Lincoln Says She Won’t Vote For Card-check in Its ‘Current Form’

The Most Important Thing Ever has just happened! Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., has told a Little Rock political group that she will oppose the Employee Free Choice Act.

ArkansasBusiness.com popped the news first (and on Twitter, of course):

Lincoln’s office said the senator will release a statement on the legislation this afternoon.

“I cannot support that bill,” Lincoln said, according to one attendee. “Cannot support that bill in its current form. Cannot support and will not support moving it forward in its current form.”

The measure, better known as the “card check” bill, has been fought by business groups and championed by labor, after intense lobbying by both factions.

Republicans are already making noise about what Lincoln means by not supporting it in its “current form.” Former U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin, who’s said he might run for Lincoln’s seat in 2010, Twitters thusly:

Sen. Lincoln can’t support EFCA in “current form.” How is the “current form” different from the legislation she co-sponsored and later …

Blogger Jason Tolbert reacts here in a similar vein, saying Lincoln is against it “at least for today.” And Arkansas News Bureau conservative columnist and snazzy dresser David Sanders tweets: “Sen. Lincoln’s newly-minted anti-EFCA position good news for her as she begins Easter break back home.”

Political animals have been all about this situation, writing and blogging and Twittering endlessly to speculate which way Lincoln would come down on the issue, given that she’s up for re-election in 2010.

As for card-check, the legislation vehemently opposed by business, its fate appears sealed according Politico and Huffington Post. The former calls Lincoln’s “no” the legislation’s “final nail,” and the latter calls it a “devastating blow.” The AFL-CIO disagrees.

Gwen Moritz: History Repeats With New Casino Proposal

roulette“Not this again.”

That was pretty much the phrase of the day around the office when word of Michael J. Wasserman’s casinos-in-Arkansas ballot title came back approved by the state Attorney General’s Office last week. As Arkansas Business Editor Gwen Moritz explains this week, we’ve been here before.

But as bad as the 2000 proposal by a group called Arkansas Casino Corp. was, Wasserman’s stab at it, which would write his business called Arkansas Hotels & Entertainment Inc. into the state Constitution, be even worse, according to Moritz’s column in this week’ Arkansas Business. For example:

Arkansas Casino Corp.’s amendment would have created an Arkansas Gaming Commission, but it would have regulated only lotteries and bingo, not the casinos. Wasserman dispenses with even the appearance of governmental regulation. His amendment would “prohibit the General Assembly and any political subdivision of the state from enacting any legislation, rules or regulations regarding casino gambling.”

Moritz lists other examples. But she isn’t surprised, with recent voter approval of the first statewide lottery in Arkansas, that someone has again come along and tried to get full-on casinos running in the Natural State:

Soon we’ll have a lottery, and for the first time it will be our state government’s mission to encourage Arkansans to spend their money on long-odds gambling.

It’s not surprising, then, that Wasserman thinks it might be time to pull out all the stops on a casino amendment that would benefit his company and no one else. I’m praying that Arkansans are not fooled into this one. Maybe it won’t even garner enough signatures to get on the ballot. But if it does, maybe the same thing that happened to Arkansas Casino Corp. will happen to Arkansas Hotels & Entertainment Inc.

You can read the full column here.

Casinos, Pitching the ADEC & the Final Days of the Session in Arkansas Business

This week’s Arkansas Business is online now. Among our coverage this week:

With UAMS leading the way, Arkansas might be the first to establish a public statewide umbilical cord blood bank system.

The downturn in revenue for Heifer International may be accelerating, and the high-profile nonprofit could lay off as much as a third of its employees.

Incumbent Stone Ward and challengers CJRW and The Communications Group make their respective plays for the $1.2 million Arkansas Economic Development Commission advertising account. Mark Hengel was there and outlines each proposal.

Also: CJRW FOI’s AEDC to learn about Stone Ward’s work on the account, including what the agency charged in fees.

Marketing expert Jim Karrh continues his series on effective e-mail marketing. Tip: It always helps to identify yourself as a Nigerian prince.

ArkansasBusiness.com Capitol reporter Mark Carter rounds up the wacky week at the 87th General Assembly. Only one left to go, right?

These “colloidal nanocrystals” by NN-Labs of Fayetteville won’t power the Enterprise, but they do do some cool stuff.