The Monday Memo: MT Legislature, a Gimmick, & Tester

My words will either attract a strong mind or offend a weak one. – Unknown

Today’s independent commentary deals with these issues:

  • 2019 Montana Legislature
  • The Gimmick
  • Tester’s New Communications Director

2019 Montana Legislature:

REMINDER – The 2019 Legislative session will convene TODAY (Monday, January 7) in Helena.

That means it’s time to hide the children and elderly and get into your bunkers for the next 90 days.

I compare the Montana Legislature to a circus coming to town. There are several clowns and some weird acts. I will be watching the Legislature for batshit crazy stuff to highlight. Please feel free to let me know if you see any crazy stuff.

Over the years I have found that many members of the Montana Legislature do more harm to the state than they do good. As you might conclude, my expectations for a successful session are not very high.

Once again, here are my thoughts on some key issues:

  • No pay raise for Montana Legislators
  • Fund Medicaid expansion
  • Increase DUI penalties – make it hurt.
  • One minor thing that needs to be done to increase revenue is to allow debit cards to be used to purchase Montana Lottery tickets. They need to change the (Montana Code Annotated 23-7-302 (3)) that reads, “Tickets and chances may be purchased only with cash or a check and may not be purchased on credit.” They need to change that line and add, “debit card.”

More information about the 2019 session can be found HERE. Please contact your legislator about the issues that are important to you.

The Gimmick:

MTN News is reporting that U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) and U.S. Representative Greg Gianforte (R-MT) both multi-millionaires, will join about 35 others on both sides of the aisle who are withholding their pay until the shutdown is over. They also say they don’t want to take a paycheck while other government workers are going without pay.

In the immortal words from my hero, Matt Foley, “Well, la-di-frickin-da!”

MTN also reported that as for Montana’s senior U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, a spokesman tells Q2 the Democrat will take a paycheck during this time, but also added that the President has the power to end the shutdown immediately and that “people don’t need gimmicks.”

Tester is correct about this issue. It is a gimmick. Daines and Gianforte are super-rich and don’t really need a paycheck from the government to survive the shutdown. I do realize that most of our elected officials in D.C. really don’t need their paychecks to make ends meet.

Tester’s New Communications Director:

Via a press release, U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced that he has hired Sarah Feldman to lead his communications team in Washington D.C. and Montana. Tester says Feldman, a Philadelphia native, previously served as Senator Claire McCaskill’s (D-Mo.) Communications Director. She has also worked for Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.).

Feldman replaces Marnee Banks who will be joining the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. A big “Thank You” goes to Marnee for her service to Montana and for the wonderful job she did for Tester.

As for Feldman being “a Philadelphia native” and not being from Montana disappoints me. I’m sure she is highly qualified and she did work for one of my favorite Senators, former Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). There are several communications specialists from Montana who could do this job that would know Montana issues well. Besides, Tester’s seat in the U.S. Senate ultimately belongs to Montana. I think our elected officials’ staff in Washington, D.C., should be filled by Montanans.


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