Another week done. Finishing up:
* SPENDING MONEY ON OUTSIDE COUNSEL: Remember the controversy about state agencies and officials spending money on private lawyers when the law says people like the secretary of state must use the attorney general, or get his clearance, before they hire outside lawers? Secretary of State Mark Martin has particularly abused the law and is fighting an FOI lawsuit over his expenses in such cases. Now comes an unrelated lawsuit that might tee up the question for court determination. A motion has been filed in a federal race discrimination case against the Arkansas Highway Transportation Department. It asks that Carolyn Witherspoon be disqualified from receiving tax money to represent the department since the department didn’t seek clearance for outside counsel from the attorney general first. The Highway Department believes it is exempt from that law. I don’t know if a federal judge will get into the question, but ….. It’s an interesting case in its own right, over the predominance of whites in supervisory roles and an allegation of retaliation over a grievance about personnel practices.
* MARIJUANA AND ABORTION MEASURES SET BACK: Attorney General Dustin McDaniel today rejected a couple more tries by a pro-marijuana group and a “personhood” anti-abortion amendment proponent to qualify petitions for the ballot. Ambiguities were cited again. Find opinions here.
* THEY TASED HIM, BRO: Hot Springs National Park rangers say they had to Tase a man they’d stopped for careless driving and determined he was wanted on felony charges. Plus, he had a suspended driver’s license and no insurance on his Tahoe.
* THREATENING LETTER TO JUDGE NETS 15-YEAR SENTENCE: U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge announced today that Leroy Selsor, already in state prison, was sentenced to 15 yers in federal prison for sending threatening letters to a federal judge and other federal officials.
* REPORT: ORBEA BIKES HEADING TO MAIN STREET: J Bar Cycling, a great source of local bicycling news, reports that the bicycle company Orbea USA, which sold a North Little Rock building to Diamond Bear for its new brewery, is moving to Second and Main Street in Little Rock. That would be offices formerly occupied by the Stephens Media Central Arkansas newspapers, now housed in the US Bank in North Little Rock. J Bar says the facility would include retail bike sales, a product demonstration center for dealers and perhaps other elements of the company’s warehouse and distribution operations. Also maybe a coffee shop, sorely lacking in the neighborhood between the Main Street parking deck and my office. An announcement is coming next week, J Bar reports.