Last week all eyes were on Sen. Jason Rapert. In a blow to his campaign for Lt. Governor, an angry-turned-downtrodden Rapert was left with little political traction in the Governor’s special tax session. Can you blame him for being upset? First Leslie Rutledge crushed Rapert’s dreams of being the next Lt. Governor. Then Republicans ignored his police tax credit legislation. Lastly, colleagues denied Rapert’s attempt to extend session so he could run a Texas-style heartbeat bill.  It’s no secret that Rapert is used to blind support from his fellow GOP colleagues. Now he’s on the #arleg sidelines. Bless his heart.


Rapert Vs. Senate


Senate vote to overturn Chair's decision of germaness

The Senate vote to overturn the Chair’s decision and throw out SB8.

Early in the special session, Sen. Dismang was quick to object to Rapert’s bills, SB8 and SB9.  Twenty-three Senators chose not to listen to Rapert and voted to throw his legislation out. Yikes.


“I do not believe that this bill is germane to the call. It does not fit the perimeters of the call.”

Sen. Jonathan Dismang, Special Session, 12/07/21

Rapert’s bills would have created a tax credit for state law enforcement and would have cost around twenty-five million dollars. Rapert said he was trying to “back the blue.” Surprisingly, his own party called him out for “political games” and “bad policy,” deeming his legislation unnecessary.


Bless His Heart: The Bully Gets Bullied


Senate Revenue and Tax committee was another blow for Rapert. Every member of the committee, except Sen. Mark Johnson, put Rapert on the hot seat for attempting to bring his police tax bill an amendment to SB1.

Senate Revenue and Tax Highlights

Hickey: …I’m going to ask Sen. Rapert, you just said this was identical to what you tried on the floor, and the will of the body of the Senate was that this was not germane, and now you’re bringing it to the committee to actually try to get it put on. It seems like it’s almost a little bit disrespectful to the will body of the Senate…

Hickey: …there’s a lot of members down here, myself especially that’s included, that do not think this is good policy… There are multiple things that we need to consider instead of some haphazard thing that’s being thrown out here, quite frankly, as a political game

Dismang:  this is a hostile amendment… the first I knew about this amendment is when I sat right down right there and Sen. Rapert told me he was going to put a hostile amendment, now he wouldn’t term it that way, on the bill… Nope. You don’t get a chance to respond. I had to listen to it for a while.


Nobody Listens to Rapert 🙁


Image:  Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

That was two #arleg strikes against Rapert, and the week only got worse. His GOP colleagues proved unmovable, but he did have one last political trick up his sleeve: extend the special session so he could run his heartbeat bill. An easy win for Rapert, right?

Wrong. Rapert’s friends in the Senate denied him one last time, leaving him to tweet his animosities. In the course of three days, Sen. Rapert went from GOP powerhouse to irrelevant, wounded legislator.

Must be lonely on the wrong side of one’s own party. Bless Rapert’s heart.