Tweet of the week
"Why do we kill people to show that killing people is wrong? @AsaHutchinson @AGRutlege"
— Sister Helen Prejean (@helenprejean), the Catholic nun, author of "Dead Man Walking" and anti-death penalty activist, took to Twitter on Easter weekend to criticize Governor Hutchinson, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton.
Quote of the week
"I'm with Trump."
— U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, responding to a critical question on the Trump administration's push to increase military spending by $54 billion. Pressed on Republicans' desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a plan that covers fewer people and conditions, Womack seemed to suggest that some people have problems because they don't work.
Hill and Cotton do Little Rock
U.S. Rep. French Hill and Sen. Tom Cotton finally faced their Central Arkansas constituency on Monday with a town hall at a West Little Rock hotel, perhaps hoping that holding the event at 2 p.m. on a workday the day after Easter would keep the Resistance at bay, or at least pack the audience with retired oldsters who tend to lean Trump. Such was not the case, however, with over 700 people showing up by Cotton's estimate, and the crowd trending heavily blue, based on response. Though there was a vocal pro-Trump wing to the crowd, Hill and Cotton got waylaid on a number of hot-button subjects, including Trump's Great Wall, military spending, Russian hacking, the potential repeal of the Johnson Amendment that keeps churches from becoming Holy Rolling Super PACs, student loan debt, and, as one questioner put it, "What are you going to do to try and control our crazy president?" Hill seemed a bit rattled by it all, but it's old hat by now to Cotton, who stressed that if people don't like the job he's doing, they can vote him out. With video of Cotton getting massively booed for defending Trump's decision to not release his taxes going viral online soon after the event, he ought to be careful what he wishes for, because he and Hill just might get it.
Hastings loses civil suit
A federal jury awarded $415,000 in damages in the civil lawsuit against Josh Hastings, a former Little Rock police officer, in the 2012 slaying of Bobby Moore, a suspect in car burglaries at a West Little Rock apartment complex.
Two trials of Hastings for manslaughter ended in hung juries. He has said he fired on a car that was about to run him down. Other witnesses and a police investigation said the car was backing up. The civil suit was filed by Moore's mother, Sylvia Perkins. Little Rock and its police chief were ruled immune from suit by Judge Brian Miller, though attorneys for Perkins have said they will appeal that ruling.
Texas wins again
The winner of the largest jackpot in the history of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery is a Texan. Eliberto Cantu, 71, of Lubbock, claimed his $177 million lottery win on Monday after purchasing the winning Mega Millions ticket on March 30 in Stuttgart. Cantu was working a construction job near Hazen. Cantu said he plans to do some traveling with his family, as well as working on rebuilding his home church and sister church.
Mass picketing bill likely to die
State Sen. Trent Garner (R-El Dorado) said this week he would not attempt to override Governor Hutchinson's veto of his bill that would have criminalized some forms of protest.
Garner's bill would have made "unlawful mass picketing" a Class A misdemeanor, with penalties of up to a year in jail and a fine of $2,500. Picketing was defined so broadly that it was hard to see the bill as anything other than an assault on the First Amendment, part of a national trend of Republican lawmakers attempting to tamp down political demonstrations and protests in the wake of the election of President Trump.
The governor vetoed the bill earlier this month, calling it "overbroad, vague and will have the effect of restricting free speech and the right to assemble."