Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Finding the Jewels in Committee Hearings


State Rep. Mark Martin, the House Minority Whip, is known for providing a running commentary on the happenings at various legislative committees on which he sits. It is a valuable service. Even if sorting through the raw data is a bit tedious, it is important that someone make this information available to the public. My value-added service: find a couple of gems in the often dull events.
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Martin on the cost of the long-running school desegregation case (where federal courts have ordered the rest of the state to give additional money to the Little Rock school district): "3:30 pm – I just recieved a printout prepared by the Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research, the total actual expenditures is $845,504,403.00 ! That will be more than a BILLION before the next session is complete."

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Martin again, on who has the best lawyers: "3:28 pm – I have to give it to the Little Rock School District credit. They have played this well. They have established that they are unitary, which is required for them to say that they are actually doing their job. So they have covered their asses, and have countered that the State of Arkansas has not done it’s job so we still have to be giving them money. Apparently the school districts have better lawyers than the State of Arkansas does."

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Senator Kim Hendren (to listen to the media you would think all he ever does is make gaffes, but he has some jewels here): "Sen. Hendren made the point that there is no motivation for the parties involved to resolve the issue and take care of the things that need to be done to achieve unitary status because they will lose funding once it is done. He made the point that we need to be proactive to move forward."

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Martin and NO WAY OUT: "3:35 pm – Lawyers make me nuts. The sit here talking legal mumbo jumbo acting like they want one thing, when really they are not seeking a solution at all. The sole purpose is to keep the money flowing. There is no way out of this through the normal legal process. The only way the state will ever be out of this is by an initiated act that forces a supreme court decision."

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