The thread is open.
* EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT: Sen. Gilbert Baker’s meltdown. He pushed for a vote on his used cars sales tax reduction in House committee despite warnings the House wasn’t ready to pass it. He reacted angrily when it was tabled. And then he apparently reacted more angrily still in an afternoon radio talk show interview. Can the House-Senate Republican divide be reconciled? Democrats hope not. If it breaks down totally over a fight over a tax cut for rich people vs. Mike Beebe’s grocery tax reduction, Democrats win the session. If nothing passes, the governor has more money to spend and he wins the session. House Republicans think Senate Republicans are providing protection for Democratic Sen. Larry Teague, viewed as potentially vulnerable in the next election. I’d be the last to know. But to House and Senate Republicans I say, let’s you and him fight. Republicans Reps. John Burris and Davy Carter defended the House against Baker’s criticism on the radio Thursday afternoon. Burris apparently said accusing Republican Rep. Stephen Meeks for supporting bigger government, as Baker did, was like accusing Burris of jogging. Burris is comfortably sized. More from Roby Brock.
* IDENTIFY YOURSELF: Republican Rep. Bryan King pulled a favorite from the GOP legislative cookie-cutter factory today, a bill to require a photo ID to vote. That’s not so newsy; just typical. What’s interesting is that the Democratic Party promptly rapped King with a news release on how such legislation merely discourages voting, particularly among the young and elderly (which is, of course, the point.) Dems getting energized maybe? See release on jump.
* IDENTIFY YOURSELF II: Republican Sen. Michael Lamoureux has introduced a bill to require closed primaries. You could only vote in a Republican or Democratic primary as a registered voter of the party. You could remain independent and give up a vote until the general election. I think it’s a restriction on freedom that many won’t approve. Louisiana once had this system. It no longer does. It didn’t turn out too badly for Republicans down there. Open primaries benefitted Republicans most in 2010, when Republican-sympathy voters voted for D.C. Morrison and cost Bill Halter a win in the U.S. Senate primary.
* LOAN SHARKS FETE LEGISLATORS: Happen to see a big crowd of legislators and former House Speaker Robbie Wills at Arthur’s Prime Steakhouse in WLR last night? That was lobbyist Wills, wining and dining the Legislative Black Caucus, explaining to them the benefits to their constituents of legalizing 60 percent interest rates for the loan shops his clients want to set up here with legislative help.