Democrat-Gazette October 18, 2018 Editorial “Power to the People”

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Oct 19, 2018 Comments Off on Democrat-Gazette October 18, 2018 Editorial “Power to the People” admin

One of Rep. Hodges’ ethics reform proposals was recently recognized in this October 18, 2018 editorial:

There ought be a law. . . . Fact is, some of us didn’t know there wasn’t a law, until a state rep brought it up the other day:

Among all the solutions to combat corruption in the Ledge, increased ethics rules and more transparency/disclosure seem to be at the top of most lists. When ethics don’t work, the law will have to. More’s the pity.

And while rules and regs and laws are a necessary start, we’d like to see the Ledge take another look at one particular proposal from state Rep. Grant Hodges.

One of the few millennials in the Legislature, Rep. Hodges has a new idea to tackle the corruption issue: Return power to the voters. At a candidate forum in Rogers last week, Hodges reminded voters he has proposed allowing voters to recall legislators.

(Actually, a recall law for state officials would be new for Arkansas. In other states, recall elections bounce around all the time. Is it time for Arkansas’ own? Look at the papers–and police blotters–for your answer.)

In June, Grant Hodges sent out a news release with a few different proposals to combat legislative corruption. Included were ideas like more disclosure, a review of the state’s ethics and corruption laws, and establishing public corruption units within law enforcement agencies. To her credit, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has already announced the formation of a Public Integrity Division.

But most Arkansans might also support another proposal Rep. Hodges listed, a recall law for lawmakers. After all, if voters can send officials to Little Rock, why shouldn’t they be able to call them back?

Rep. Hodges said Arkansas already has recall options for local offices. And if recall efforts are good enough for mayors and boards of directors, they’re good enough for our lawmakers.

Don’t hold your breath waiting to see that idea put into action anytime soon. We imagine asking lawmakers to open themselves up to recall elections is akin to asking Congress to vote for a pay cut for themselves. It ain’t likely. But Regnat populus, always. We’ve seen that phrase somewhere at the Capitol before. Let’s hope our betters never forget it.

Editorial on 10/18/2018

Print Headline: Power to the people