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Arkansas Week March 21, 2014

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(Sine Die) Barring any emergencies that's it for this year, though not the fiscal year. (Fracked) Regarding the fiscal, a veto and an easy override. (Strikedown) That abortion law from the previous session? The toughest part falls. (D.C.) And a call to Congress for action from Arkansas's public and private sector.

TRANSCRIPT

HELLO AGAIN EVERYONE. THANKS FOR JOINING US FOR ARKANSAS WEEK..  AFTER A FISCAL SESSION THAT INVOLVED MOSTLY THE PRIVATE OPTION PROGRAM THE SINE DIE ASPECT OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY'S EVEN NUMBERED YEAR MEETING DIDN'T TAKE THAT LONG JUST A MATTER OF FACT JUST HOURS.  OF COURSE THERE WASN'T THAT MUCH TO DO THAT WHERE WE WILL START TONIGHT AND MICHAEL HIBBLEN JOINS US FROM KUAR RADIO AND STEVE BRAWNER WHO IS AN INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST AND DOUG THOMPSON AND A REPORTER FOR NORTHWEST ARKANSAS NEWSPAPERSES AND FAYETTEVILLE.  MICHAEL SINE DIE WHEN THE SESSION ENDED IT RESESESSED SO BUSINESS COULD HAVE BEEN TAKEN CARE OF AND THAT INCLUDED A VETO OVER RIDE AND THIS WAS A FRACKING BILL THAT MR. BEEBE HAD AND HIS ADMINISTRATION HAD TAKEN A CAUGHTER ATTITUDE TOWARD.

THIS CONCERNS SAND AND USED IN THE DRILLING PROCESS AND A PULASKI COUNTY JUDGED RULED THAT THE SAND SHOULD BE RULED AS EQUIPMENT AND THIS OFFICIALLY PUT IT INTO THE STATE THAT THIS WOULD BE NOT TAXED.  IT WOULD BE TAX EXEMPT, AND THIS BILL HAD BEEN VETOED BY THE GOVERNOR ON MONDAY WHO SAID THAT THIS KIND OF BILL WASN'T AN ITEM THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ADDRESSED IN THE FISCAL SESSION, AND NEEDED A TWO THIRDS VOTE.  DIDN'T TAKE MUCH TO GET AN OVERICIDE OF THAT ON WEDNESDAY.  THE GOVERNOR'S SPEAKS MEN SAID DIDN'T HAVE TO DO WITH THE BILL ITSELF BUT NEEDED THE 2/3 VOTES.

NON FISCAL.

EXACTLY AND WE NEEDED A SIMPLE MAJORITY FOR AN OVER RIDE AND THAT HAPPENS AND NOT MUCH DISCUSSION AND A QUICK VOTE AND THEY ADJOURNED.

NOW THE SENATOR AND OTHER ADVOCATES OF THIS EXEMPTION THEIR POSITION WAS THIS WAS A CLARIFICATION AND DID NOT NECESSARILY FALL UNDER -- OR DIDN'T FALL UNDER THE TWO THIRDS REQUIREMENT.

RIGHT.  THAT WAS THE ARGUMENT THAT WAS MADE FOR THIS JUST THAT HE CLARIFIED THE PULASKI COUNTY JUDGE'S RULING ON THIS BUT IT WILL IMPACT THE STATE SOME. THE STATE I THINK MAKES ABOUT $5 MILLION IN THE TAXING OF SAND AND THERE WAS SOME SUGGESTION THAT THIS COULD IMPACT STATE EMPLOYEE RAISES, BUT YES, THAT WAS THE ARGUMENT THAT THIS WAS SIMPLY A CLARIFICATION.

I'M NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER OR ATTORNEY IN ANY WAY BUT SOMEBODY POINT OUT TO ME WHERE IN THE CONSTITUTION IT SAYS UNDER THAT -- THE STATE CONSTITUTION AS I READ IT SAYS ONLY FISCAL BILLS ARE TO BE DISCUSSED.  TO A LAYMAN THAT MEANS ONLY FISCAL BILLS ARE TO BE DISCUSSED.  THE FACT IT'S A LITTLE BILL AND DOESN'T HARM ANYTHING AND CLARIFIES LANGUAGE. AS FAR AS I CAN TELL THERE IS NO EXEMPTION IN THERE.

WELL, IT'S HEADED TO THE COURTS.

AND WON'T HAVE A LOT OF IMPACT ONE WAY OR OTHER AND A A AFFIRMS WHAT A JUDGE DECIDED AND EVEN IF IT'S OVER TURN THIS BILL DID THAT. 55 MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE AND LARGER PROPORTION IN THE SENATE SAID LOOK IT'S CLEARLY OUR INTENT THAT THIS NOT BE TAX SO THE MESSAGE HAS SENT WHETHER THE BILL SURVIVES SCRUTINY OR NOT.  IT JUST HIT -- I ADMIT TO BEING BOTHERED BY THE FACT THAT -- THE TREND OF THE FISCAL SESSION WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO BE STRICTLY FISCAL IS JUST OUT THE WINDOW.  I MEAN AND YOU'VE HEARD LEGISLATORS COMPLAIN OF THAT.  A MEMBER OF THE SPECIAL LANGUAGE COMMITTEE HAS PUBLICLY COMPLAINED BECAUSE ALL THESE THINGS GO THROUGH THE SPECIAL LANGUAGE COMMITTEE THAT DON'T PRECISELY FIT THE FISCAL CRITERIA.  HIS COMPLAINT "WHY AM I MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT FRACKING AND SCHOOL FUNDING AND WHY ISN'T FOR INSTANCE THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE DOING THIS AND RUNNING IT THROUGH NOW?"  . YOU HAVE ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE SUPPOSED PURPOSE OF THE FISCAL SESSION IS NOT BEING RESPECTED. ANY PROBLEM THAT ANY LEGISLATOR THINKS NEEDS FIXING GOES AND TO BE SOMEWHAT OLD FASHIONED I WILL POINT OUT THAT EVERY MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATURE AT SOME POINT RAISED THEIR HAND AND SWORE THEY WOULD UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS.

THAT'S SUBJECT TO INTERPRETATION ALWAYS AS IS THE CONSTITUTION.

IF YOU RAISE YOUR RIGHT HAND AND SWEAR SOMETHING YOU OUGHT TO DO IT.

PEOPLE CAN DISAGREE DOUGLAS.

THEY CAN DISAGREE AND SOME OF THEM COULD BE WRONG.

IN FACT MR. BEEBE'S DFNA, FINANCE DEPARTMENT BELIEVES THAT THE SAND IS NOT USED IN -- USED IN FRACKING OUGHT TO BE SUBJECT TO THE SALES TAX AND THE LANGUAGE IS PRECISE AND SUBJECT TO THE TAX AND IT WILL.

AND IT WILL AND THERE ARE TWO ISSUES THOUGH AS MICHAEL POINTED OUT.  THERE'S THE ACTUAL WHETHER OR NOT IT WILL BE TAXED OR NOT, AND THERE'S WHAT THIS VETO WAS ABOUT WHETHER IT FIT THE BILL -- PARDON THE PUN, FIT THE BILL FOR A FISCAL SESSION AND I DON'T THINK IT DID THAT.

ONTO THE COURTS.  MICHAEL AND GUYS WE HAVE NEW LEADERSHIP IN THE HOUSE ASSUMING THAT THE GOP RETAINS CONTROL OF THE CHAMBER.

I'M NOT SURE EVEN IF THEY DON'T RETAIN CONTROL THAT MR. JEREMY GILLHAM WON'T HANG ON.  HE CLEARLY HAS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT.  I'M SORRY.  I AM JUMPING AHEAD OF US.  MICHAEL IF YOU GO AHEAD AND TELL US WHO IT IS AND WE WILL DISCUSS THE QUALIFICATIONS.

AND RUIN THE SURPRISE.

YEAH AFTER THE SESSION WAS ADJOURNED LAWMAKERS DECIDED WHO WILL BE THE SPEAKER FOR THE COMING SESSION AND YES REPRESENTATIVE REPRESENTATIVE JEREMY GILLHAM WAS ELECTED WITH 57 VOTES.  THERE WAS DISCUSSION WHETHER OR NOT THE DECISION SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE AT THAT POINT BECAUSE YOU HAD THE NANCE -- I GUESS TWO YEARS AGO WHEN DARREN WILLIAMS WAS ELECTED TO BE THE SPEAKER AND REPUBLICANS TOOK CONTROL OF THE LEGISLATURE AND ENDED UP WITH DAVY CARTER, BUT GILLHAM PROMISING TO WORK WITH BOTH SIDES.  HE REALLY WANTED TO BRING REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS TOGETHER AND YOU HAD THAT WITH DAVY CARTER TO A DEGREE, SOMETHING WILLING TO WORK WITH BOTH SIDES AND GILLHAM SAYING HE'S WILLING TO WORK WITH DEMOCRATS AND WORK FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF ARKANSAS.

AND SEEMED TO BE WELL RECEIVED.  HIS REPUTATION IS -- SOMEONE WHO HAS A GOT A FOOT IN -- NOT BOTH PARTIES BUT WORKS WELL WITH THE OPPOSITION, IN THIS CASE DEMOCRATS.

AND SOMEONE CAPABLE.  HE IS IN CHARGE OF THE COMMITTEE THAT OVERSEES PRIVATE OPTION.  HE'S CLEARLY A HEAVY LIFTING LEGISLATIVELY AND THE MOST INTERESTING THING TO ME IS THAT HE IS A FARMER FROM JUDGESEWNIA AND AT THE RISK OF OVER INTERPRETING THE EVENT I THINK THE COUNTRY CAUCUS IS REASSERTING THEMSELVES.  NOW THAT YOU CAN GET ELECTED IN RURAL ARKANSAS AS A REPUBLICAN THEY SEEM TO BE FITTING IN, AND THIS -- THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS IS HE'S NOT FROM THE CORNER CAUCUS, FROM THE NORTHWEST ARKANSAS CORNER AND NOT FROM LITTLE ROCK.  HE IS FROM THE GROUP THAT HAS -- OR AT LEAST WOULD FIT IN -- APPEAR TO FIT IN WITH THE GROUP THAT PICKED THE HOUSE SPEAKERS IN THE STATE SINCE STATEHOOD AND THAT IS THE RURAL LEGISLATORS AND NOT TO MAKE TOO MUCH OF THAT, BUT THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS I'M WANT SURE THAT EVEN IF THE DEMOCRATS DO REGAIN CONTROL MAJORITY WHICH I THINK IS UNLIKELY, BUT IF THEY DO I'M WANT SURE THAT THE SPEAKERSHIP IS GOING TO BE CONTESTED.  HE WON AGAINST THREE OPPONENTS IN THE FIRST BALLOT WITH 57 VOTES. THAT'S DARN IMPRESSIVE, AND I THINK HE'S GOT A SECURE LOCK THAT TRANSCENDS STRICTLY PARTISAN LINES IN THE LEGISLATURE.

ONTO OTHER 'LL ANOTHER ISSUE AND ANOTHER PIECE OF LEGISLATION FROM THE REGULAR SESSION, AND THAT WAS THE ABORTION REGULATORY BILL.  MR. BEEBE -- GOVERNOR BEEBE STEVE VETOED THAT LAST YEAR AND IT WAS PROMPTLY OVER RIDDEN BUT SEVERAL DAYS AGO, IN FACT A FEW HOURS AFTER OUR LAST BROADCAST A U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE IN ESSENCE VETOED IT A AGAIN OR A BIG PART OF IT.

JUDGE SUSAN WEBER WRIGHT AND SHE PUT AN INJUNCTION ON THE LAW BEFORE THEN SO IT'S NOT UNEXPECTED.  IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST RESTRICTIVE IN THE COUNTRY. NO ABORTIONS AFTER 12 WEEKS BUT THE USUAL EXCEPTIONS AND RAPE, INCEST OR LIFE OF THE MOTHER OR LETHAL BIRTH DEFECTS AND THERE WAS LESS WIGGLE ROOM THERE. THE RULING KEPT PART OF THE LAW THAT SAID DOCTORS CAN BE REQUIRED TO ALLOW -- TO MAKE SURE THAT THE MOTHER HEARS THE HEARTBEAT, AND SHOULD BE TOLD THE CHANCES OF THE FETUS' CHANCE OF SURVIVAL AND BECAUSE OF THAT BOTH SIDES CLAIMED VICTORY.  SENATOR RAPERT THAT PUSHED IT THROUGH SAID NOW A PROSPECTIVE MOTHER WILL HAVE TO LISTEN TO THE HEARTBEAT AND MAKE A DIFFERENT DECISION THAN SHE WOULD HAVE AND THAT'S WHERE WE ARE RIGHT NOW.

I THINK EVERYBODY -- WHEN THIS BILL WAS PASSED EVEN THE SPONSOR AND THE PEOPLE VOTING FOR IT WAS DARING AS FAR AS FEDERAL LAW WAS CONCERNED AND THE CHANCES IN THE FEDERAL COURTS WAS NOT GOOD BUT IT IS PART OF A PATTERN IN STATE LEGISLATORS ACROSS THE -- LEGISLATORS ACROSS THE COUNTRY THAT THEY'RE GOING TO TEST THE LIMITS EVERY CHANCE THEY GET, AND AS MUCH AS THE OPPONENTS OF THIS BILL CAN SAY "WE GOT THE CORE OF IT DEFEATED."  IT DID GET SOME MARGINAL MOVEMENT OF THE BORDERS OF WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE IN STATE ANTI-ABORTION LEGISLATION MOVED JUST A LITTLE BIT, AND IF YOU KEEP DOING THAT TIMES -- MORE THAN HALF THE STATES WHERE PEOPLE KEEP INTRODUCING THESE BILLS YOU'RE GOING TO MAKE IT HARDER AND HARDER TO GET AN ABORTION AND THAT'S THE REAL GOAL HERE.

WITH ABORTION THIS IS REALLY THE PATH --

THE PATH.

THE SUPREME COURT HAS MADE -- FEDERALLY THERE IS NOT A LOT OF WIGGLE ROOM SO THE WAY TO TRY TO -- IF YOU'RE OPPOSED TO ABORTION TO TRY TO GET YOUR VIEWS -- THE LAW OF THE LAND IS TO DO IT THIS WAY SO THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED IN ARKANSAS AND A LOT OF THE STATES TOO.

WELL, GIVEN THE PROPENSITY OF THE LOWER COURTS TO ADJOIN -- TPO'S TEMPORARY ENFORCEMENT OF ABOUT ANY ABORTION STATUTE UNTIL IT'S TESTED IT GOES TO THE COMPETITION OF THE NINE IN WASHINGTON WHICH HAS SHIFTED CONSIDERABLY -- WHEN WAS WOA, 74?  SINCE THEN THE COURT HAS MOVED MOSTLY TO THE RIGHT.

THERE WAS ACTUALLY A ARTICLE -- A OP-ED WRITTEN BY -- I'M SORRY.  I DON'T REMEMBER HIS NAME BUT A EXTREMELY RESPECTED LAW PROFESSOR SAYING THAT JUDGE GINSES BURG NEEDS TO RETIRE SO PRESIDENT OBAMA CAN APPOINT A SUCCESSOR.  THAT'S HOW DELICATE THE BALANCE ON THE SUPREME COURT SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES HAS BECOME.  NOW, I DON'T KNOW JUDGE GINSBURG BUT I DON'T HAVE THE IMPRESSION SHE WOULD GIVE UP THE SEAT ON THE SUPREME COURT BUT THE PEOPLE THAT SUPPORT ABORTION RIGHTS ARE WORRIED BECAUSE THEY REALIZE THAT THE PRESSURE IS NEVER GOING TO STOP.

EVER.

AND THIS BILL IS JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THAT.  IT'S NEVER GOING TO STOP.  THERE WILL ALWAYS BE PUSHING THE INSIDE OF THAT ENVELOPE.

WELL, ANOTHER CASE THAT CAME BEFORE THE COURTS AND IT WAS A BILLION DOLLAR -- MICHAEL, A BILLION DOLLAR JUDGMENT AGAINST A PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY AND THAT'S BEEN REMANDD AND SLASHED CONSIDERABLY.

YEAH, THE ARKANSAS SUPREME COURT ON THURSDAY TOSSED OUT THIS JUDGMENT AGAINST JOHNSON AND JOHNSON AND SUBSIDIARY. IT'S AN ANTI-SI SCOTTIC DRUG AND THE 1.2 BILLION DOLLAR JUDGMENT CAME FROM $5,000 FINE FOR EACH OF THE PRESCRIPTIONS THAT HAD BEEN FILLED AND REIMBURSE BY MEDICAID.  THE STATE HAD SUED THE COMPANY IN 2007 ARGUING THAT THE COMPANY DOWN PLAYED AND CONCEALED THE RISKS OF THE DRUGS AND LIED TO DOCTORS ABOUT ITS SIDE EFFECTS AND THIS WAS FOR OFF LABEL USE, NOT NECESSARILY WHAT IT WAS INTENDED FOR, BUT THE STATE SUPREME COURT SAID THAT THE STATE SUED -- THE WAY THAT THIS WAS DONE IS IMPROPER BECAUSE THE LAW THAT IT WAS DONE UNDER CONCERNS THE HEALTH CARE FACILITIES AND NOT NECESSARILY THE DRUG MAKER ITSELF, SO THIS WAS BASICALLY IMPROPER HOW THE STATE PURSUED THIS.  ATTORNEY GENERAL DUSTIN MCDANIEL HE DECLINED AN INTERVIEW REQUEST BUT DID PUT OUT A STATEMENT AND SAID HE WAS DISAPPOINTED AND WROTE THAT THE ACTIONS OF JOHNSON AND JOHNSON IN THIS SUBSIDIARY WERE IRRESPONSIBLE AND GREEDY IN THE MARKETING OF THIS DRUG.

THE ISSUE ACCORDING TO THE SUPREME COURT WAS NOT HOW GREEDY JOHNSON AND JOHNSON WAS, BUT WHETHER THISES OF UNDER THE PROPER LAW AND A MEDICAID STATUTE THAT DEALT WITH FACILITIES AND THE SUPREME COURT OVER TURNED IT 7-0.  THAT'S A PRETTY GOOD -- PRETTY BIG LOSS FOR THE JUDGE THAT MADE THE ORIGINAL RULING, JUDGE FOX.

IT'S PRETTY CLEAR CUT AND YOU'RE RIGHT THE LAW THEY PURSUED WAS FOR FACILITIES AND NOT INDIVIDUAL PRESCRIPTIONS AND THINGS LIKE THAT.  IT APPEARS TO BE A CASE OF WANTING TO DO RIGHT AND WANTING TO PUNISH A GREEDY PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY --

ALLEGEDLY.

ALLEGEDLY, BUT NOT HAVING THE APPROPRIATE LAW TO DO IT SO THEY TRIED TO MAKE ONE FIT THAT DIDN'T REALLY FIT AND THAT'S APPEARS TO BE WHAT HAPPENED HERE.  YOU'RE RIGHT.  IT WAS 7-0.  IT WAS LIKE -- FRANKLY IT WAS ONE OF THE SIMPLY SUPREME COURT DECISIONS I HAVE EVER READ.  IT BASICALLY SAID THIS LAW DOESN'T APPLY HERE.

YEAH, BUT WITH THE REMAND THE COURT INDICATED YOU MAY WANT TO TRY AGAIN.  THAT'S YOUR OPTION.

GIVEN THEM THE OPTION TO TRY AGAIN AND THEY CERTAINLY TOLD THEM WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS CASE AND A CHANCE TO FIX IT PERHAPS.

WE HAD SOME -- WE HAVE A CONGRESS THAT IS STRUGGLING TO DO ANYTHING AND AN ADMINISTRATION THAT IS STRUGGLING TO DO ANYTHING. FROM BOTH THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTORS OF ARKANSAS THIS WEEK WE HAD APPEALS TO WASHINGTON PLEASE DO SOMETHING.  LET'S START WITH HIGHWAYS.  WITHIN THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS THE COMMISSION -- HIGHWAY COMMISSION SAID WHAT WAS IT?  NINE, 10 PROJECTS.

NINE PROJECTS.

WE WOULD LIKE TO FUND THESE BUT IT'S TOO RISKY, TOO IFFY. WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF DOUGH. WHY DON'T YOU GET A SURFACE PROJECT?

YEAH THESE PROJECTS ONE IN PARTICULAR IN NORTHEAST ARKANSAS IT'S BEEN IN THE WORKS FOR A COUPLE OF DECADES TO GET A TWO LANE HIGHWAY AND CONNECT U.S. 67 TO HIGHWAY 49 IN JONESBORO TO GIVE AN EASIER CONNECTOR AND FOLKS UP THERE WERE UPSET TO LEARN THAT PROJECT IS BASICALLY PUT ON HOLD FOR THE MOMENT, SO THAT THERE'S NO EASY WAY REALLY TO GET FROM LITTLE ROCK TO JONESBORO, AT LEAST GOING THAT WAY BECAUSE ONCE YOU GET OFF 67 YOU'RE ON A LITTLE TWO LANE HIGHWAYS FOR A FEW MILES AND SLOWS THINGS DOWN BUT OFFICIALS WITH THE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT SAY THEY'RE NOT GETTING ENOUGH MONEY FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ESSENTIALLY TO MAINTAIN ALL OF THE PROJECTS IN THE WORKS AND THIS COMES AS THE STATE INFRASTRUCTURE IS NEEDING REPAIRS AND BASICALLY AT THE POINT THAT THE ROADS IN ARKANSAS AREN'T BEING MAINTAINED AS WELL AS SOME OTHER STATES.

THE PROBLEM IS THAT HIGHWAYS FEDERALLY ARE FUNDED THROUGH THE FUEL TAX WHICH HAS WANT BEEN RACED SINCE 1993 AND NOT INDEXED TO INFLATION SO WE HAVE MORE ROADS AND THE COST OF THOSE ROADS HAS INCREASED SIGNIFICANTLY AND YET THERE'S WANT MORE DOLLARS GO INTO EFFECT WITH INFLATION IT'S A LOT LESS. SCOTT BENNETT WITH THE ARKANSAS HIGHWAY TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT IS BEGGING WHOEVER IS LISTENING AND TELLING THEM WE CAN'T DO THIS AND AS FAR AS RIGHT NOW WE DON'T HAVE A SERVICE TRANSPORTATION BILL AND AS FAR AS RIGHT NOW IF NOTHING IS DONE -- YOU WOULD THINK CONGRESS WOULD GET IT DONE BUT THEY DON'T REALIZE.  THAT MONEY RUNS OUT IN SEPTEMBER AND AT THAT POINT THERE IS NO FEDERAL FUNDING FOR HIGHWAYS AND OUT OF MONEY AND TOO MANY PROMISES MADE SO THE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT IS STARTING TO MAKE CUTS HERE AND THERE, BUT THE HOPE IS THAT SURELY CONGRESS WILL DO THE RIGHT THING AND FILL THOSE COFFERS SURELY, BUT THEY DIDN'T WITH THE FARM BILL UNTIL REALLY LATE.  THEY DIDN'T WITH THE BUDGET REALLY REALLY, REALLY LATE.  YOU KNOW ARKANSAS WAS THE ONLY STATE TWO YEARS IN A ROW THAT PASSED TWO HIGHWAY PROGRAMS BY BALLOT INITIATIVES.  ONE WAS A BOND PROGRAM AND ONE WAS A HALF CENT SALES TAX AND IT'S SIGNIFICANT.  THAT WILL PUT SOME MONEY INTO HIGHWAYS, BUT AS SCOTT BENNETT HAS BEEN SAYING THAT IS ABOUT 400 MILES -- 630 MILES THAT'S GOING TO FIX AND THAT IS 3.8 PERCENT OF ARKANSAS' HIGHWAY NETWORK IT WILL FUND.

AND WE'RE TAXING FUELS BASED ON CONSUMPTION AND NOT PRICE.

THAT'S RIGHT AND NOT USING THE ASSIGNMENT SAME AMOUNT AND IF YOU HAVE AN ELECTRIC CAR YOU GET TO DRIVE ON THE ROADS FOR FREE.

AND A BALLOT MEASURE UP THERE.

AND WE'RE GLAD THEY WERE FINANCED BY THE SALES TAX AS STEVE MENTIONED.  WE'RE EXTREMELY PLEASED.  I WAS READING A QUOTE AND A STORY THAT SAID THAT IN NORTHWEST ARKANSAS -- OR EVERYWHERE ELSE THE SAYING IS "BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME" AND IN NORTHWEST ARKANSAS IT'S "WE DIDN'T BUILD IT BUT THEY CAME ANYWAY."  I THOUGHT THAT WAS PRETTY GOOD.  I WILL POINT OUT OF COURSE IT'S A LONG STANDING PROBLEM.  IN ADDITION TO HAVING A CONGRESS THAT CAN BARELY AGREE ON BASICALLY HONORING THE NATION'S DEBT MUCH LESS ANYTHING ELSE INCLUDING HIGHWAYS I WILL POINT OUT ALTHOUGH THE PRESIDENT DOES HAVE A PROPOSAL FOR SURFACE TRANSPORTATION AND STUFF LIKE THAT ON THE TABLE HIS ADMINISTRATION IS NOT FAMOUS FOR BEING A BIG FAN OF HIGHWAYS.  I MEAN FRANKLY I REMEMBER IN THE LAST ROUND OF -- THERE WAS ONE YEAR WHERE IT WAS LAUGHABLE. NORTHWEST ARKANSAS GOT MORE MONEY FOR THE TRAIL NETWORK IN THE FOUR CITIES UP THERE THAN FOR THE BELLY VISTA BYPASS, A HIGHWAY PROJECT.  IT WAS JUST A JOKE.

HERE'S ANOTHER TANGLE AND PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR ARE NOT CHUCKLING ABOUT THIS AND IT'S IMMIGRATION AND MICHAEL IT SEEMS DEADLOCKED IN DC AS IT IS HERE.

NOT SEEMING TO MAKE PROGRESS DESPITE PEOPLE SAYING THIS NEEDS TO BE DONE.  WE'VE HAD A REPORT COME OUT BY THE PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW AMERICAN ECONOMY SAYING BASICALLY THAT MORE FRESH PRODUCE IS HAVING TO BE IMPORTED INTO THE U.S. THAN EVER BEFORE AND THEY'RE BLAMING THE FACT THAT WE CAN'T GET MORE PEOPLE TO COME IN AND DO THE VERY HARD WORK OF BEING OUT IN THE FIELDS AND WE HAD THE PRESS CONFERENCE ON WEDNESDAY THEY WAS AT WITH THE HEAD OF THE STATE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, LITTLE ROCK CHAMBER, THE ARKANSAS FARM BUREAU AND DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION SAYING THAT THIS REINFORCES WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR A LONG TIME NOW THAT WE NEED TO CHANGE THE LAWS TO ALLOW PEOPLE TO -- FROM OUTSIDE THE U.S., MAINLY MEXICO COME IN AND WORK THE FIELDS SAYING THAT FARMERS IN A LOT OF INSTANCES HAVE TO LEAVE THEIR CROPS OUT TO THE FIELD TO ROT SOMETIMES BUT NOT ONLY THAT. YOU HAD GRANT TIN EEL WITH THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION SAYING THAT WE ALSO NEED PEOPLE TO COME IN AND FILL HIGH END JOBS LIKE ENGINEERS, SAYING THAT WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH PEOPLE IN THE STATE TO FILL THE NEED THERE, AND ALL OF THEM JUST SAYING THAT CHANGES NEED TO BE MADE IF ARKANSAS IS TO PROSPER SAYING THIS IS BASICALLY HOLDING THE STATE BACK.

AMNESTY, AMNESTY, AMNESTY -- THAT'S THE WORD YOU HEAR STEVE WHEN THIS BILL MOVES OR MOVEMENT IN THE BILL IN DC.

WELL, THERE'S A LOT OF PEOPLE AGAINST THAT -- AVERAGE AMERICANS AGAINST THAT.

PERCEIVED AMNESTY OR PURPORTED.

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH 11 MILLION PEOPLE HERE?  SEND THEM HOME?  WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN THAT CAME WITHOUT ANY OF THEIR -- WITHOUT ANY CHOICE IN THE MATTER?  IT'S A TOUGH ONE.  IT'S TOUGH FOR REPUBLICANS BECAUSE ON THE ONE HAND THEY KNOW THAT THEY ARE REALLY HURTING THE LATINO VOTERS AND THIS DOESN'T HELP AND IT'S THE FASTEST GROWING VOTING SEGMENT. ON THE OTHER HAND THEY HAVE CONCERNS HOW MANY OF THE NEW VOTERS DO YOU WANT TO BRING IN THAT MAY WANT VOTE FOR US AND THEIR BASE IS AGAINST ANY COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM SO RIGHT NOW CONGRESS CAN'T GET ANYTHING DONE ANYWAY.  ON A HOT BUTTON ISSUE WHERE THERE ARE REAL PASSIONS INVOLVED IT'S HARD TO GET ANYTHING DONE.

A COUPLE OF POINTS.  NUMBER ONE WE'RE NOT JUST TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE THAT PICK PRODUCE.  A WEEK AGO I TALKED TO A HEAD OF A VERY HIGH-TECH COMPANY IN SPRINGDALE, NANOTECHNOLOGY COMPANY AND MOANED HOW RIDICULOUS IT WAS HOW MANY WASHINGTON D.C. LAWYERS I HAVE TO PAY TO KEEP THE TALENTED PEOPLE I BROUGHT TO MY COMPANY IN THIS COUNTRY.  NOBODY THINKS THEY'RE A TERRORIST THREAT AND WE'RE GLAD TO HAVE THEM AND SECOND THING REAL QUICKLY IF YOU THINK THAT IMMIGRANTS ARE TAKING AMERICAN JOBS THERE'S SOME TOMATOS IN SOUTH ARKANSAS CALLING YOUR NAME.

AND SOME POULTRY IN THE NORTHEAST AND WEST.

YOU BET.

GOT TO END IT THERE.  GENTS THANKS FOR COMING IN AND THANKS TO YOU FOR WATCHING ALWAYS AND WE WILL SEE YOU NEXT WEEK.

"ARKANSAS WEEK" IS MADE POSSIBLE IN PART BY THE "ARKANSAS TIMES" KEEPING YOU INFORMED BY COVERING PEOPLE,  T 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.

WON'T YOU JOIN ME AND OTHER ARKANSANS IN TAKING THE CHALLENGE?  RECORD YOUR VERSION OF  THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS AND VISIT AETN.ORG/LEARNTHEADDRESS TO SUBMIT YOUR VIDEO AND TUNE IN APRIL.

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