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Open to the FOI

Old hands and new hires alike in the ranks of state workers, you have no expectation of privacy when it comes to details about your state employment.

The state attorney general’s office drives home that point in response to a question from three state employees as to whether a state agency’s decision to release a long list of information about state employees pursuant to a Freedom of Information request was consistent with the state FOI law.

The list included the name, agency, job title, salary, length of service, work address, work telephone number, work fax number, and work email address of all state employees.

The answer? In a word, yes.

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Boozman’s civics lesson

It’s getting hard to tell that the majority rules in America these days, U.S. Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, said on the floor of the U.S. House today in denouncing the new health care reform bill.

Boozman, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, said this in his speech:

“Madam Speaker, America is a democracy, not a monarchy, but you wouldn’t know it by the way the American people have been ignored by President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid.”

Video of Boozman’s speech is available here.

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Lincoln to hold town hall meeting

U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln says she’ll hold a town hall meeting in Forrest City on Friday on the topic of child nutrition.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. at the Forrest City Civic Center. Lincoln says she plans to discuss the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which she says will be the largest-ever investment in child nutrition programs.

Lincoln is chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

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Pro-life group thanks Snyder

right to life

Retiring U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder got a thank-you letter today from a pro-life group.

Arkansas Right to Life members, pictured here outside Snyder’s Little Rock office, delivered a letter thanking Snyder for the vote in November in favor of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to the House health care bill, which would prohibit federal dollars from being used on insurance plans that cover abortion.

The group also asked Snyder to vote against the Senate health care bill, which would prohibit the use of federal dollars on abortion coverage but would allow federal money to be spent on other types of coverage under plans that also cover abortion.
Customers who want abortion coverage would have to use only private money for that part of their policy.

The Senate bill is “the most pro-abortion single piece of legislation since Roe v. Wade,” the group said in the letter.

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New direction for Kennedy campaign — north

Democrat Patrick Kennedy says his 2nd District congressional campaign has gone in a new direction — north.

Kennedy’s campaign staff moved into new digs Monday on Main Street in North Little Rock. He becomes the only congressional candidate with primary headquarters in that city. His campaign team is headed by North Little Rock native Patti Julian.

Kennedy called for debates in all eight counties of the 2nd District among the Democratic candidates vying for the party’s nomination to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock.

Other Democratic candidates are House Speaker Robbie Wills of Conway and state Sen. Joyce Elliott, David Boling and John Adams, all of Little Rock.

Little Rock residents Tim Griffin and Scott Wallace are the Republican contenders.

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GOP Senate candidates to debate UPDATE

Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate have been invited to a debate Tuesday night at UALR’s William H. Bowen School of Law, and most have said they will attend, according to the state Republican Party.

The debate starts at 6:30 p.m. and is sponsored by the Arkansas Federation of Young Republicans. KATV anchor Scott Inman is scheduled to moderate, and KATV plans live streaming of the debate on its Web site.

Questions for the candidates can be posted on the Young Republicans’ Facebook page, sent to their Twitter account or e-mailed to:
elizabeth.aymond@arkansasyr.org

UPDATE: KATV reports today that it will not stream the debate live, though it plans to have a video of the debate on its Web site sometime tonight or early tomorrow. Also, the station says U.S. Rep. John Boozman will not be participating, but Sarah Huckabee, his campaign manager, will stand in for him. The other seven GOP candidates have said they will take part.

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Griffin addition

Add one to the Tim Griffin household.

The Republican 2nd District congressional candidate and his wife, Elizabeth, welcomed the birth of their son this afternoon at Baptist Health Medical Center.

John Timothy Griffin Jr. weighed in at 9 lbs., 1 oz.

“We are very thankful for this blessing from God. My wife and son are doing well,” Griffin said.

This is the second child for the Griffin family, and first son. The Griffins also have a 2-year-old daughter.

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Hendren’s cash cows

The state Democratic Party is trying to make political hay out of a tweet today by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kim Hendren.

Hendren posted on Twitter, “Had to sell 5 black angus cows to stay in the game! But we’re in to win and still have a few more cows!!!”

In a follow-up tweet, Hendren said he needed cash to pay the $12,500 filing fee.

In a release headed “Kim Hendren Bets the Farm,” state Democratic Party spokesman Gabe Holmstrom says, “Sen. Hendren may have more cows to sell left in his barn, but lots of Arkansans can’t even afford meat for the dinner table. With a voting history like his, Arkansas might be better served if Kim Hendren stayed on the farm and tended his cattle.”

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Don’t ask the governor

Gov. Mike Beebe’s office says his statewide call-in shows on the Arkansas Radio Network and the Arkansas Education Television Network are going on hiatus until after the November election.

Both shows have halted production during past election seasons to avoid giving any perceived advantage to the sitting governor.

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Berry vs. Halter

A campaign spokesman for Lt. Gov. Bill Halter says the bad-mouthing Halter got from Congressman Marion Berry came from a bitter man.

Asked about Halter’s possible Democratic primary challenge to incumbent U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Berry told Congressional Quarterly, “I don’t know anybody that cares what Bill Halter is going to do except Bill Halter. He is only of consequence in his own mind.”

Lincoln and Berry are both from East Arkansas and have been political allies. The retiring congressman told CQ that Halter would lose if he ran against Lincoln.

“He’s pretty much exhausted his ability to raise money in Arkansas,” Berry said. “It was kind of fluke he got elected to lieutenant governor’s office” in 2006.

Halter campaign spokesman Bud Jackson responds that Berry is still bitter because “his candidate”— Tim Wooldridge — was defeated by Halter in the lieutenant governor’s race four years ago.

Jackson continues, “It was no fluke that Bill Halter was elected by a wide margin, earning more votes than even Mike Beebe against Asa (Hutchinson). It  was no fluke that more than 60 percent of Arkansans passed the scholarship lottery that (Halter) fought for in the face of insider and special interest attacks.”

And he adds, “Thankfully, for the thousands of Arkansans who will soon receive a scholarship, Bill Halter was on their side, fought for them and won. If he does run for federal office, Arkansans can expect more of the same because Bill Halter understands that Washington is broken and needs to be fixed, even if it means taking on the insiders and special interests.”

Otherwise, Jackson says he has “nothing new” to report on Halter’s decision about his political future.

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