A good word for Arkansas Republicans. Sen. Gilbert Baker carried the bill beaten in committee yesterday to close the instant exit to the lobby for lawmakers and other public employees. A senator who is more or less already an in-house lobbyist for an association of state-funded service providers, Sen. Randy Laverty, was among those quite open about being reluctant to shut the door to converting legislative pay into a new lobbying job, if need be. He understands that lawmakers begin negotiations on these deals while lawmaking. They don’t have much to negotiate with if forced to wait a year after leaving office to look for lobby work.
Also, another Repub, Sen. Kim Hendren spoke the most sense in opposition to the bill that would allow public officials to keep up to twice their annual pay from campaign surpluses for loosely defined political uses. These funds are already an outrageous slush fund and incumbent protection measure. The bill, by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, would only double the insult. This bill, of course, got favorable committee consideration.
Noted: Afterward, McDaniel said he would drop the slush fund doubling from the bill. On account of “confusion.” What will be left is a prohibition on absentee lobbying, in which lawmakers dine out on the credit card of an absent lobbyist. They will still have their way to slop the hogs.
ALSO: I forgot to single out one Republican, Bill Pritchard, for bad behavior. He’s another desperate to hang on to potential lobby loot. The Fayettevillage Voice gives him what-for, along with a photo of hogs at the trough.