Legislators looking for free meals and drinks are no doubt nervous about the iffy forecasts on the weather today. But if I know most lobbyists, they'll have their credit cards, buffets and open bars ready for the intrepid who brave conditions to show up for the freebies that have continued without end despite Amendment 94's seeming ban on freebies to legislators. Where there's a rule, there's a loophole for the Arkansas legislature.
Today's swill schedule:
BREAKFAST: 7-8:30 a.m., Capitol Cafeteria, Arkansas Association of Gifted Education Administrators.
LUNCH: 11:30-1 p.m., AEA Building, Citizens First Congress
(a grassroots lobby).
LUNCH: 11:30-1 p.m., Capitol Hill Building, Arkansas Forest and Paper Council
(timber lobby, aka Kochs and them).
LUNCH: 11:30-1:30, Capitol Square Apartments, #13, Arkansas Health CAre association. nursing home lobby. Ask if they've seen Mike Maggio lately.
COCKTAIL PARTY: 4-6 p.m., Capitol Square Apartments, #13, Arkansas Health Care Association
. (nursing home lobby, ask if they've seen Gilbert Baker lately.)
COCKTAIL PARTY: 4-6 p.m., Next Level Events, City of Little Rock.
A taxpayer funded special interest with a noticeable lack of success at the legislature, though its hiring of a pal of Senate President Jonathan Dismang as lobbyist this year might help improve their record a bit.
COCKTAIL PARTY: 5-7 p.m, Capitol Square Apt. 4, "Choo Choo Room," this is the daily happy hours sponsored by lobbyists who represent:
Arkansas Automobile Dealers Association
Arkansas Hospital Association
Arkansas Medical Society
Arkansas Pharmacists Association
Arkansas Podiatric Medical Association
Arkansas State Dental Association
Independent Insurance Agents of Arkansas
Arkansas Community Colleges
How can you have multiple "scheduled activities" at the same time and with a straight face claim they are whole-Assembly events called for a legitimate purpose other than hog-slopping. Don't ask the Ethics Commission. They don't care.
Oh, and the parties aren't over. There are, of course, "scheduled activities" for select committees of the legislature.
DRINKS AND DINNER: 6 p.m., Cache Restaurant, Mullenix Associates for the Senate and House Education Committees.
We're talking 29 legislators plus hangers-on. Quite a tab likely at this event tonight. Not to worry, Mullenix has some deep pockets to spread the bill around:
Altria Client Services Inc. and its Affiliates
Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield
Arkansas Realtors Association
Cisco Systems, Inc.
Express Scripts, Inc
Insurance Auto Auctions
Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP
LeBonheur Children's Medical Center
MCNA Health Care Holdings LLC
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
Oaklawn Jockey Club
Property Casualty Insurance Associaton of America
Plains Pipeline, L.P.
Rural AR Telephone Systems
Rave Mobile Safety
SAP Public Services, Inc
Stephens Production Company
Superior Senior Care
Unisyn Voting Solutions
Wilson & Associates PLLC
Arkansas Judicial Council
Big River Steel
DRINKS AND DINNER: 6 p.m., Riverfront Steakhouse, AT&T for the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.