Can't we all just get along?
Drama, drama, drama
It's the reason we're addicted to shows like Scandal. Political drama can keep us on the edge of our seats and our eyes glued to the television, but here in Arkansas, that's often where it stays...on the television.
For all the relentless bickering in Washington, Arkansas lawmakers on both sides of the aisle get along really well. At least, they did. There must have been something in the water last week because political drama was rampant...it all started when Governor Beebe left town.
Governor Beebe Goes to Washington
The Medicaid debate has been known to cause many a headache, but if you ask Governor Beebe, he might tell you those migraines get worse when your Lt. Governor gets involved. The governor boarded a plane bound for Washington about 7 o'clock on Feb. 22nd. Shortly after Beebe took to the skies, Lt. Governor Mark Darr chose to sign into law a bill Beebe had announced he would not sign.
The bill would have become law on Monday without Beebe's signature, but with Darr's signature, the names of those with an Arkansas concealed carry permit became private immediately. Under the Arkansas Constitution, Darr has the right to sign into law any bill when the governor is out of state.
He said, He said...
When he got back to Arkansas, Beebe told reporters, "It's totally inappropriate for [Darr] to sign it....We had a pretty decent relationship. Obviously, we'll be much more careful. You can't turn your back on people that are going to do stuff like that. You have to watch. You can't turn your back on them."
Darr wasted no time firing back saying, "If he thinks the Constitution of Arkansas is inappropriate, then that's his opinion, but I think that's kind of an inappropriate statement."
Beebe: "[Darr] embarrassed himself, so that's his problem...They elected me to be governor. We no what a Lt. Governor is. It's a part-time job."
Darr: "If he wants to work with me that's fine. If he chooses to sit in his office and get upset then that's fine with me too."
Jeopardy! Daily Doubletake
That wasn't the only feud inside the Capitol. Arkansas teen hero and all-around genius, Leonard Cooper won hearts and expanded minds as he dominated the Jeopardy! teen tournament. So, it was only natural for the legislature to honor him with a resolution...pretty non-controversial right? WRONG!
Speaking in support of the resolution, Little Rock Rep. John Walker said, "He is an ordinary teenager. He has an Afro. And for many of you here, he would be a threat. Remember that, and understand this: If we have good education and afford opportunities to our people, people like Leonard would be more readily presented in our public domain."
That little speech prompted some double takes and immediate Twitter backlash. Here are a few of the Tweets...Lobbyist Bradley Phillips kicked it off:
Justin Harris @harris4staterep AR State Rep. Walker needs to be called out for his racial tones and discrimination in the State House.
An official complaint
Representative Justin Harris filed an official complaint about Walker's speech with Rep. Jeremy Gillam. As of last check, Harris said he has no idea where in the process the complaint is at as of now.
Legislators that play together, stay together
An upcoming basketball game at the Jack Stephens Center might be just what these legislators need. The House vs. the Senate ballgame will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas.
It's sure to be a great match-up, so I'd recommend getting tickets now. The game is March 19 at 7 p.m.