Groundhog Day at the Legislature:
Why the Rush?
Governor Hutchinson’s plan to tackle the Private Option issue early in the 90th General Session is proving to be an effective way to stonewall conservative opponents of big government in Arkansas. A stroke of political genius, they say.
They also say timing is everything. Our new Governor understands that well.
In early November he asked voters for time, effectively squashing all public discussion by requesting our “patience” until he unveiled his plan on January 22. He had at least two and a half months to work without the “interference” of dealing with voters’ opinions.
Now the plan is public, Senator Hendren and other supporters are pushing enabling legislation through committees to a final vote within a short few days, thereby “putting this issue to bed early in the 90th General Session.”
Why aren’t the taxpaying voters getting the same consideration of time now the Governor’s plan is unveiled? Where’s the interaction of lawmakers with their constituents to explain and discuss their approach to determine whether the voters are supportive of the plan?
As one activist said
SB96 has obviously been rushed through purposely. Republican leaders connived to get this bill out before anyone had any time to file bills to actually repeal the Private Option and suspended rules and ran roughshod over new conservative legislators and the people.
Governor Hutchinson didn’t even tell us where he stood until just before the SB96 was filed, giving legislators no chance to mount any resistance. It was a brilliant strategy on their part.
Legislators voting for SB96 have been highly critical of this “rushing a bill through” Washington technique they are now using to get this bill through quickly. This fact alone should be enough to cause legislators to vote against SB96.
Neither we the voters nor the Governor’s plan supporters can know for certain where all this will lead two years from now, but one thing is clear today: This rush to approve the Governor’s plan pretty much disregards long-held factual concerns and real input from grassroots activists and by so doing, severely discourages and disappoints many conservative taxpayers.
Timing is everything, just ask the groundhog. This certainly feels like Groundhog Day, only this time with a Republican majority!