Mike Beebe has returned to Arkansas to reclaim his rightful place as governor from part-timer Mark Darr, and the Real Governor says Darr’s signing of legislation while Beebe was gone was “totally inappropriate.”
Beebe has a legitimate gripe. Before he left for a National Governor’s Association meeting, Beebe made it clear he would not sign Senate Bill 131 but would allow it to become law without his signature. The bill was to make all records regarding state-issued concealed handgun permits exempt from public disclosure.
While Beebe was gone, however, Darr jumped into the limelight. As acting governor, he signed the bill into law. After Beebe’s criticism today, Darr offered this:
I respect the office of the Governor, the Constitution of the State of Arkansas, but mostly I respect the citizens of Arkansas and the 130,000 citizens that are now protected under this law.
I want to thank the number of constituents who have called and emailed in support of this law. People like Donna Schaefer of Carlisle, who took the time to come to the Capitol today and express how grateful she was. Donna and her 82 year old mother were two names that were released yesterday by a reporter here in Little Rock. Her story is an example of why I felt the urgent need to sign this bill into law.
It is important to remember that Act 145 received a tremendous amount of support from the Arkansas Legislature with a vote of 84 to 9 in the House and 24 to 9 in the Senate.
So, rather than the bill becoming law on Monday, Darr rescued the state by making it law on Friday. That’s powerful stuff. Not.
Darr simply wanted attention and jumped at a shortcut to get it.
Unfortunately, the governor has to leave the state occasionally to conduct business. Perhaps next time, his staff will lock anything important up and let him take the key with him.