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Arkansas Senators: Changing the Goal Post

Posted on Saturday, February 14th, 2015 at 4:47 pm    

A handful of our Arkansas State Senators are plotting to provide a hefty return on investment to the nursing home industry by taking away your 7th Amendment rights to a civil jury trial. The civil jury trial is essential to our liberty and our Founding Fathers led the charge to secure that liberty based in large part on having an independent judiciary that would protect their inalienable rights to private property, gun ownership, a fair trial, religious liberty and free speech. They knew these things were worth dying to protect, and they did not pick and choose one right over another to defend. So why do some legislators at the Capitol think your rights are for sale? Make no mistake, if they’ll take one from you, they’ll take them all. For over 35 years now, the rule to pass any proposed constitutional amendments requires passage through the Joint Committee on State Agencies. Under the rules of the House and rules of the Senate, a regular bill that is in a regular committee can be pulled out and brought before the full chamber on a simple majority vote. Joint Committees, though, are governed by the Joint Rules, and those rules require a 2/3 vote from the chamber to pull a vote out of the Joint Committee on State Agencies.

Every session, the entire chamber passes these rules at the beginning of the session to solidify the manner of doing business. During this legislative session, the Senate has passed the rules, but the House has not – and the reason why has become crystal clear. The current plan by some in the senate is to recall the Joint Rules from the House before they can be adopted, thereby skirting the entire committee process for referring out Constitutional Amendments.

Bypassing the rules set in place for the past 35 years serves to appease their number one special interest group, the nursing home lobby, while securing a constitutional amendment that takes away your 7th Amendment rights. Sound dirty? It is. Not only are they bending the rules to secure special privileges for the industry as a whole, but the kingpen of the nursing home industry, Michael Morton, leads this charge. His political donations are enormous and his political power is mighty. And while he is currently mired in a shameful scandal of bribing a judge, his efforts to make his own rules have not been stalled a bit. He doesn’t just think he’s above the law – he thinks he’s above the constitution! Instead of distancing themselves from a man involved in such nefarious behavior, some of our senators are moving mountains to break all the rules. How far will these senators go to serve this man and give him special privileges?

Your liberty is on the line now more than ever. Call your senator and tell them that your liberty isworth more than the campaign donations Morton and the nursing home industry has made to them. Your liberty, your children’s liberty and your grandchildren’s liberty is priceless and we won’t let them take it from us! How do you find your senator? Go to https://senate.arkansas.gov/, type in your address and your state senator will show up. You’ll find the link to his or her email address, physical address at the Capitol and also their telephone number. Tell them that your liberty is not for sale!