Republican legislators complained that Democratic Attorney General Dustin McDaniel was delaying his opinion on a controversial gubernatorial appointment, but McDaniel’s office says a decision is just days away.
Today, through the Republican Party of Arkansas, State Reps. Jane English (R-North Little Rock) and Allen Kerr (R-Little Rock) asked for McDaniel’s decision on whether or not Shane Broadway met the legal requirements of Arkansas law to serve as director of Department of Higher Education. Broadway currently serves as interim director of the agency.
“It is customary that the Attorney General’s office return opinion requests within six weeks,” English said. “It has now been six weeks and we are concerned that Mr. McDaniel has failed to respond in a timely matter to our request for an opinion for what we view as a simple matter of law… We’d like an answer.”
“Attorney General McDaniel has issued fifteen other opinions since Rep. English and I made our request,” Kerr said. “The last I checked, the legislature is a co-equal branch of government in our state and we are both subject to following the law.”
Attorney General spokesman Aaron Sadler said the two GOP lawmakers, who made their request in late July, had little reason to raise a ruckus in the media.
"Typically, if a legislator is concerned about the status of an opinion request, he or she would have called our office. Had either Rep. Kerr or Rep. English called us rather than issuing a press release through the Republican Party, they would have been told that a final draft is on the Attorney General’s desk awaiting his final review and edits. We expect the opinion to be issued within the next few days," Sadler said.
The area of law being reviewed is Arkansas Code 6-61-203, which states that the higher education director “shall be an experienced educator in the field of higher education who demonstrates competence in the field of institutional management and finance. The director and key staff must have relevant experience on a campus of higher education.”
Republican lawmakers have questioned whether or not Broadway, a former state senator who has not worked for a university or college in the past, meets the legal requirements for the job.