If I were governor
Over the past few years, I have written about things in our state fair that I believe need to be changed or need to be added to our state’s statutes, regulations, and laws. So now I will be specific.
The 15 items listed below contain many of these necessary changes, most of which would require legislation or direct governor action. I think if any or all of the list below were adopted, it would be a positive addition to our state’s guidelines and regulations and make our state more responsive to its citizens.
I know most of these ideas would require legislation, but if a governor pushed for them, they would have a good chance of becoming laws.
In addition, I believe that several of these recommendations would save a significant amount of money, improve our quality of life and some of the fifteen would improve the image of our natural state.
Of course, this is just a wish list, and the chances that most or even some of them will be implemented quickly are extremely long. However, many of these suggestions are already in effect in other states and countries of Western Europe. If we are ever to win any better way of life here in Arkansas, sooner or later we will embrace all, or at least most, of these suggestions.
(1) Pass a bill in the legislature to make all national and local elections apolitical. In other words, there would be no party affiliation on the ballot. There would be a second round if none of the candidates obtained more than 50% of the votes. The person with the most votes would be the winner.
Running without any party affiliation is already a practice in some cities in Arkansas, and this helps ensure that whoever receives the most votes wins the election. This would go a long way in calming partisan bickering in decision-making, and it would ensure a genuinely citizens’ election, which would separate the state from the national agenda of any political party.
(2) Make full gender equality a mandate for all state and local boards and commissions. This is already the law in a number of European countries, and various states have taken steps in this direction. How can you oppose half of our citizens having their say? And yes, we have a lot of qualified women. Surveys have shown that boards and commissions are more productive if they are gender balanced. California has already passed a law that requires boards of directors registered in the state to have equal representation.
Equal gender representation is as important as the right to vote, and that will undoubtedly happen here in Arkansas for years to come. Why wait?
(3) Set a goal of making full ecological restoration a primary consideration of the Game and Fish Commission, which would include top predator restoration as a primary addition to balance the state’s wildlife. In order to have the best wildlife management programs, we need to have a diverse wildlife population. Without top predators, it is impossible to eradicate CWD and have quail and turkeys in abundance.
(4) Create a Frivolous Bills Commission with the power to reject worthless bills, such as: making the red wasp the official wasp of the state. With as many as 1,500 bills tabled each session, hundreds are never expected to even make it to committee. The saving of time and money would be substantial.
(5) Switch to daylight saving time all year round. You probably don’t like it being pitch dark at 5.30 p.m. There is already a bill in Congress that would do this, and Arkansas should step up and join the attempt to impose daylight saving time all year round. The time change began to allow for greater productivity during World War II, and that need passed decades ago.
(6) Pass a comprehensive environmental bill, which would phase out plastic straws, single-use plastic bags, and non-returnable soda and beer bottles over five years, and replace coal with carbon over ten years. natural gas as fuel for the production of electricity plants.
(7) Adopt a 1 cent sales tax to be used strictly for the improvement of education. If we can give tax cuts of $ 500 million to the highest earners and generate a surplus of $ 500 million in tax revenue, we can certainly pay our teachers a decent salary and make it available to high school graduates of the. Arkansas a two-year college education.
(8) Pass legislation to prevent the Arkansas Attorney General from joining federal lawsuits by other states. It seems to me that joining the prosecutions of other states is just a political posture, and outside of political exposure it’s worthless. Let’s put an end to this waste of time and money.
(9) Charge the author or promoter of any bill that is deemed unconstitutional by the Federal Courts for legal costs incurred when the bill is challenged.
Most of these bills are just another set of political positions, and the people who file these worthless bills should have to pay the legal fees. Many of these bills are blatantly unconstitutional, and they are so obvious that the sponsor (s) of these bills surely know it.
(10) Double the size of our national parks.
Well, we call our state the natural state, so what could be more natural than increasing the size of our state parks? I’ve visited most of our state parks, and I’ve never been to one that wouldn’t be better or more accessible if doubled in size. There are also many areas of significant natural or historical significance, which should be added as state parks.
(11) Increase the penalty for roadside garbage to $ 2,500 per violation, increase warning signs, and require the State Highway Department to add law enforcement personnel to ensure that people offenders are charged.
12) Put a $ 10 per tail bounty on feral pigs and add some top predators to our state’s wildlife. If we don’t control feral pigs, the decline of our wild turkey population will continue until it reaches quail level.
Australia has more feral pigs than any country in the world, and their research has documented the destruction of the feral pig: “… feral pigs have spread nesting birds to the ground” – a quote from their study detailed.
13) Create an anti-waste incentive program for roadside waste. The program would pay an individual $ 10 for each large bag of garbage handed over. The state is already spending thousands of dollars to tackle the waste problem and that would help. Make it similar to the Adopt-a-Street program already in effect in several cities.
14) Increase the environmental attention of the Arkansas Highways Department with a non-partisan committee, which would recommend the development of additional trees, shrubs and sidewalks along Arkansas highways. Expand the current sidewalk program on Hwy 167 South and Hwy 82 East to a statewide program where freeways are within city limits. Plant shrubs or crepe myrtle in the green strip between the sidewalk and the freeway.
15) Have a state sponsored grant program to plant 100,000 trees on the downtown streets of our cities. Chicago recently completed a program to plant trees on the streets of a million people.
Take care, Governor!
Richard Mason is an author and lecturer. He can be contacted at [email protected]