The limitations on a budget session’s legislative topics reduce the number of lobby lice that otherwise cluster around lawmakers with drinks and eats, but not entirely.

Despite the alleged limit on wining and dining placed in the Constitution with leadership from felony-charged former Republican Sen. Jon Woods, a special event can be declared at which the full General Assembly may meet but which house leadership deems is not open to the public. The idea: lobbying lubricated by free swill.


Host tonight: The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, with a “big tent” party on its parking lot near the Capitol. The tent is not big enough to hold garden variety citizens who oppose the business lobby agenda. I’ll bet, though, that the attendees include many local chamber of commerce officials who — I kid you not — have salaries subsidized by poor folks’ sales taxes. Little Rock is a shining example.  This, too, was a scheme cooked up by the felony-charged Republican Sen. Woods.

They won’t be talking about your right to a jury trial and recompense for damages from a medical butcher or negligent nursing home. Nor will they be talking about protecting your city from freeway blight. They’re more likely to be talking about finding more ways to put taxpayer money in the wallets of private business. But NOT in the pockets of poor citizens, because giving THEM money is a disincentive to honest toil. Handouts to the good suits (and they ARE predominantly white males, see the maybe six women and one African-American on the six dozen names listed as Chamber officers) are considered far more productive. They trickle down handsomely on lobbyists, you may be sure.


If you want to drive by and get a whiff of what’s cooking, the hours are 4:30-6:30 p.m., near Capitol Avenue and Cross Street.