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Arkansas Week January 24, 2014

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(Option(s)) If the Arkansas versions is in trouble, how much trouble? (UA/F) If the trustees see an end what kind of end? (Ballot) The amendment quandary, a way out? (Farm) And four-dollar milk, a way around it?

TRANSCRIPT

HELLO AGAIN EVERYONE.  THANKS FOR JOINING US FOR ARKANSAS WEEK..  CALENDAR PAGE IS FLIPPING OVER TOWARD FEBRUARY 10 WHEN THE FISCAL SESSION OF THE ARKANSAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY SITS AND THEN THE PRIVATE OPTION COMES UP FOR RENEWAL AND THAT'S WHERE WE WILL BEGIN TONIGHT. STEVE BRAWNER JOINS US FROM BENTON WHERE HE IS AN INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST.  RICK FAHR ALSO A INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST FROM CONWAY AND FROM THE NORTHWEST ARKANSAS NEWSPAPERS DOUG THOMPSON AND THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR COMING IN.  STEVE A PRETTY HIGH STAKE SESSION COMING UP AND THIS PAST WEEK ADDED FUEL TO THE FIRE.

ACTUALLY A COUPLE WEEKS AGO YOU HAD THE STATE RACE IN JONESBORO THAT TOOK AWAY ONE OF THE PRIVATE OPTIONS AND SHE SAID SHE WASN'T VOTING FOR IT AND ONLY PASSED BY ONE LAST TIME AND THE PRIVATE OPTION WHICH IS PROVIDING INSURANCE FOR 85,000 ARKANSANS IS IN REAL TROUBLE AND THE FISCAL SESSION WHICH IS DESIGNED NOT TO BE TOO EVENTFUL IT MIGHT BE EVENTFUL BECAUSE LEGISLATORS DECIDE DOES IT GO AWAY THIS TIME OR FIND A CREATIVE SOLUTION TO MAKE IT WORK?  YOU HAVE GOVERNOR BEEBE HAS TOLD EVERYONE TO CALM DOWN, THESE THINGS TEND TO WORK OUT AND OTHERS  ARE NOT SURE AND IT COULD BE AN EVENTFUL SESSION.

AND FROM THE PERSON FROM MOUNTAIN VIEW AND MS. IRVAN AND MR. BEEBE WAS EMPHASIZING OR STATE THAT HER SPECIFIC CONCERNS WERE BEING ADDRESSED ENTHUSIASTICICALLY OR --

THE SPECIFIC CONCERN IS REIMBURSEMENT FOR DOCTORS AND SPECIALISTS.  THAT THERE'S A BELIEF IT'S SOMEHOW -- THE DILEMMA WAS CREATED BY THINGS NOT ENTIRELY WITHIN THE STATE'S CONTROL.  I MEAN WE WENT TO A PLAN WITH THE PRIVATE OPTION WHERE WE WEREN'T GOING TO EXPAND MEDICAID WHICH WAS OBAMACARE AND INSTEAD EXPANDING THE PRIVATE INSURANCE MARKET BY USING THE MONEY FROM OBAMACARE TO HELP PEOPLE PAY FOR PRIVATE INSURANCE.  WELL THAT'S THE PLAN.  WELL, THE PRIVATE INSURANCE INDUSTRY, NOT THE STATE AND LOOKED AT THE SITUATION IN ARKANSAS AND SAID WE NEED MORE FAMILY PRACTICE DOCTORS.  WE NEED MORE GENERAL PRACTITIONERS.  HOW DO YOU DO THAT?  YOU PAY THEM MORE.  IT'S SUPPLY AND DEMAND AND WELL KNOWN CONCEPT IN EVERY OTHER ACTIVITY EXCEPT APPARENTLY THE PHYSICIAN MARKET AND THERE WERE OBJECTIONS BY THOSE THAT ARE HIGHLY TRAINED AND SPECIALISTS SHOULD GET A HIGHER RATE OF PAY AND WHAT BLUE CROSS, BLUE SHIELD -- WHAT OTHER INSURERS WERE PROPOSING THE FAMILY DOCTOR WOULD MAKE MORE THAN THE SPECIALIST AND APPARENTLY THIS IS A SIN IN THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY.  I WILL POINT OUT HERE THAT THERE'S A REAL PROBLEM THERE AREN'T ENOUGH FAMILY DOCTORS AND IF YOU'RE A STUDENT IN MED SCHOOL IT'S IN YOUR ECONOMIC INTEREST TO SPECIALIZE SO WE WILL FIX THE PROBLEM AND GET THE RATES UP WHERE THEY OUGHT TO BE AND ALL OF THE OTHER STUFF BUT WE WILL AND IN SOME RESPECTS PERPETUATING THE CORE PROBLEM WHEN WE GET THIS THROUGH BUT IT'S A NECESSITY AND YOU'RE RIGHT 85,000 PEOPLE SIGNED UP AND MADE SENSE FOR THE OPPONENTS OF OBAMACARE TO OPPOSE ANYTHING AND THEY KNEW WHEN PEOPLE SIGNED UP FOR IT HAD ITS OWN DYNAMIC AND THAT THRESHOLD HAS BEEN CROSSED AND IT'S A POLITICAL PROBLEM FOR THOSE THAT WOULD HANG UP THE WHOLE PROBLEM WITH NINE VOTES IN THE ARKANSAS STATE SENATE.

WE MADE SPECIFIC REFERENCE TO SENATOR IRVAN AND OTHERS MIGHT BE SHAKY.

YES AND ESPECIALLY WITH THE SPECIAL ELECTION IN JONESBORO.

NO SHAKE THERE --

NO SHAKE THERE AT ALL. THERE ARE SOME DEAD SET AGAINST T I TALKED TO SENATOR JIM HAVEN AND HE SAID NO, I HAVEN'T CHANGEDDED MY MIND AND THE DEBACLE AT OF OBAMACARE AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL HE IS MORE CONVINCED AND THEY HARDENED.  I WILL SAY COMING FROM NORTHWEST ARKANSAS I AM SURPRISED AT THE INTENSE PRESSURE FOR PEOPLE WHO -- REPUBLICANS WHO VOTED FOR THIS BACK IN APRIL DESPITE INTENSE PRESSURE I DON'T SEE A LOT OF CRAWFISHING ON THIS ISSUE.  I DON'T SEE THEM LOSING A WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE.  THEY REALIZE THAT THEY HAVE VOTED FOR THIS ONCE AND FOR ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES THEY CAN'T REALLY GO BACK, AND SOME OF THEM TO THEIR CREDIT HAVE PUT A PENCIL TO THIS AND DECIDED IT'S WHAT THE CONSTITUENTS WANTS OR THE BEST THING FOR THE STATE IS AND THEY'RE STICKING TO IT BUT ANYWAY NOT TO GO ON FOR TOO LONG YOU COULD KNOCK ME OVER WITH A FEATHER WHEN I CALLED SENATOR HESTER, BART HESTER WHO REPRESENTS A LARGE PART OF BENTONVILLE AND HE SAID I THINK THE CHANCES ARE 50-50.  I THINK WE CAN WORK OUT A COMPROMISE ON THIS.  AT WHICH POINT I SAID WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH BART HESTER BUT HE SAID LOOK NOBODY WANTS TO SHUT THE GOVERNMENT DOWN ABOUT THIS. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT IT BOTH WAYS AND I THINK WE CAN WORK SOMETHING OUT, SO IT'S GOING TO BE -- IT'S ALWAYS REQUIRED A 3/4 VOTE BECAUSE IT'S A FISCAL APPROPRIATION AND IT WAS ALWAYS GOING TO BE A CLIFF HANGER.  I MEAN WHEN IT PASSED IN APRIL PEOPLE SAID GETTING THAT THROUGH THE FISCAL SESSION IS GOING TO BE TOUGH, BUT AS I SAID, AND I WILL REPEAT MYSELF, WE'VE GOT AT LEAST 85,000 PEOPLE SIGNED UP FOR THIS, AND THE IDEA OF TELLING THEM AT THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR IN JUNE NO WE'RE NOT GOING TO DO IT ANYWAY IS SOMETHING A SMALL MINORITY OF THESE STATE LEGISLATORS BETTER THINK ABOUT CAREFULLY ESPECIALLY I WILL POINT OUT IN AN ELECTION YEAR IN WHICH WE HAVE A DECISIVE U.S. SENATE ELECTION, AND TWO CONGRESSIONAL OPEN SEATS, AND A GOVERNSHIP AND THE PARTISAN CONTROL OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IS AS EVENLY DIVIDED AS IT COULD POSSIBLY BE. THESE ARE CONSIDERATIONS THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING HANG THIS UP TO MAKE.

AND ANOTHER CONSIDERATION AS WELL.  THEY'RE STARTING TO GET -- SOME MEMBERS  ARE PERCEIVED AS WAIVERING ARE STARTING TO GET PUSH BACK FROM COUNTY JUDGES AND CERTAINLY FROM INSTITUTIONAL PROVIDERS SUCH AS HOSPITALS WHO STAND TO GET A LITTLE FINANCIAL RELIEF.

THAT'S RIGHT AND ESPECIALLY RURAL HOSPITALS, NOT JUST ARKANSAS AND NOT JUST A STATE PROBLEM.  THEY HAVE BEEN UNDER FIRE FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS NOW SO ANY THREAT TO REVENUE OR PERHAPS IN INCREASED REVENUE IS GOING TO THROW OFF ALARMS THAT NEVER STOP, BUT BETWEEN NOW AND FEBRUARY 10 WE'VE GOT THREE WEEKS.  THERE'S GOING TO BE A LOT OF PRESSURE BROUGHT TO BEAR, NOT JUST FROM COUNTY JUDGES AND RURAL HOSPITALS, BUT PRIVATE BUSINESS INTERESTS.  I AM TALKING --

YEAH, THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.

THE CHAMBER CAME IN THIS WEEK.

RIGHT AND THOSE FOLKS IF THIS POTENTIAL PROGRAM HERE -- THIS ISSUE -- THIS PROGRAM GOES AWAY SOMEBODY HAS TO MAKE UP THE DIFFERENCE AND THAT'S GOING TO BE EMPLOYERS IN THE STATE, SO THERE'S GOING TO BE A LOT OF PRESSURE, A LOT OF JOCKEYING HERE, AND THE STATE LEGISLATORS THAT I TALKED TO THIS WEEK [INAUDIBLE] ON WHERE THEY ARE ABOUT IT OR THEY HAVEN'T MADE THEIR MIND UP HOW THEY'RE GOING TO VOTE YET.  THERE IS MORE UNCERTAINTY I HAVE SEEN WITH THIS ISSUE I HAVE SEEN IN A LONG TIME.

AND NOT JUST RURAL HOSPITALS AND UAMS SAID THEY HAVE A BIG DEFICIT AND PROVIDES THAT CARE EACH YEAR AND LOSING THE PRIVATE OPTION WOULD TAKE OUT 89 MILLION FROM THE STATE BUDGET.  THESE ARE NEEDS OCCURRING SO WE WILL SEE HOW IT WORKS OUT.

CHARLIE COLLINS, THE STATE REPRESENTATIVE FROM MY NECK OF THE WOODS MADE AN EXCELLENT POINT.  WE HAVE A LOT MORE INFORMATION THAN APRIL.  WE HAVE PEOPLE SIGNED UP.  WE KNOW THE GENERAL STATE OF HEALTH IS.  WE HAVE SEEN THE INSURANCE PROGRAMS THAT PEOPLE DESIGNED.  WE HAD NONE OF THIS WHEN WE ORIGINALLY APPROVED THIS PROGRAM.  THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS TO DISCUSS AND THERE'S A LOT MORE FACTUAL BASIS TO MAKE A DECISION UPON WHICH THEY HAD IN APRIL AND THAT'S A GOOD POINT.  HERE'S THE PROBLEM. THE FISCAL SESSION ONLY LASTS FOR 30 DAYS AND THOSE ARE CALENDAR DAYS.  THOSE ARE NOT WORKING DAYS.  IF WE HAVE A 3/4 VOTE WE CAN EXTEND IT ANOTHER 15 DAYS, SO EVERYBODY'S GOT TO COME DOWN TO LITTLE ROCK, HASH THIS OUT.  IT DOESN'T JUST START WITH THE SESSION CERTAINLY.  THERE IS HASHING OUT AS WE SPEAK.  THEY HAVE TO COME DOWN, HASH IT OUT, FIGURE IT OUT AND COME TO A COMPROMISE IN 45 CALENDAR DAYS.

THE PRIVATE OPTION ITSELF WAS CREATIVE -- WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THEY WILL COME UP WITH THAT AND IN A SESSION WHERE THERE WERE 2,000 OTHER BILLS.

YEAH.

IT DIDN'T START IN JANUARY.

THAT'S RIGHT AND AT THE RISK OF MAKING SOME PEOPLE MAD THE OPPONENTS OF THIS THING KEEP SAYING IT'S OBAMACARE.  WE HAVE TO STOP OBAMACARE.  GOING OUT ON A LIMB A LITTLE BIT HERE AND TRACKED THIS ISSUE I HAVE TO SAY NO LADIES AND GENTLEMEN THIS IS NOT OBAMACARE.  OBAMACARE IN ITS FORM AS PASSED AS INTENDED MEDICAID EXPANSION WAS AN INTEGRAL PART OF IT, AND WHAT WE ARE SEEING AND EXPERIENCE IN OTHER STATES IS THAT MEDICAID EXPANSION -- FINE AND WONDERFUL THING GIVES PEOPLE COVERAGE BUT IT TAKES A VERY LARGE GROUP OF PEOPLE OUT OF THE PRIVATE INSURANCE MARKET.  NOW, NOBODY'S GOING TO GET RICH SELLING INSURANCE TO PEOPLE WHO ARE LIKE WITHIN 138% OF THE POVERTY LINE. IT'S WANT A GREAT POOL OF MONEY BUT IT'S A SIGNIFICANT FACTOR. BY KEEPING ALL THOSE PEOPLE, AND GOODNESS KNOWS OUR POOR STATE HAS A LOT OF THEM.  BY KEEPING ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE IN AN ADMITTEDLY SUBSIDIZED BUT A PRIVATE INSURANCE MARKET ARKANSAS, IF YOU LOOK AT THE INSURANCE OF OTHER STATES, HAS INVOLVED -- HAS AVOIDED A MAJOR PITFALL OF WHAT REAL OBAMACARE IS.  THE PEOPLE WHO ARE SITTING THERE SAYING THIS IS NOT OBAMACARE.  IT'S AN ALTERNATIVE TO IT ARE RIGHT AND LIKE I SAY AT THE RISK OF GETTING ANGRY PHONE CALLS AND EMAILS I WILL GO AHEAD AND SAY THAT AND I THINK THE INSURANCE I -- EXPERIENCE PROVES IT.

ONE THING AND THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY UNVEILED A COUPLE DAYS AGO WAS NOT -- WELL, PLAINLY WAS CRAFTED AROUND THE PRIVATE OPTION AND THE SAVINGS.  IT CARRIES WITH IT AN UNAVOID ABLG POLITICAL COMPONENT, FUNDING -- RECOMMENDED FUNDING FOR UAMS WENT DOWN A LITTLE BIT.

BECAUSE THEY EXPECTED TO BE MORE COMPENSATED MORE FROM WHAT THEY GOT UNDER THE PRIVATE OPTION.

YEAH AND NO PLAN B ACCORDING TO THE ADMINISTRATION.

I ASSURE YOU EVERY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT AND EVERY STATE CHANCELLOR IN THE STATE OF ARKANSAS ARE WATCHING THE PRIVATE OPTION WITH GREAT INTEREST.

SUPERINTENDENTS HAVE ESSENTIALLY LESS TO LOSE.  THEY HAVE A CONSTITUTIONAL --

YES THEY HAVE CONSTITUTIONAL FIRST CLAIM ON THE MONEY.  NO DOUBT ABOUT THAT.

HIGHER ED IS DISGRUNTLED -- THERE IS A SEGUE AND EVEN AS WE TAPE OUR BROADCAST THE TRUSTEES ARE MEETING FOR A SECOND DAY. ON THURSDAY THEY ACCEPTED THE AUDIT KICKED OVER TO THEM BY THE EXECUTIVE AND THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND WHAT THEY'RE WAITING ON IS THERE SIGNAL FROM THE LEADERSHIP AND SPECIFICALLY CHANCELLOR GEARHEART.

IN SEVEN MINUTES YESTERDAY THE BOARD VOTED TO ACCEPT BOTH OF THOSE --

ONE ACCOUNT SAID EIGHT MINUTES.

SEVEN AND A HALF, SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

GET IT RIGHT.

BUT THOSE REPORTS -- WE ALL KNEW WHAT WAS GOING TO BE IN THEM AND THEY'RE MAINLY A LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS AS TO HOW THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS ESPECIALLY IN THE ADVANCEMENT DIVISION CAN DO A BETTER JOB OF KEEPING TRACK OF ITS FUNDS. IT'S DISHEARTENING TO LEARN HOW SLIP SHOT -- IF I CHOOSE TO USE THAT WORD, THE BUDGETING PROCESS HAS BEEN IN THAT DIVISION. THERE WAS NO SINGLE EXCEL SPREADSHEET SAYING WE EXPECT TO BRING IN THIS MONEY AND SPEND THIS AMOUNT OF MONEY.  THERE WAS NO BUDGETING FOR ADDITIONAL JOBS, ADDITIONAL PEOPLE TO BE BROUGHT IN, SO THAT'S HOW THIS DIVISION CAME TO SPEND AMOUNT VARY BETWEEN 3.2 AND $4 MILLION MORE MORE THAN IT WAS SUPPOSED TO OVER THE LAST YEARS SO THAT'S HOW WE GOT TO WHERE WE ARE NOW. SOME OF THE FINANCIAL PEOPLE, BRADSHAW AND OTHERS HAVE BEEN LET GO, BUT THE SPOTLIGHT HAS FALLEN SQUARELY ON MR. GEARHEART IN RECENT MONTHS.  IS THERE GOING TO BE AN ACTION ON HIS POSITION?  I DON'T KNOW.  I SUSPECT NOT.  HE HAS TAKEN A MORE CONCILIATORY TONE IN RECENT WEEKS.  SEEMS TO BE A LITTLE MORE OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS FROM OTHER FOLKS THAN HE HAS BEEN, AND SO WE WILL FIND OUT TODAY BY THE TIME THIS SHOW ENDS WE WILL KNOW WHAT THE FUTURE IS BUT I WILL BE SURPRISED IF HE GETS TAKEN DOWN.

THEY SPENT THREE HOURS IN EXECUTIVE SESSION AND THE ONLY PURPOSE FOR THAT IS PERSONNEL, SO THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING ON THURSDAY.

THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT [INAUDIBLE]

YEAH AND WE DON'T KNOW WHAT AND BY THE TIME THIS AIRS WE WILL KNOW WHAT IT IS, MAYBE, OR MAYBE WE WON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT.

WHAT IS THE SENSE UP THERE?

NOW THAT THE DUST IS SETTLING, NOW THERE IS NO LONGER FINGER POINTING.  "YOU SAID DOCUMENTS SHOULD BE SHED" NOW THAT WE HAVE LOOKING AT THIS AND DECENT BOOK TRACKING AND BOOKKEEPING IS A CORE PART OF ANY ADMINISTRATION.  THIS IS A FAILURE  OF WHAT IS A BASIC OF ADMINISTRATION FUNCTION AND THE REALIZATION CAME THIS IS ACTUALLY MORE IMPORTANT AND ALARMING THAN A LOT OF THE OTHER TUSSLE AND FEATHERS AND FIGHTS THAT WE HAVE BEEN HAVING AT THE UNIVERSITY AND IT'S DEEPLY EMBARRASSING AND I THINK THE SPOTLIGHT HAS FINALLY FALLEN UPON THAT AND I THINK IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON THAT FOR A LONG TIME BEFORE NOW, AND THE CONSENSUS UP THERE IS THAT IF THAT THE CHANCELLOR HAS GROWN THE UNIVERSITY VERY WELL. IT'S BEEN FRANKLY A LOT OF EXPANSION, A LOT OF -- THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF GOOD THINGS HAPPEN BUT THIS IS A DEFINITE BLACK MARK ON HIS RECORD AND A SERIOUS CONCERN AND IF HE STAYS THIS BETTER BE FIXED AND WE BETTER HAVE A BETTER MUCH TRACKING OF THE MONEY THAN BEFORE.

THERE WERE SEVERAL PLEAS FROM WITHIN AND WITHOUT THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES LET'S COME TOGETHER UNDER SCORING REPEATED REPORTS OF A SHARPLY DIVIDED BOARD OF TRUSTEES.  CAN YOU SHED AIR?

I WISH I COULD.  I WISH I COULD BUT A LOT OF THIS IS HAPPENING IN EXECUTIVE SESSION AND SUCH AS THAT.  I PUT IT THIS WAY A BOARD OF TRUSTEES IS LITERALLY WHAT IT IS.  THEY'RE TRUSTEES AND WHEN THEY FIND OUT THAT THE INSTITUTION THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE HELD ULTIMATELY ACCOUNTABLE FOR HAS TOTALLY INADEQUATE FINANCIAL CONTROLS THAT IS SOMETHING THEY'RE REALLY BOND TO TAKE SERIOUSLY BUT NO I DON'T HAVE ANY INSIDE INFORMATION ON HOW THEY'RE GOING TO GO.

YOU KNOW THIS IS THE ISSUE WITH THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES AT FAYETTEVILLE KIND OF REMINDS OF ISSUES GOING ON HERE AT THIS CAMPUS.  UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS FOR YEARS TOO WHERE SOME SCANDAL ERUPTS, HUGE PROBLEM COMES UP AND THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES SAY I DON'T THINK ANYTHING --

WITH ONE KEY DIFFERENCE, ONE EXTREMELY KEY DIFFERENCE.  NO ONE ENRICHED THEMSELVES OR EXPLOITED THE SITUATION WHICH IS REMARKABLE WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT.  THE PROSECUTORS -- IF YOU READ THE PROSECUTORS REPORT WHEN THEY BASICALLY WENT TO SEE IF ANY CRIME IT'S.

THERE WASN'T ANY ALLEGATIONS OF SELF DEALING OR THAT --

NO, BUT THE PROSECUTORS AND THE INVESTIGATORS WORKING FOR THE OFFICE LOOKED AT THIS SITUATION AND FRANKLY COULDN'T BELIEVE THIS WASN'T ANYTHING GOING ON.  SAY WHAT YOU WILL ABOUT BRAD CHOT HE PASSED A TEST MANY OF US WOULD HAVE FAILED. HE COULD HAVE TAKEN THE UNIVERSITY FOR A LOT OF MONEY AND WHEN THEY LOOKED AT THE ACCOUNTS THE UNIVERSITY OWED THIS MAN MONEY FOR UNCOMPENSATED EXPENSES BUT THE INVESTIGATORS AND THE AUDITORS SAW EVERY RED FLAG YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO SEE AND THAT LANGUAGE IS ACTUALLY IN THEIR REPORT THAT THIS SITUATION WOULD HAVE ALLOWED FRAUD.  IT WAS A FERTILE FIELD.

WE NEED TO LEAVE IT THERE BECAUSE WE HAVE A COUPLE MORE STORIES AND AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION.  STEVE THE LEGISLATURE SENT THREE AS IT OFTEN DOES TO THE BALLOT BUT THE PROBLEM IS YOU NEED THE TITLE APPROVED BUT WHO IS TO DO IT?

THERE'S A PROBLEM BECAUSE THE LEGISLATURE TOOK AWAY THE AUTHORITY TO PUT THE TITLE ON THERE FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BUT DIDN'T MAKE IT CLEAR WHO DOES IT NOW SO THE SECRETARY OF STATE SAW THIS YESTERDAY AND SAID IT WAS OKAY.  WE WILL USE THE BALLOT TITLE FROM THE BILL ITSELF AND IN TWO YEARS IT'S WORKED OUT THAT WE CAN USE WHAT THE LEGISLATURE WILL MAKE THE BALLOT TITLES.  WE STILL HAVE A PROBLEM.  THIS STUFF IS STILL ON THE BALLOT AND WHEN THERE'S A QUESTION -- THERE'S BEEN A HUGE QUESTION WITH THIS AND SOMEBODY CAN SUE AND MARTA HANCOCK SAID IT COULD HAPPEN THIS TIME SO AT THE MOMENT IT SEEMS LIKE THERE MIGHT BE A TEMPORARY FIX BUT WE DON'T KNOW THAT FOR SURE.

THE AG SIGNED OFF ON THIS AS WELL.  THIS WAS DONE IN CONSULTATION WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S STAFF IN TERMS OF THE LANGUAGE ABOUT WHO HANDLES THE BALLOT TITLE AT LEAST FOR NOW.

IT APPEARS IT'S OKAY BUT THE PROBLEMS WOULD COME FROM OUTSIDE BECAUSE IF THESE THINGS PASS OR DON'T PASS SOMEBODY'S NOT GOING TO BE HAPPY ABOUT IT AND THAT'S WHEN YOU CAN HAVE A COURT CHALLENGE.

YEAH BUT IF THERE IS A COURT CHALLENGE AFTER THAT WE WILL HAVE A COURT RULING AND THE LEGISLATURE CAN LOOK AT THAT COURT RULING AND THESE ARE THE PROBLEMS AND THEY WILL COME UP WITH A PRETTY SPECIFIC SOLUTION SO IT WILL BE FIXED BUT YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT IN THE MEANTIME IT CAUSES LEGAL VULNERABILITY TOWARD THINGS.

LET'S GO TOWARDS WASHINGTON AND JUST BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT ON THE FLOOR DOESN'T MEAN WORK IS BEING DONE OR IS IT?

THERE IS WORK BEING DONE AND ON THE FARM BILL AND THEY'RE GETTING ABSOLUTELY CLOSER TO AGREEING TO DISAGREE ON A COUPLE POINTS --

SHOULD WE BE COMFORTED BY THAT?

YEAH WE SHOULD AND IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.  DIRECT PAYMENTS ARE GOING AWAY AND REPLACED BY INSURANCE TYPE PROGRAMS AND THE MAIN GOAL THAT A LOT OF FOLKS HAD TO START WITH WAS TO ELIMINATE THE POTENTIAL FOR ABUSES IN THIS SYSTEM BY CORPORATE FARMERS AND SO FORTH. THEY'RE GOING TO BE TIGHTER CONTROLS ON THOSE TWO.

WELL MR. AND MRS. ARKANSAS AS IT TRICKLES DOWN SO TO SPEAK AT THE CONSUMER LEVEL EVERYBODY WAS CONCERNED ABOUT MILK GOING TO FOUR BUCKS, SEVEN BUCKS A GALLON IF SUPPORTS WERE GONE.

THE DAIRY PRICE SUPPORT PROGRAM IS DIFFERENT THAN MOST ANY OTHER IN THE NATION'S AG INDUSTRY.  THAT WILL BE TAKEN CARE OF AND NO PROBLEM THERE. THE LARGEST IMPICTURE IN ARKANSAS IS THE END OF DIRECT PAYMENTS TO FARMERS IN THE STATE COULD REDUCE OVERALL AG REVENUE WHICH WILL THEN TRICKLE DOWN TO A LOT OF OTHER INDUSTRIES IN THE STATE.

DO WE SEE A FINAL RESOLUTION OR IS THIS GOING TO BE DONE PIECEMEAL?

NO.  IT WILL HAPPEN ALL AT ONCE AND THE TWO SIDES ARE JUST GOING ON SAY OKAY THIS IS THE BEST WE CAN DO ON THE INSURANCE TYPE PROGRAMS AND WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY ON SOME OF THE WHAT SOME FOLKS SEE AS ABUSE AND OTHER FOLKS SEE THIS IS THE WAY IT HAS TO WORK.

ALL RIGHT.  WITH THAT WE HAVE TO LEAVE IT BECAUSE WE'RE SIMPLY OUT OF TIME.  GUYS THANKS FOR COMING IN.  TO YOU THANK YOU ALWAYS FOR WATCHING AND WE WILL SEE YOU NEXT WEEK.

"ARKANSAS WEEK" IS MADE POSSIBLE IN PART BY THE "ARKANSAS TIMES" KEEPING YOU INFORMED BY COVERING PEOPLE, EVENTS, AND POLITICS IN ARKANSAS. BY FM 89 KUAR LITTLE ROCK WITH IN DEPTH NEWS REPORTING, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION EACH WEEKDAY.

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