The Arkansas legislature
returns to work today and lobbyists will be standing by with free meals, despite Amendment 94's
prohibition of gifts to legislators. The Ethics Commission has been silent as the legislature has declared that breakfast, lunch, cocktail hour and dinner can be "scheduled activities" exempt from the no-freebies rule.
LUNCH, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., Golden Triangle Economic Development Council.
This is a group of South Arkansas counties who contribute public money and facilities behind economic development. I doubt much tax money need be spent on legislators to convince them to find new and expanded ways to transfer tax money to private company treasuries in corporate welfare.
COCKTAIL HOUR: 4:30-6:30 p.m., Next Level Events, Springdale Chamber of Commerce
. This is another organization whose financial support includes contributions of local tax dollars, a practice brought into question by a recent lawsuit in Pulaski County.
PIZZA AND PRAYER: 6-7:30 p.m., Room 19, Capitol Basement, Capitol Commission
, a private group that promotes religion in public life.
DINNER: 6:30 p.m., Brave New Restaurant, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
This is for the Senate Public Health committee only. That, too, has been decreed a "schooled activity" for purposes of free food and drinks for select legislators. Important health insurance legislation (think private option) passes through Senate Public Health.