Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'm Just Sayin'

Senator Teague and I had lunch today with a group of students from UACCH. It proved to be an enjoyable meal and each of the students seemed very appreciative of their first ever trip to our capitol. During lunch, the Senator made a request that I post something on the blog just so he didn't have to read the last posting of almost year ago. So here you are Senator.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rode Hard and Put Up Wet

Thanks to Rep. Monty Davenport for this installment of a worn out catch phrase for my title. But that's kind of the way everybody feels as today was the deadline for filing bills. More so for the staff and the folks in Legislative Research. Even though the number of filed bills are down from previous sessions, log-jams are pretty evident in the A committees. Still to be heard from is the final lottery bill, along with the grocery tax cut and lord knows what else lurks in the mind of this legislative body. I could certainly see a castle doctrine in my future. By the way, filing fewer bills is a good thing in my mind. The real work starts now.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Great Balls Of Fire

Jerry Lee Lewis would have been proud if he'd been in the House chamber yesterday, cause there was a whole lotta debatin goin on. Primary seat belt laws and the national popular vote were the primary culprits. Lively, spirited and passionate certainly fill the bill for describing those two issues. I voted the seat belts up and the popular vote down, which gave me a 1-1 record as both bills passed out. The highlight for me came when a motion for immediate consideration by Rep. Sample was voted down and the fur kept flying. I've always thought there was too little debate on the floor and in plenty of cases in committee, so I think everybody, including the gallery, enjoyed the back and forth.

I ran my district court bill along with a foster care transition bill on the floor today and both passed easily, with the only two dissenters being on the court bill. I have a pretty good sized Juvenile bill yet to run, along with a few others, and the filing deadline comes up a week from Monday. Appropriation bills are due Monday and the only thing I have in the hopper there is a request for funding at UACCH.

I had talked about filing a constitutional amendement extending term limits in the House from 3 terms to 4. But in the end there were several of those types filed, so we'll see if anything makes it out.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It Ain't Over Till The Fat Lady Sings

The session that is. She may be clearing her throat though. Today the Chairman of House Rules, Rep. Robert Moore, introduced a resolution that calls for adjournment on or about April 10th. We would come back on May 1st for Sine Die adjournment and that's it. Sounds good to me as long as we get everything tidied up with the appropriation bills. And that's not counting the federal stimulus money coming down the road. Still plenty of work to do, but I hope that April date becomes a reality.

Speaking of things not being over, you'd have to include the lottery legislation in that description. Although I do believe things are close to being finalized, and we'll be voting on a bill in the very near future.

And who wouldn't be ready for Razorback basketball season to be over. Although they did give us a couple of big thrills this year with the Texas and Oklahoma games. They were oh so close too many times, but just couldn't get over the hump when it came to SEC play. I hope the chemistry stays there, and next year this team can put some of those close games in the win column.

I, along with Senator Teague, and Representatives Cole and Stewart will be in Nashville on Saturday morning for a regional Farm Bureau breakfast. I look forward to being there and enjoying a big breakfast of pancakes and sausage.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ya Know What I'm Sayin

Maybe you do and maybe you don't, but it doesn't really matter since today I'm talking sports. Here's the deal (that may be my next catch phrase title): Rick Reilly of ESPN is doing a daily Mt. Rushmore of sports for each state. I haven't seen Arkansas's yet and I don't know what his criteria is for choosing, but I might as well weigh in. Here are the 4 people who I believe, should be on our Mt. Rushmore of sports.

Frank Broyles--Facilities, National championship and generally put the program on the map.
Brooks Robinson--Arguably greatest 3rd baseman of all time. No argument on defensive side.
Jermaine Taylor--Maybe, Maybe not, but only world champ from Arkansas.
Bear Bryant--Though Alabama will claim him, he rassled his bears in Fordyce.

Almost at the top: John McDonnell, Nolan Richardson,Sidney Moncrief, Dizzy Dean, Lance Alworth (I know he's from Mississippi), Lou Brock, and Clyde Scott. There you are. Not a definitive or empirical list, but it's mine. Maybe you have one too.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Heard That

As I continue with another worn out catch phrase for my title, here's what I'm hearing:

AG Dustin McDaniel proposed marriage, on Valentine's Day no less, to Ms. Bobbi Fowler of Jonesboro. That should formally disqualify the General from any future appearances on ABC'S "The Bachelor". Though I'm pleased to announce the upcoming nuptials, I'm fairly embarrassed that I know which network airs "The Bachelor".

My seatmate and good friend, Rep. Steve Harrelson, apparently announced his run for a Senate seat last night on Jessica Dean's channel 7 webcast. The seat is currently held by Senator Barbara Horn who is term limited. Way to go Steve- Bustin' it out on the world wide web.

What a privilege to have the former President here yesterday. It was also good for my wife, who worked in the early Clinton campaigns and served for 12 years as a parole board appointee. She had not seen him since before he announced for the presidency, and she was able to have a nice visit after all those years. Afterwards, Vigi treated me to lunch and she sat in on yesterday's session. Late in the day we cruised out to Baby's R Us and bought out the store for our 13 month old great niece, Sandra Grace. We ended the day with dinner and friends at Brave New Restaurant. We headed home about 9:00 and this is what I heard: Honey, this was really a nice day. I agreed.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

President Clinton In The House

Former President Bill Clinton will address a joint meeting of the Legislature on Wednesday morning at 10 am. Most of us have seen Mr. Clinton on several occassions over the years, but I consider it an honor to be sitting on the front row while a former President of the United States talks to me and my colleagues. Security will be tight and I am looking forward to the day.

The tobacco tax bill was signed by the Governor today at 2:30, and I, along with several other Senators and Representatives, attended the news conference. Like everyone else who voted for the tax, and the healthcare initiative attached, I've taken a fair amount of heat on my vote. In the end, I'm glad the money will be there for much needed healthcare problems, but I also understand the position of those who voiced opposition. I doubt it was an easy vote for any of the 75 Reps or 28 Senators who sent this to the Governor. I'm sure everybody had a better idea on how to fund the proposals, but HB1204 was the legislation presented and nothing else really had a chance to get any traction. That's the reality of it, and if you're the Governor, and you get the Speaker and President Pro Tem to go along with it, chances are you're going to pass the legislation. Politics 101. So most of us had to decide the greater good; though many of us weren't comfortable raising taxes on a specific group in uncertain economic times. Issues here aren't always black and white, even though some would have you believe otherwise. It's time now to make sure the money gets to those who need it and the 200 lives saved becomes a reality.