Monday, July 03, 2006

Give Credit Where Due: One Saw Issues Coming

Last week should have been a great week for one state-wide candidate. Two issues dominated the political news last week. They seemed to catch everyone by surprise. Amazingly, there is one candidate for statewide office who actually anticipated both problems and in each case sponsored a bill doing exactly what a near-consensus now agrees needs to be done. I'd call that significant, and it should not pass without notice.

Issue One: The courts ruled that the state department of child services lacked the authority to unilaterally declare a ban on homosexual foster parenting. Therefore, the policy preventing homosexuals from adopting or becoming foster parents is now rescinded. As soon as the court issued it's ruling, politicans from across the specturm (except for "Hollywood Halter" - fresh in from the West Coast) clucked about how something ought to be done.

One candidate actually saw this coming and tried to do something about it in the 05 session. Senator Jim Holt was the sole senate sponsor of this bill (with Representative Bob Adams) to do exactly what most everyone this side of Brummett agrees needs to be done- write a law protecting children from homosexuals indulging their whims to have "families" at the expense of disadvantaged children. I can't recall any of the other politicians who are now remonstrating about this insanity lending Holt and Adams a hand at the time this bill was stuck in committee.

(click "Monday" below and scroll down for rest of story, or if sent straight here just scroll down).

9 Comments:

Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

The bill never made it to the floor of the Senate (where it doubtless would have been passed) because it got sent to a committee where four liberal senators bottled it up.

Holt has noted that as Lt. Governor, he would have the authority to keep the bill committee-assignment process from being abused like that. This has also been one of his "big five" issues for his legislative package. That is, it is one of five issues he has threatened to take to the people in a ballot petition drive should the legislature fail to pass something like it in 07.

This did not catch Holt by surprise as it seems to have caught some of the others. Though I really did not expect the Establishment media to give him credit for seeing this one coming, let the blogosphere record show that he foresaw this madness coming and tried to stop it.

The second issue is even more subtle. Most casual observors of politics last week were scratching their heads at the news that Independent Rod Bryan was going to make the ballot as a candidate for Governor, but a man with a much better resume for the job (former state representative Jim Lendall) was going to be denied ballot access even though he had far more petition signatures than Bryan.

The reason? Bryan filed as an independent and Lendall filed as a candidate for a third party (the Greens). Does it seem a little screwy to you that the state can have tougher ballot access requirements depending on who you want to associate with? Well, that is the way federal courts since 1996 have seen it also. They have twice given an opinion that Arkansas' ballot access laws are an unconstitutional violation of the 14th amendment- specifically citing the differing signature levels in dual requirements for ballot access.

The ACLU is taking the state to court, marking the one and only time in state history that the majority of Arkansans will believe that organization to be in the right. Everyone from Jason Willett to Clint Reed was quoted in the papers as saying how fine it would be to have better ballot access!

Well, they had their chance in the 05 legislative session. Amazingly, one man saw this coming and filed a bill to do exactly what a near consensus of the public (and the federal courts) think needs to be done! Even more amazingly, that one man was the same one man that saw the other thing coming!

That's right. Senator Jim Holt filed SB1112 in 05- "The Equal Ballot Access Act". If you want to read it yourself stick this in your browser'
http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/ftproot/bills/2005/public/SB1112.pdf

Now federal judges have been telling our legislature they needed to fix this for ten years. Common sense says it is not right. Yet before it hit the newspapers, Jim Holt seemed to be the only legislator interested in fixing this in 05. The bill died because none of them were interested in extending 14th amendment protections to people who were not Democrats or Republicans.

Jim Holt has a reputation of being willing to check and balance the courts when they are wrong. Some poltical gas-bags have talked about how "dangerous" it is to not follow the court blindly no matter how insane or unreasonalbe their edicts. They try to label Holt "extreme" because he does not go along with that thinking.

Let the record show that none of the gas-bags that ping on him over the courts showed up to help Holt pass this bill so that the state could comply with ten years of federal court rulings. Let the record show that Holt was the one who tried to comply with the court rulings, and the Constitution.

What really sticks in my craw is that some of these same bloviates claimed that they had "no choice" but to hurry up and rush through a tax-increase and a school consolidation plan because "the courts have spoken". They don't seem to care when the courts speak to them to open up ballot access, they only claim they have to obey the courts when it grows government and centralizes control!

As an added side bonus to Holt's decision to sponsor this bill, Attorney General Mike Bebee's office helped kill the bill when they issued an opinion that current Arkansas law complied with the Judges' rulings and thus Holt's bill was not needed. Now that Bebee has been put on record, he is going to have to go back before the same judge who said the law was unconstitutional and tell him that he is wrong!

I know Mike Bebee will lose this case, I just don't know how testy the judge will be at over a decade of foot dragging on his rulings. I guess my only question is whether or not the judge will order AG Bebee to be clapped in irons and perp-walked out of the court room for contempt.

But I digress! My main point is to give credit where it is due. This week is an instructive example: the problem is not that Holt is an extemeist, its not that he writes bad bills, its that sometimes he sees so far ahead that the myopic politicos around him can't see what he sees- they think he is hallucentating!

5:27 PM, July 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other state wide Republcan candidates were not in the legislature, but the Hutchinson twins co-sponsored the bill.

5:30 PM, July 03, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Well, the other state-wide Republican candidates are STILL not in the legislature, but that did not stop them last week from coming out for a bill like the one Holt sponsored in 05. They could have come out for it then too.

Still, the article is aimed at Holt's critics, not the other state-wide Republican candidates. Did you see the previous thread where Wickline quotes several Democratic Senators on Holt? It is guys like that which are so irritating?

5:38 PM, July 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Click on the link to the first bill, it only has Adams and Holt as sponsors.

5:39 PM, July 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I can't recall any of the other politicians who are now remonstrating about this insanity lending Holt and Adams a hand at the time this bill was stuck in committee."

that has to be aimed in part at Huckabee

5:43 PM, July 03, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Obviously those in office at the time the bill was considered are the ones with the prime responsibility to speak out and use their influence to make it happen. The things they really care about, they make happen.

5:45 PM, July 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, Paron was in the news too, Holt has been the rural school's big defender. Some others are in their with him, but it should be mentioned in an article like this.

5:56 PM, July 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly. Seems like Asa and Jim Holt are the only candidates who care about the rural school issue and actually have ideas for education.

6:49 PM, July 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Mike Bebee's "faith based" platform for education, or any other issue? "I believe in Arkansas" as the answer for any question. I actually saw a sign in Washington County today that said "I believe in Arkanas" in big print. It had mikebebee.com in tiny print at the bottom.

8:17 PM, July 04, 2006  

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