The light Monday committee schedule always contributes to a light free feedbag schedule for lawmakers. But a couple of free events remain, despite Amendment 94's
putative ban of freebies.
The no-freebie rule of the voter-approved Amendment, only four months old, is being flouted by the legislature. Its leaders have unilaterally ruled that just about anything — from a standing lunch to a standing cocktail hour — can be deemed a "scheduled activity" and thus exempt from the gift ban. The state Ethics Commission
hasn't and won't enter this fray because its members include appointees of legislative leadership and it depends on the legislature for its staff money.
STANDING COCKTAIL HOUR: 5-7 p.m., Capitol Square Apt. #4, "Choo-Choo Room."
This is the free pub operated by lobbyists for:
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
DINNER, DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYER: 5-:30 p.m., Capitol Room 19, Capitol Commission
(a religious lobby that promotes religion in public life.)
UPDATE: There is one "scheduled activity" of a commmittee. The eight members of the Senate Public Health Committee c
an dine free tonight at one of Little Rock's finest restaurants. Drop on by. All meetings of the General Assembly are open to the public.
DINNER: 6:30 p.m., Brave New Restaurant, for Senate Public Helath Committee by Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Be of good cheer lawmakers. If past weeks are a guide, the free lunch sign for the standing feedbag thrown by the nursing home lobby will be out again several days this week, as it was last week. The sign probably ought to be posted, too, in front of the Capitol as a symbol of the life of a legislator and how easy it is to win friends and influence.
WHO SAYS THERE'S NO FREE LUNCH: The nursing home lobby begs to differ, with a frequent feedbag, plus afternoon cocktail parties, at an apartment building on Capitol Hill. Just follow the sign to this "scheduled activity" of the legislature.