While I was away, the Arkansas Public Law Center, on whose board I sit, moved forward with plans for a legal challenge of the legislature’s recent passage of a special tax break for a company that sells a chemical used in drilling for natural gas. The non-fiscal measure was passed without the required rule suspension vote to take up non-fiscal matters in a fiscal session. It was one in a growing list of “special language” additions to legislation outside the usual committee deliberation process.
You may recall that Sen. David Johnson spoke out on the practice in an article by Benji Hardy. Proponents of the measures passed using the special language loophole — such as Sen. Jonathan Dismang, who pushed the tracking tax break — naturally defend the process. Gov. Mike Beebe vetoed the $5 million tax break, but the legislature overrode the veto.
More on the lawsuit when its ready for filing.