A new state law that pre-empts most municipal ordinances that punish motorists convicted of driving under the influence is seen by experts as a potential revenue loser.
The law, which is scheduled to take effect Nov. 1, is one of the most recent examples of state lawmakers pushing through bills that pre-empt the authority of local governments. State Senate District 9 candidates criticized the practice in most instances, but offered competing opinions about what might be done to curb legislative overreach.
Democrat Jack Reavis said he would be an advocate for municipal autonomy but justified pre-emption as a way "to ensure consistent enforcement of a law." Republican Dewayne Pemberton, who cited his belief "in smaller government" as the basis of his opinion, described himself as "a local-control advocate" who is "not keen on pre-emptive legislation" that wrests control from the elected officials of local governments.
"These are the individuals that represent the community and what the community wants for itself," Pemberton said. "To allow the local governments to be handcuffed by pre-emptive legislation at the state level not only takes away their autonomy, but also takes away the concept of representative government at the local level from the voting public."
Reavis addressed the issue from a slightly different perspective. While he would be an advocate for self-governance, Reavis said there is a system in place that appears likely to remain unchanged for some time.
"The way it is set up now, the state supersedes the local and the feds supersede the state," Reavis said. "Until this hierarchical structure changes there is not much one can do except hope that a lawsuit is filed that has a constitutional issue at its core and the case begins to bob and weave through the judicial system."
During the interim, Reavis said he would "advocate in a lawful manner for the sovereignty of municipalities to self-governance" if he is elected to the legislative post.
Pemberton said he would, if elected, "be very cognizant and hesitant of passing any legislation with pre-emptive authority."
Reavis and Pemberton will square off Nov. 8 in this year's general election. The candidates are competing for a post being vacated due to term limits.
Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or email@example.com.
Meet Dewayne Pemberton
HOMETOWN: Cabot, Ark.
OCCUPATION: Retired educator.
FAMILY: Wife, Claire Pemberton; three sons, Matt, Ben and Adam Pemberton; six grandchildren.
OCCUPATION: Retired educator.
EDUCATION: University of Central Arkansas, bachelor’s degree with a double major in social studies and health/physical education; University of Arkansas-Little Rock; Northeastern State University, master's degree in education administration; Oklahoma State University-Tulsa, principal and superintendent specialist certification.
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: St. Joseph Catholic Church.
HOBBIES: Sports, hunting and fishing.
Meet Jack Reavis
FAMILY: Wife, Lora (Weant) Reavis; four daughters: Ashley and her husband, Joe Couch, Bayly and her husband, Steven Wright, and Maryah Reavis and Madison Reavis; and five grandchildren.
OCCUPATION: Classroom teacher at Muskogee High School.
EDUCATION: Northeastern State University. Bachelor’s degree in social studies education, master’s degree in American studies.
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Christian, attend Life Church Muskogee.
HOBBIES: Playing music and writing poetry.
FACEBOOK PAGE: Reavis for Senate
Absentee ballot deadline: Nov. 2.
General Election: Nov. 8.