Some morning odds and ends:
* LITTLE ROCK IN COURT I: Here’s a copy of the city of Little Rock’s response to the lawsuit over the bungling of a 911 call that led to the death of a woman trapped in frigid water after her SUV slid off an icy road. The accident left her young children with permanent brain injury. It’s essentially a general denial and rests mostly on the city’s claim of immunity from lawsuit under state statute. The lawsuit by Dayong Yang on behalf of his child mounts a constitutional challenge to the city’s statutory protection, which effectively prevents redress of injury. There is no claims commission for alternate compensation when a city screws up, unlike the state Claims Commission for wrongs done by state employees.
* LITTLE ROCK IN COURT II: Federal Judge Brian Miller yesterday dismissed Police Chief Stuart Thomas and the police from a lawsuit over the shooting death of an elderly man in his apartment after police officers, Tabitha McCrillis and Donna Lesher, working off-duty security entered the apartment to check on him. The suit against the officers was allowed to go to trial. I’ve asked City Attorney Tom Carpenter why the city is continuing to represent the officers and asserting an immunity claim for them in private off-duty work. in appealing the order keeping them in the case along with the apartment complex owner who hired them. Here’s Carpenter’s response on continued defense of the officers in a private job:
While they were off-duty, they could not work the job without our permission, and only subject to our policies. They are never employees of the entity, but always LRPD. They are subject to discipline, and we have found out they are subject to our workers comoros and several other things.
So, if something happens off duty in police related work, and we find they acted in accordance with our policies, we defend them and AML basically covers them.
* STATE IN COURT: Federal Judge Billy Roy Wilson has informed parties in a case over a state law that prevents a Hope doctor from the Medicaid program that he’d been working daily on a request for a temporary injunction against the law. He wrote that he’d hoped to rule in the week just ended, but said, “I will enter the order as soon as I can be satisfied with what I should rule.” The lawsuit is by Dr. Lonnie Joseph Parker. He was singled out by the legislature for loss of a significant part of his practice serving Medicaid patients because he served a federal sentence for possession of child pornography. The state Medical Board approved his ability to enter a full medical practice.
* MARRIAGE EQUALITY/ANOTHER SETBACK: The attorney general yesterday again rejected the form of one of the proposals circulating to undo the state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage or civil union.
* A CONSERVATIVE PUSH FOR IMMIGRATION LAW: The New York Times reports here on a Washington lobbying push by conservatives and evangelicals for immigration reform legislation, including some compassion for illegal students. It highlights a Republican Party rift on the subject, with opponents in the House likely strong enough to kill any reform legislation for at least another year.
Some Arkansans are participating in the push, including state Rep. Mark Lowery of Maumelle, representatives of the Little Rock and Arkansas chambers of commerce and Mike Roberts, a member of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
Their news release follows.
On October 28-29, business, faith, and conservative leaders from Arkansas will travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with key members of the Arkansas congressional delegation to discuss the economic imperative of passing meaningful immigration reform this year and urge lawmakers to support bipartisan legislation that will strengthen America’s economy and create jobs.
Participants in the Washington fly-in include:
· Allison Johnson, Red Tusk Campaigns
· Buddy Fisher, Buddy Fisher Ministries, Inc.
· Chalmer Wayland, Red Tusk Campaigns
· State Rep. Mark Lowery, UCA Communications Professor
· Jay Chessir, Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce
· Andrew Parker, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce
· Mike Roberts, Roberts Law Firm, Commissioner – Arkansas Economic Development Commission – Technology Committee Chair
· Jeffery Hall, Arkansas Farm Bureau
“In my capacity as Commissioner of Arkansas Economic Development Commission and Managing Partner of Roberts Law Firm, I work internationally as well as here in Arkansas, and it has become very clear to me that the current immigration system in place in the United States is out of date and flawed. The system has impeded too many honest, hard-working people who would be able to bring great benefits to our state as well as our country. In addition, the current system hinders economic development and job creation. This system needs to be updated. I will be traveling to Washington to urge our Members of Congress to ensure that comprehensive immigration reform is passed this year so we can create jobs and help grow the U.S. economy.”
Mike Roberts, Roberts Law Firm, Commissioner – Arkansas Economic Development Commission – Technology Committee Chair
“I have over 25 years of professional experience that includes start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, and it has become very clear to me that the current immigration system in place in the United States is broken. I have personally seen the immigration system from the perspective of the illegal immigrant, the legal immigrant, and as a natural born U.S. citizen. The current system discourages compliance and impedes too many honest, hard-working people who would bring great benefits to our state and country. The system is no longer functioning to meet the needs of our country. I will be traveling to Washington to urge our Members of Congress to ensure that comprehensive immigration reform is passed this year so we can create jobs and help grow the U.S. economy. “
Chalmer G. Wayland III, Partner – Red Tusk Consulting
These community leaders and others will be advocating for the passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation that incorporates the following principles:
· Increased access to high-skill visas that will meet the demands of our growing economy.
· Making low-skill, temporary visas easier to obtain, so that the agricultural industry may have access to critical seasonal workers when needed.
· Border security must be included as a centerpiece of the legislation.
· An employer “e-verify” verification process that will ensure all employers follow the law without having to deal with unnecessary burdens.
· A solution for addressing currently undocumented immigrants, especially the children who have grown up in America and were brought here through no fault of their own.
The Arkansas leaders are heading to Washington as part of the “Americans for Reform: Immigration Reform for our Economy, Faith, and Security” event. The event is a joint effort being organized by the Partnership for a New American Economy, Bibles Badges and Business, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and FWD.us.
About the Partnership for a New American Economy
The Partnership for a New American Economy brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic, and Independent mayors and business leaders who support sensible immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today. The Partnership’s members include mayors of more than 35 million people nationwide and business leaders of companies that generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people across all sectors of the economy, from Agriculture to Aerospace, Hospitality to High Tech, and Media to Manufacturing. Partnership members understand that immigration is essential to maintaining the productive, diverse, and flexible workforce that America needs to ensure prosperity over the coming generations. Learn more at www.RenewOurEconomy.org.