Montana is pretty unique in regards to their state legislature. Montanans send 150 people to Helena every two years for 90 days to take part in the legislature. They come from all corners of the state and from varied backgrounds. For example, we see farmers, ranchers, small business owners, attorneys, and educators representing their constituents. It’s a citizen legislature hip hip hooray!
But for some reason when these people of good intentions arrive in Helena for the legislative session and start drinking the partisan water, many start acting like clowns.
My apologies to people who actually work as clowns.
Friday (April 5) turned into a circus when the Democrats (who are in the minority) tried to use a parliamentary tactic to prevent action on two Republican bills. The Republicans were trying to pass the bills before a deadline. One Democratic state senator, Shannon Augare, was missing.
Lee Newspapers reported that the parliamentary tactic used by the Democrats was a “Call of the Senate” which is “a procedural step that would block all action Friday until all 50 members were present.”
Chaos ensued and Twitter went wild with supporters and legislators from both sides firing off tweets. In other words the Montana State Senate was one clown short of a circus.
They embarrassed Montana.
I do appreciate those who take the time to serve in the legislature, but you are a very small part of the big picture – and although many of you hold a high opinion of yourself and your position, most of us (the voters) do not.
We saw pounding on desks and we heard shouting. The Republicans passed the two bills. Both sides believe they are correct in their actions. The Democrats say they may take legal steps to invalidate the two votes. The Republicans say they may investigate the events surrounding the missing senator and issue subpoenas.
Nice. This is just a hunch, but if that legal action gets to the Montana Supreme Court, look for the Democrats to prevail.
I conducted an “unscientific poll” here at The Western Word asking readers, “Who are you blaming for the chaos in the Montana State Senate?” 80% said Republicans were at fault. 10% said Democrats were at fault, and 10% said both were at fault.
On Saturday I saw a Tweet from a Lee Newspaper reporter saying the Republicans had created a milk carton that said, “MISSING. Have You Seen Me? Senator Shannon Augare. Missing since noon, April 5, 2013.”
I’m wondering if they throw spitballs or give wedgies to each other when they are sitting around the senate chamber while being paid by the taxpayers.
The milk carton Tweet got me thinking that someone should design a couple of milk cartons for the Montana Legislature with the words “MISSING: Statesmanship.”
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