GET OUT THE SALT: For Sen. Mark Johnson's Little Rock government legislation.

Final day legislative fireworks could include legislation with serious impact on Little Rock, though neither of two bills is sponsored by a resident of the city.

The House City, County and Local Affairs Committee will meet after adjournment to consider two Senate-passed bills. One is SB 411, Sen. Gary Stubblefield’s bill to prohibit “sanctuary cities,” of which there are none in Arkansas. But it could allow investigations of — and loss of money to — cities accused of coddling immigrants, conceivably even by policies meant only to provide a little comfort. As I mentioned earlier, at least one city director, Trumpian Republican Lance Hines, is a critic of the city’s identification card program for resident immigrants.


The other bill is directly about Little Rock. It is SB 179 by Sen. Mark Johnson, a Republican who lives in Ferndale outside the city of Little Rock, that would provide a mechanism for the City Board to refer to voters a change in government to mayor-council.  It mandates that approval of the proposal would result in creation of a 12-member city council — two from each of six wards, where there are now 10 board members — three elected at large and seven from wards.

I’ve attempted to learn if the city of Little Rock’s mayor or staff lobbyist supports this legislation and whether the city will be heard this afternoon. No responses so far. The bill appears far down the director-circulated list of bills the lobbyist is watching, but no evaluation of it is included. Legislation from Mark Johnson, protector of Confederate statues, defender of anti-immigrant legislation, an opponent of local control of the Little Rock School District and generally a far-right Republican, should be taken with large doses of salt from Little Rock people. He’s not working in the interest of a diverse and progressive city.


Would the legislature really pass a bill affecting Little Rock that Little Rock didn’t want by someone who doesn’t live in Little Rock? If the majority Republican body thought it was harmful to Democratic-voting Little Rock, count on it.

Let me remind you again that Johnson claimed dishonestly in a recent Senate hearing to have the Little Rock School District in his Senate district. He doesn’t.  Here’s his Senate District 15.