June 24-30, 2009
It was a GOOD week for …
The ENVIRONMENT. The state Court of Appeals ruled that SWEPCO shouldn't have been issued a construction permit for a coal-fired generating plant in Hempstead County.
HIGH-STAKES GAMBLING. SWEPCO said it will appeal the power plant ruling and keep pouring millions into construction in hopes that the Supreme Court won't have the courage to disallow a nearly-built plant.
PUBLIC HEALTH. A new state law took effect that makes failure to wear a seat belt a primary offense. That is, people not wearing them may be ticketed only for that, not incidentally after a stop for another violation.
U.S. REP. VIC SNYDER. Alone among the Arkansas House delegation, he voted for legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gases.
The LITTLE ROCK SCHOOL BOARD. It was united in hiring a consulting group to develop a plan to improve district management and raise student achievement.
GOV. MIKE BEEBE. His influential voice was added to those who think the new state lottery shouldn't include state-licensed keno parlors along with ticket sales. The new law, by indirect reference, allows keno. Some legislators clearly had contemplated the casino-style game as part of the lineup of offerings, a fact overlooked by most during the debate.
It was a BAD week for …
CIRCUIT JUDGE WILLARD PROCTOR. A state disciplinary panel voted 9-0 that he should be removed from the bench for unethical behavior highlighted in a series of articles in the Arkansas Times. He will continue to work while the state Supreme Court considers the recommendation.
TURTLES. Despite a declining commercial harvest and a move away from trapping in other states, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission shows reluctance to limit the turtle harvest. Commissioner Craig Campbell grumped about testimony from out-of-state experts in support of a turtle harvest ban and suggested it was the leading edge of an attack on hunting and fishing.