It was a good week for...
HIGH PROFILE PETITIONS. The attorney general's office has asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to reconsider its 4-3 ruling that school districts can keep property tax dollars that exceed the state's per-student funding minimum. Meanwhile, Gov. Mike Beebe has asked the court for permission to file an amicus brief in the case. Beebe's legal counsel said the governor was mindful of separation of power issues and the court's "unquestioned role" in interpreting the Constitution and law. "In this case, however, the governor respectfully submits the court has erred and that a rehearing is warranted ... ."
It was a bad week for...
MIKE HUCKABEE. The former Arkansas governor, infamous for saying callous and stupid things throughout his career, outdid himself in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. "We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools," Huckabee said on Fox News. "Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?" Later, again on Fox News, he doubled down, linking "tax-funded abortion pills" to the massacre.
ATTORNEY GENERAL DUSTIN MCDANIEL. In a statement, he admitted that he had a "limited interaction" with Hot Springs attorney Andrea "Andi" Davis, some of which was "inappropriate." The issue was forced into the open by a Dec. 3 filing in Garland County, in a divorce filed by Davis against her husband Fred Day. Day asked Davis for a series of admissions. One of them asks: "Please admit that you had sexual relations with Attorney General of the state of Arkansas Dustin McDaniel in 2011 or 2012." Davis responded: "Objection. The question asks for information irrelevant to the issues before the court and is asked solely to harass and annoy."
REP. DAVID MEEKS. The Conway Republican told the Democrat-Gazette that he didn't believe the cuts proposed by the Arkansas Department of Human Services to close a $138 million shortfall were necessary. Meeks, echoing a point many state Republicans have put forward, said through identifying waste and finding other revenue the gap can be closed. Thus far, neither Meeks nor any other Republican has been specific about waste and other funding sources. Meanwhile, DHS has already implemented aggressive cost-savings measures (see details on page 24).
WALMART. A major new investigative piece by the New York Times reveals a pattern of bribery payments last decade to clear the way for store development in Mexico and — worse — knowledge of Walmart officials about what had occurred, which it failed to report to authorities or fully investigate on its own.