April 30-May 6, 2008
It was a good week for …
VOTING. Early voting began for the May 20 party primaries and non-partisan judicial elections. Because most races are relatively small ones, TV shouldn't be overly cluttered with campaign jingles.
CYRUS BAHRASSA and ANNE YE. The Little Rock Central High School seniors were chosen to be Arkansas's presidential scholars.
THE FIRST AMENDMENT. A federal lawsuit has been filed contending that tax-free municipal bonds issued by Searcy for construction at Harding University amount — thanks to the millions they save in interest for Harding — to an unconstitutional benefit for a religious institution. If the lawsuit succeeds, there are hundreds of other instances in Little Rock, the balance of Arkansas and across the country where government-issued bonds have been used for religious schools. The U.S. Supreme Court has become increasingly lenient on church-state separation in recent years, but the lawsuit at least might make the bond daddies sweat a bit.
It was a bad week for …
ARKANSAS. A cold front brought yet another disastrous lick from high winds and tornadoes — seven dead, many injured and millions in damage from Siloam Springs to Pulaski County.
MIKE HUCKABEE. The former governor racked up another letter of caution from the state Ethics Commission, this one for failing to report the people who contributed cash to pay for his $32,000 official portrait. He had claimed the portrait was a gift from the artist.
The CENTRAL ARKANSAS LIBRARY SYSTEM. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette raised the question of whether a quirk in state law prohibited the library from collecting a recent property tax increase in calendar 2008. A lawsuit will be required to settle the question. The problem could delay new staff, book purchases and more service expansion planned this year.
HOMELAND SECURITY. The feds arrested 24 undocumented immigrant workers working on a construction project. Not so unusual an event except for the site, a private air terminal under construction at Little Rock National Airport.