Thursday, January 26, 2006

Holt Presents Ethics Reform Package for Special Session

State Senator Jim Holt of Springdale, a candidate for Lt. Governor, unveiled his long-rumoured ethics package today. Holt called on Governor Huckabee to add ethics reform to the agenda of the upcoming special session.

The bill would prevent lobbyists from buying legislators "even one cup of coffee". Currently legislators are constantly wined and dined by lobbyists. It would also...

(Click time below for rest of article.)


Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

prohibit a legislator from working for a lobbying firm for two years after the end of their legislative terms. Holt said "there are cases of legislators voting for special interests, then resigning from their seats in the middle of a term to go work for lobbyists or those same firms."

“I have witnessed firsthand the unseemly way in which business between lobbyists and lawmakers is conducted at the state Capitol,” Holt wrote Huckabee.

“The influence of moneyed interests is now so powerful that ordinary citizens lack a place at the table even when they would be directly affected by bills under consideration,” Holt said in the letter. He added, “My proposal would force a change in this culture, in which lobbyists repeatedly take legislators to fine restaurants and treat them to food and drink.”

Several legislative reform proposals have been made by candidates for other offices, but none is as advanced as the Holt proposal. The bill has already been drafted and filed.

The recent scandal surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramoff has produced a climate in which it is the right time to do something he has been thinking about for a while, Holt said. Holt has a reputation as a reformer. Former capitol correspondent Grant Merrill once referred to Holt as "the most credible member of the legislature on reform".

He was the sole senate sponsor of a bill that demanded financial transparancy for expendatures from political parties. This did not endear him to some of the insider operatives in either party, including his own. He also voted against his own pay raise on at least three occaisions, once demanding a role call vote. This did not go over too well with some of his senate colleauges who would have preferred the pay raise to occur under the cloak of a voice vote.

The ball is now squarely in the court of Governor Mike Huckabee. There is little doubt that this reform is something that the people want. It would also benefit all Republican nominees to take the lead on lobby reform by releasing some of the pressure on the GOP from the Abramoff scandal.

Special interests are likely to oppose the measure, but they are not likely to make the case that the measure should be voted down because it is a bad idea. Instead, look for them to try to slime the messenger. The question will be if the people are able to see through the coming smear job and help Holt push the reforms through.

10:48 AM, January 26, 2006  
Blogger Bob said...

Jim -

You're doing a great job getting your information out. Keep it up!

Bob Rutz

9:11 PM, January 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now we will see if Holt can pass it or at lest make a big fuss and get in the side of the people. The problem is he has angered the governor and he is label not to help Holt. The think Holt needs if friends who can help him, but he has turned off most of the leading Republicans. The ball is in the governor's court, but why should he help Holt out?

2:31 PM, January 27, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He has angered the Gov. by opposing the Governor's ill-considered plan to tax people in order to provide college scholarships for people who are here illegally. He has also angered the Governor by opposing the Governor's ill-considerd bond issue.

In both cases, the electorate overwhelmingly agrees with Holt. The Gov. would do a lot better working with Holt on this one. Let's hope the people that say the Gov. is too vindictive to work with someone who has stood up to him are wrong. The people want this, and certain Republicans in this state need this.

6:28 PM, January 27, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now if he can only raise money. Then he would be considered. But until he starts raising money he won't be taken seriously.

1:05 PM, January 28, 2006  
Blogger terrymcdermott said...

He better be taken seriously right now. Holt did pretty good against Lincoln with little money. In this race he does not face a stong opponent like Lincoln. I think he knows the Governor will not consider his proposal. And this will only hurt Huckabee in his run for the White House, which is nothing but a big joke.

7:11 PM, January 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fix that picture of Holt. You have it distorted so that it makes him look fat.

9:54 AM, January 31, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This works well for Jim, doesn't he get most of his money from my wallet. Wolf in sheep's clothing!!!!!!! and very bad for the state of Arkansas.

5:27 PM, February 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He gets paid the same amount the other state senators get paid. But he was one of two(?) senators who voted against a legislator pay increase.

He's consistent in his belief of small government.

2:28 PM, February 15, 2006  
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