The fix is in. When the deeply split Arkansas House passes something 71-12, you know something is amiss.
This would be the proposed constitutional amendment to open the door to a legislative pay raise, enshrine expenses-paid junketing and lobbyist-financed dining in the Arkansas Constitution, exempt current legislators who don’t run again from a revolving-door lobbyist rule and, oh yeah, do a little something or other about ethics.
They call it ethics reform. It pretty well craps on the citizen-initiated ethics reform statute passed a couple of decades ago, something one of the architects of that law told legislative sponsors in a detailed memo this week. They instantly disregarded the input. Too late to make good law.
In honor of this bait-and-switch, I give you my column this week early on the jump. With the payday lending blood-suckers’ friend, Sen. Jon Woods, as sponsor, it’ll be excreted by the Senate swiftly. Will the chamber of commerce provide some money to pass this Trojan horse when it hits the 2014 ballot? Rent-to-own is their motto, so I’d say so. I guess I’ll be bedding down with a few principled teabaggers and the term limits lobby on this one. Hell, I’d take Nate Bell’s symbolic gun nuttery amendment over something like this, which does actual ill.