A monument of the Ten Commandments will return to the Arkansas Capitol Lawn next week, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
The Arkansas Legislature authorized the privately financed monument in 2015, and it was installed on the capitol grounds last year.
Unfortunately, less than 24 hours after it was placed on the lawn, a Van Buren man plowed a car into the monument, destroying it.
The new monument is a duplicate of the original, but it will be flanked by concrete barriers to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Meanwhile, the ACLU has promised to sue the state as soon as the monument is put in place — even though an identical monument was ruled constitutional in Texas some years ago.
Recently we have written about efforts by the Quapaw Tribe in Oklahoma and the group Driving Arkansas Forward to build casinos in Arkansas.
Under their proposed constitutional amendment, four casinos would be authorized in Garland, Crittenden, Pope, and Jefferson counties. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has rejected wording for the proposal multiple times, citing ambiguities in the measure’s ballot title.
This week the group asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to approve the measure’s wording and let them start gathering petition signatures to place the casino amendment on the 2018 ballot — despite the fact the Attorney General’s office has said the measure’s wording is deficient.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports lawyers for Driving Arkansas Forward told the Arkansas Supreme Court that the A.G. has abused her duties in failing to approve the casino amendment.
I am not aware of any past group sidestepping the Arkansas Attorney General’s office this way. Instead of working with the A.G. to write an unambiguous ballot proposal — the way pas groups have done — Driving Arkansas Forward is asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to usurp the Attorney General’s authority.
Casino gambling is linked to homelessness, domestic violence, divorce, and bankruptcy. It’s a blight on the community. Arkansas already has enough problems from gambling. We don’t need any more.
The Attorney General was right to reject this casino proposal; the Arkansas Supreme Court should do the same.
Yesterday Arkansas Right to Life Executive Director Rose Mimms published an op-ed at TownHall.com regarding Issue 1 — a proposed constitutional amendment restricting noneconomic damages juries can award in lawsuits — writing,
Issue One would put an arbitrary cap of $500,000 on non-economic and caps punitive damages. In real life this means that if a 40 year old successful business man is killed negligently then his life could be worth millions because you could calculate his current earnings and multiply them out for the future. If a stay at home mom, a child or infant, a retired veteran, an individual with Down Syndrome or other genetic disorder who isn’t employed or a nursing home resident who dies as a result of abuse or someone else’s error or negligence then those lives are all capped at a value never to exceed $500,000. The jury simply can’t award a family more, even if it wanted to do so. Think of your loved ones, would you ever put a price tag on their lives?
Ultimately, Issue One says that some lives are more valuable than others. It says that your life’s value is determined by your what you earn at the time of a tragedy. It says that Arkansans on juries can’t hear the facts and award a family $1 million dollars for the abuse of their child who was left brain damaged or the neglect of their elderly mother in a nursing home. Issue One is one more step in devaluing life in a culture where we simply can’t afford any more slips down that slope.
Family Council Action Committee announced a few weeks ago that it would campaign against Issue 1, because the amendment puts a dollar value on human life.
Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. As far back as 2003, we did not oppose general malpractice reform measures passed by the legislature. That same year, however, we did oppose a proposal that could have given an unfair advantage to nursing homes over good care for residents.
Some nursing home owners simply don’t want to spend the money necessary to provide quality care. They cut staff, reduce services, compromise care, and let people suffer. Most families have a story about a loved one who was neglected or mistreated in a nursing home. The fear of a lawsuit may be all that keeps some nursing homes in line. Issue 1 removes that threat. If that goes away, our elderly nursing home residents will suffer even more.
Photo Credit: By MediaPhoto.Org [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons