by Max Brantley
The midweek line commences. Finishing up:
* MARCO RUBIO AND THE BIG GULP: Forget the water, Rubio's message was the same old claptrap, writes Talking Points Memo. Maybe Bill Kristol will elevate Tom Cotton to the top of his ideal ticket.
* GUNS AND FETUSES: Another day another gun bill. This one from Marshall Wright for school districts to keep their school safety plans secret. Because homicidal maniacs might FOI the school security plans and use them to find a school to target. Hysteria reigns.
* GOD, GUNS, FETUSES: God got added to the myopic rush to pass meaningless hot button legislation with introduction of a constitutional amendment, in shell form, to protect public prayer. What the sponsor undoubtedly means is protect exercises by public bodies cramming their particular favorite religion down the throats of the unwilling. Back on guns, Rep. Lea and Sen. English, though among the Guns and Fetuses Caucus opposing Medicaid expansion, do have some compassion for poor folks. They propose to lower the permit fee to obtain a concealed carry permit. Favored status to the elderly, veterans and people with domestic protection orders. The Guns and Fetuses Caucus hasn't gotten around to immigrants and gays yet, but give them time. The session has already been extended. Meanwhile, the UA Student Senate has voted against Rep. Charlie Collins' bill to allow universities to open campuses to guns if governing boards approve.
* AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION: A flood of constitutional amendments came in at the deadline for filing such. Many are shell proposals and so it's not exactly clear how many will shake out. The legislature can only put three on the ballot (plus one for elected official pay if they choose). Rep. Matthew Shepherd proposes to change the Arkansas Supreme Court from elective office to so-called merit selection. There'd be retention elections, but a judicial nominating commission would select choices from which the governor would pick. One amendment slot this year is presumed a given for the business lobby to counteract Supreme Court rulings on damage lawsuits, but the version to be chosen remains very much up in the air.
* TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL: Grantland.com has some fun, with extended photos and commentary, of eStem senior Leonard Cooper's $75,000 win on Teen Jeopardy. Climax was his miss of the final Jeopardy answer, with him secure in knowledge he'd won the big prize.