Feb 19, 2014
Pitching Fits, Buying Votes
Senator Jane English didn’t surprise many in the Faulkner County Tea Party with her newly announced “YES” switch vote on funding the private option. Senator English explained her decision on the Alice Stewart Show (talk radio 96.5 FM The Voice), adding, “a lot of folks are going to hate me” for voting now to fund...
Senator English explained her decision on the Alice Stewart Show (talk radio 96.5 FM The Voice), adding, “a lot of folks are going to hate me” for voting now to fund the private option.
Now the rumors are about what will be offered and what will be accepted by the “Arkansas 27” — the House members who, as of today, have now voted twice to reject the state HHS budget including the private option program.
And to make it all more interesting, AFP-Arkansas told the House it “would not score” the private option votes in the fiscal session, causing grassroots activists to “pitch a fit,” as some are saying.
Speaking of pitching fits, seems the Democrats are having their own fits in the halls of the State Capitol:
“Depending on how things move forward (today), we will be actively looking at other appropriations in the Joint Budgt COmmittee that we feel comfortable as a caucus putting our foot down on, “says Democrat Rep. Joe Jett.
“And, depending on (Wednesday’s) vote, we may move to eliminate the amendments (to the private option) approved last week. We were under the impression that those would move Republican votes, and many of us made compromises we were not entirely comforable with because of that. We saw one vote move and that is not acceptable.“
It’s the “Bell amendment” that Jett speaks of, and so far Rep. Nate Bell is the only original “no” House vote who has switched now to “yes.” Other votes that switched from “yes” to “no” so far: Rep. Ann Clemmer, Rep. Les Carnine, Rep. John Hutchison, Rep. Allen Kerr, and Rep. Mary Slinkard.
On Tuesday, Rep Mark Lowery voted present, protesting “too much politics in this decision”:
“I still believe in the basic merits of this, but there has been too much politics in this decision, part of that being a push for the House to vote first. Two senators were the architects of this thing, and the Senate should have voted first.
I’m hearing in discussions that might happen. I felt like that message needed to be sent.”
When asked about English’s switch vote, Senator Bryan King said, “The Governor has a lot of money and a lot of bully tactics, and he is used to using it to get his way.”
Gov. Beebe, of course, disagreed: “This is negotiating for all sorts of things. I don’t buy votes. That’s not to say that we haven’t agreed in the past to throw my support for certain things in exchange for a vote.“