- Associated Press - Sunday, December 21, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A lobbyist for the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville is urging state lawmakers who received free parking permits in October for football games to consult with their attorneys following last month’s voter approval of a constitutional amendment that bars state elected officials from accepting certain gifts.

Spokesmen for the colleges and universities say they’re no longer providing free football or basketball tickets and free parking passes to lawmakers. They also are reconsidering whether to hold certain events during the legislative session, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Sunday (https://bit.ly/16G7PCJ ).

The lawmakers were already required to pay for their own season tickets because the school doesn’t provide free tickets to them, according to an Arkansas spokesman.

Nearly two weeks after voters approved the constitutional amendment, Randy Massanelli, the school’s vice chancellor for governmental relations, notified 33 state lawmakers that the value of each parking permit they had received was $20 per football game.

State Sen. Jon Woods, R-Springdale, and Rep. Warwick Sabin, D-Little Rock, sponsored the measure. Woods said he wrote a check for $40 to pay for free parking permits for football games in November after he received Massanelli’s email.

Twenty-five other lawmakers, including two who are not season ticket-holders, have done the same, school spokesman Mark Rush said.

Asked whether Amendment 94 required the repayment, Woods said: “You never know. We are just trying to figure out the amendment.”

Rep. Tommy Thompson, D-Morrilton, said he hasn’t paid the school yet for the free parking permits.

“The pass for parking was given prior to the date of the game and election, so there was no way the UA could be out of line,” Thompson wrote in an email to the newspaper. “When the gift is used really has no effect.”

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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