The open line: quiet today, noisier tomorrow with LRPD lawsuit and marijuana issues | Arkansas Blog

The open line: quiet today, noisier tomorrow with LRPD lawsuit and marijuana issues

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Here's your open line. Nothing to report at the moment about news today. But, tomorrow:

* LAWSUIT AGAINST LRPD: Attorney Mike Laux announces lawsuits will be filed tomorrow alleging race and age discrimination in the Little Rock Police Department. A consent decree ended a similar lawsuit years ago. The Little Rock Black Police Officers Association has continued the fight for equality, he said.

However, as shown in recent ham-fisted, wasteful and simply wrong actions by the City, the LRBPOA’s gargantuan effort faces even bigger obstacles today. Chief among them areovert racial and age discrimination which still permeates the LRPD. These harmful practices result in gross disparities between white and black officers in terms of hiring, promotions, transfers, executive training and discipline. African-American officers are denied equal opportunity for advancement and are punished more frequently and more harshly than their white counterparts. From a practical perspective, this discrimination needlessly displaces and marginalizes a sizable portion of the LRPD while the City remains in the throes of unsolved homicide and violent crime sprees. There is a crisis of leadership at the LRPD and the City.

Laux said he'll file a suit on behalf of four officers. A separate lawsuit will name two other litigants.

* MEDICAL MARIJUANA: The fighting has only begun. Still more allegations of irregularities are coming to me about the review process for the five cultivation permits that are due to be formally ratified at a Medical Marijuana Commission meeting Wednesday.

The material I've received has also supposedly been sent to the commission and other agencies. I can't vouch for it, so I'll leave it at that for now.



A reliable source predicts challenges to the scoring will be filed Monday by some of those who finished out of the running. Does the law and commission rule allow for challenges, outside the statutory provision that appeals may be made to Circuit Court? The rules do NOT allow public comment at commission meetings.

Arkansas still must resolve the question of whether appeals MAY be made to Circuit Court under the recent interpretation of the sovereign immunity provision of the Arkansas Constitution by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

This question holds political signfiicance for Gov. Asa Hutchinson. He's been quoted as saying state agencies may NOT to use sovereign immunity as a defense for lawsuits that don't involve monetary claims — such as an administrative agency's decision — without his permission. Will he give the MMJ Commission that permission in this case should a lawsuit be filed?  Either way, some lawyers think there's a legal question of whether a court may independently invoke that provision, even if a state agency does not.

If nothing else, it is making work for lawyers.

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