Legislator Reveals Superpowers Even Beyond Those of the Governor
Why is this man smiling? Maybe because he can change laws without following rules?
Is your legislator one of the regular legislators who must abide by the rules of their chamber, or are they one of the special ones to whom the rules do not apply? The answer could determine whether they have to go through the normal process to get the laws of this state changed or whether they can change them using their own methods for fun and profit. Falling into the "special" category is Senator, and President Pro Tem, Jonathan Dismang (R) Beebe.
To give you an idea of just how "special" Senator Dismang is, I want you to recall when Governor Hutchinson recently pulled his shenanigans on funding the Medicaid Budget with his version of Obamacare within it. He could not get the necessary votes for a bill which funded his plan. So, in a scheme too bizarre to be a House of Cards script he directed Team Red to pass an appropriation bill which funded his plan, but also contained a provision which defunded his plan. That gave a couple of the fence-sitters the cover they needed to approve the Obamacare funding. He then line-item vetoed the part of the bill which defunded it, leaving the part which funded it intact.
At the time there was a giant dust up about whether that was legal, because the Governor only had authority to line-item veto appropriation items, and vetoing the line which cut the funding was not an appropriation. They tinkered with the language in an effort to mollify the critics, and so far have gotten away with it, but the move was highly controversial because of the bright red line between appropriations and changes to the law itself. Even the Governor can draw heat for crossing that line- it does not matter if it is for so subtle a violation as that described above.
Well, Dismang's X-man power seems to be that he can crash through that line with impunity. It seems no one can or will call him on it, be it the Establishment Media, the Governor, his fellow legislators, or what have you. It falls on your humble blogger to reveal to you the extent of this mighty-mutant's potentially extra-legal powers.
You see prior to Dismang deciding it was a bad idea, Arkansas insurers got a tax credit for providing health insurance to their own employees. Obviously Arkansas Blue Cross was the big beneficiary on that one, with their having so many more employees in the state. Well, Senator Dismang put a provision in an appropriation bill last session which deleted that tax credit language from Arkansas law. And his language passed without a whimper of protest.
Now some of you may be thinking "That's not an appropriation, that is changing the legal code. It's a change in the law. How can he do that in an appropriation bill? I mean even the Governor got raked over the coals when he sets a foot over that line. This makes the line seem like its not even there." Yes, that's my point. Either a powerful mutant walks among us, or our legislature is that mucked up so that some members have to follow the "rules" and others do not in order to change the law.
Now your humble blogger takes note of the fact that on paper this loss of tax credit would seem to hurt Arkansas Blue Cross, and yet they are big supporters of the Senator. To the point where they hired a highly qualified lobbyist whose qualifications included being the Senator's long-time buddy. I don't think he would knowingly do anything to hurt them. It is my guess that this is simply a small part of the giant welfare fraud that Arkansas' ruling class is perpetrating against federal taxpayers. The fraud is so systemic to the "Arkansas Works" and "Private" Option plan that I don't think the program can be sustained without the dollars obtained by fraud.
It is my guess, and I would like a full time media person to investigate this, that there is some arcane provision in Obamacare where FEDGOV does not pay the health care costs of a person if their employer gets a tax credit from the state for providing the coverage. So by eliminating the tax credit we simply get the feds to foot the bill. Arkansas Blue Cross is not harmed because they just get the money from the feds instead of the state. That is kind of cheesy, but its not a huge deal. The huge deal is the way it was done- without objection from anybody.
This is one of the many problems with electing legislators by party. Those at the top of the party hierarchy make the rules and ignore the rules when it suits them. It is my view that almost all legislators should be elected as independents, or at least via a different political organization than that which elects the Executive Branch candidates. It is the only way to keep up the tension between the branches that the Founders wanted instead of collusion among branches to act in the interest of a political machine run out of state and funded by global money.