July 16-22, 2008
It was a good week for …
GAMBLING. Secretary of State Charlie Daniels said backers of a state lottery had gathered enough signatures to put the proposal on the ballot.
The UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS. New athletic director Jeff Long has decided that UA women athletes will be known as simply Razorbacks. Lady Razorbacks no more.
BLIND JUSTICE. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals said it was constitutional for Arkansas prison officials to put leg irons on women inmates while they were in labor. That was bad enough. Worse was the court's citation of a case allowing restraints when inmates were flight risks. Right.
PETTY CORRUPTION. The state Ethics Commission ruled that it was permissible for justices of the peace to accept gratuities up to $100 for performing marriages. Does that mean a legislator may accept gratuities up to $100 for voting?
UCA PRESIDENT LU HARDIN. He repaid a $300,000 bonus because of questions about the legality of the money used to pay him by university trustees. He'll get the bonus when the faculty gets a pay raise and private money is in hand to cover the $300,000. It was a good move to put the controversy to rest.
It was a bad week for …
DEMAGOGUES. The Higher Education Department check ordered by Gov. Mike Beebe found that an “infinitesimally small number” of unauthorized immigrants might — might — be receiving arguably unconstitutional in-state tuition rates at Arkansas colleges. What bloody shirt will the xenophobes wave now about the dastardly illegals who are supposedly sucking dollars out of Arkansas?
DWAYNE DOBBINS. The Arkansas Democratic Party adopted a rule that will bar plea bargainers like the would-be legislative candidate from the ballot. Will the rule slide around court precedent against political parties' tossing candidates they don't like? Will he sue given a coming House vote to accomplish the same end, but with more constitutional authority? Citizens should hope he'd go quietly.