JANUARY 22, 2007 - Posted at 7:48 a.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Governor Mike Beebe may share the same first name with his predecessor, Mike Huckabee, but not much else. At least, that's the message Beebe appears to be sending with several moves in the past two weeks as he reverses courses that had been set by Huckabee.
From Huckabee's touted merger of Health and Human Services to his definition of working papers, Beebe seems to be focusing on changes to several high-profile policies of his predecessor. Last week, Beebe said he may change two key health initiatives by Huckabee, who used a dramatic weight loss to make childhood obesity and healthy living a priority of his administration.
In the first case, Beebe said he's considering splitting up the Department of Health and Human Services, two years after the Legislature approved Huckabee's plan to merge the two agencies for cost savings. Days later, Beebe also indicated that he may change or repeal another health initiative pushed by Huckabee, a law requiring schools to track the body mass indices of children.
Although he has avoided mentioning Huckabee by name, Beebe has told reporters he wants to be a more open governor. He tried to signal as much by releasing the investigation report that led to the resignation of a Parole Board member that Huckabee fought to withhold. Beebe also dropped an appeal of a Pulaski County judge's order that the file should be made public.