact your State Legislators and ask them to continue to move in the direction of introducing and supporting meaningful ethics reform.
On Thursday, February 14th from 9-3pm, Regnat Populus will pay another visit to the Capitol for Advocacy Day. Volunteers will be on hand to enroll those wishing to help in this important effort and answer any questions regarding R.P. Stop by and see us!
In closing, it should not be forgotten that there will be ethics reform in Arkansas. We continue to be willing to work with the General Assembly in the spirit of compromise and unity. However, should this avenue yield no or substandard results, we stand ready, willing and able accomplish the task at hand. There will be ethics reform in Arkansas-we are not going to go away.
The tally of legislative signers will be interesting. Do they support an end to lobbyist handouts? An impediment to instant moves to fat lobbying jobs, such as former Sen. Gilbert Baker just executed? An end to direct corporate contributions to campaigns?
Call the roll.