The line is open. Final notes:
* GOV. BEEBE WARNS OF FALLOUT FROM FAILURE TO RENEW PRIVATE OPTION: Gov. Mike Beebe reiterated to sheriffs today the damage that will be done to the state budget if the legislature fails to renew the Medicaid expansion plan that is bringing millions in new federal money into the budget, freeing other dollars for increased prison capacity and other uses. Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson was asked by the AP to prove his assertion that Beebe’s numbers are fuzzy. He came up empty again. And STILL won’t say where HE stands on the private option. Some leader.
* BACK TO THE JAILHOUSE: Kelly Campbell, sentenced to prison in 2007 along with her husband, former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell, in a sex-and-drug scandal, has been arrested again. Drug charge, says KTHV.
* WENDY DAVIS’ KIDS DEFEND THEIR MOM: Times were tough and their mom didn’t abandon her daughters, they say in defending the Texas gubernatorial candidate. Yes, she had a child two years later than she has indicated. Yes, she got help from a husband she soon split from while in law school. Let the Republicans play their typical misogyny game by calling her a slut and worse. It’s exactly why the GOP always has a gender gap. This is how they feel and roll. Every time.
* ROCKET SLIDE ARSON ARRESTS: Two teens have been arrested (Fox 16) for burning portions of the popular rocket slide in North Little Rock’s Burns Park.
* HOUSE REPUBLICANS VOTE TO FURTHER LIMIT WOMEN’S MEDICAL RIGHTS: The latest anti-abortion gimmick is to prevent private insurance from providing abortion coverage in private insurance policies, except in cases of rape and incest. Really. Now they are telling private companies what they can and cannot cover in many cases. Never mind the immense cost of forcing women to continue pregnancies under that coverage, unless they choose to pay for their own abortions. Will we now have conscience legislation on erectile dysfunction? And what about some end-of-life decisions? Why should all customers willing to accept inevitable outcomes pay for those who want insurance to pay for extraordinary measures no matter the odds. It enjoyed universal support from Arkansas Republican congressmen who give not a fig about women’s reproductive rights. This bill won’t pass the Senate. But it’s more campaign fodder for Tom Cotton and Co. The bill is misleadingly labeled as being about taxpayer-funded abortions. Those already aren’t allowed. Here’s a fuller explanation of how that’s so. And also NARAL comments.
Also, President Obama says he’ll veto it, but he shouldn’t have to face that decision. And still more from the NY Times on a bunch of Republican men telling women what they can and cannot do under insurance preventive care coverage.
* THIS IS FUNNY: Natural State Report notes that Linda Collins-Smith obtained some feel-good citations just before she left the House of Representatives Dec. 31, 2012 and sat on them for more than a year so that she could hand them out now that she’s running for an open Senate seat. None dare calls this delayed presentation to a local Legion post a crass bit of electioneering by a coldly calculating turncoat Democrat thumped in her last race for higher office.