Sen. Jim Hendren, R-Sulphur Springs, spent his 10-minute address Monday talking about one issue: legislative corruption.
The Air Force colonel and ex-F-15 fighter pilot made his remarks on the opening day of the 2019 legislative session after being sworn in as Arkansas Senate president pro tempore.
Three days earlier, his former colleague, ex-Sen. Gilbert Baker, R-Conway, became the seventh ex-legislator charged with wrongdoing. Five of the others have been convicted, and two are in prison. The sixth, former Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Little Rock, Hendren’s cousin, has been indicted. Continue reading Capitol corruption determined by culture→
Legislators from across Arkansas will gather at the Capitol next week to begin three months of controlled chaos that thankfully occur only once every two years.
Some of the 135 lawmakers will be particularly interesting to watch.
Before listing them, for any left-out legislator who happens to read this column, notice I wrote “some” and “interesting.” Sometimes important work doesn’t create headlines. Sometimes, you’re doing something I just don’t know about yet. And sometimes it’s just not your year.
Society needs people who can produce real news, so should Arkansas high schools be required to offer a class teaching those skills?
Rep. Julie Mayberry, R-Hensley, says yes, which is why her House Bill 1015 would require high schools to offer journalism as an elective. That’s the way it was until July 2018, when the Arkansas Board of Education voted to instead allow school districts the option of providing the class.
Mayberry believes that was a mistake for several reasons. Journalism has always been a critical check and balance on the government. In fact, she said, it’s so important that the Founding Fathers listed freedom of the press in the very First Amendment. She as a legislator relies on the newspaper to inform her about meetings she can’t attend. Continue reading Should schools be required to teach about real news?→