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Out of step


Republican legislators as a group favor deregulation of corporations and strict regulation of individuals. They would free a company from all zoning laws, and deny a woman any authority over her own body. The right to bear arms is the only individual right they care for.

It was surprising then to see Rep. Randy Alexander (R-Springdale) deviating from the party line. Addressing a bill to allow the sale of unpasteurized milk, Alexander said, according to news accounts, that "people should be able to put anything into their body they want to." He continued: "Will there be an idiot that causes a problem for himself and others? Sure, you can't fix stupid." Alexander sounds like a closet supporter of medical marijuana, perhaps of legalized marijuana generally, although his party has been strongly on the other side of that question, steadfast in trying to keep people from putting things into their bodies, and punishing them if they do. The putative front-runner for the Republican gubernatorial nomination next year is a man ardently opposed to letting people decide these matters for themselves. Maybe Alexander can talk some sense, and some mercy, into Asa Hutchinson.

Hutchinson is a former U.S. drug czar known for sending federal agents after cancer sufferers who used marijuana to relieve their pain. He recently joined other discredited drug warriors in asking the Justice Department to stop Colorado and Washington from allowing the sale of marijuana, although the voters of those states have approved the sales. Alexander's work will be cut out for him; "mean" is hard to fix too.

Rep. Allen Kerr (R-Little Rock) also is at odds with his party, apparently. Speaking for a bill to require that special elections be held in May or November, when primary and general elections are held, Kerr said that cities and counties had scheduled elections for times when they knew the vote would be light, "trying to control the outcome of the election, and in my opinion that's completely un-American and just wrong."

Kerr's criticism could be applied with equal validity to a Republican-sponsored bill requiring photo identification from voters. That bill (SB 2) is intended to control the outcome of elections by reducing the number of voters likely to vote Democratic — minorities, the elderly, the poor. (And yet Kerr is recorded, inexplicably, as voting for SB 2, seemingly having fallen into error and un-Americanism himself. What was it Rep. Alexander said?)

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