How you answer that question depends on a variety of things, none of which are really important. What is important is where your money is going, and what it’s getting for you. The other guy? Eh…he doesn’t really matter.
This is true no matter what party you’re in, because it gets down to capitalist principles deeply embedded in the very fiber of our beings, which in turn are hardwired into our survival and self-preservation mentality.
What does this all mean? It means if you’re paying 150 people in Helena $192.64 a day ($82.64 a day plus $110 per day per diem) then you damn well want to know what that $28,896 is going each day.
Since the session is going from January 5 until April 20 or so…that’s $2,167,200 we’re spending…and let’s not even get into the healthcare costs for those folks. Can you imagine if one of those drunk House members fell down on the ice outside the Capitol and you had to pay for it? My God, and that’s not even factoring in any drives up to Marysville.
- January 15: State of the Judiciary Address (1 PM);
- January 28: State of the State Address (6 PM);
- February 2: State of Education Address (1 PM);
- February 9: State of Tribal Nations Address (1 PM);
- February 27-March 2: Transmittal Break (No Session);
- March 3-6: Easter Break (No Session);
That’s as far as the 64th Montana Legislative Calendar goes. I’m not sure how many weekend those lawmakers will put in, nor am I sure how much they get paid on weekends and for holidays. I’m sure it’s more than you get paid at your job when you’re not working. Personally, when I’m not working, my job pays me $0.
But Montana’s not like every other state in the union, and we do things differently.
- For one, we have a session every two years instead of how the last Constitutional Convention wanted it, yearly. But you have to blame lobbyists for that.
- Next, there is no legislative staff, unless you’re someone like Rep Zolnikov, who was smart enough to save campaign money for the transition, or just had a ‘less competitive’ race.
- After that, it’s quite common to see uneducated ignoramuses in key positions, like with The Vixen. Oh, she’ll get your knickers in a knot if your goal is a more effective Montana public education system, but that’s what happens when you have people with absolutely no experience in what they’re legislating. And I’m sorry, but Bible School is not an accredited institution in my Book.
- Finally, we’ve got youth run amok. It’s a real pity that Young Gun Republicans like Knudsen and The Vixen give all of us younger political types a bad rap (including you younger, responsible Repbulicans). They’re adherence to idiocy and total disregard for rationalism or accountability ensures that those that have held the reins for so long will continue their unjust rule and the state will slide ever backward into stagnation, obscurity and finally redundancy.
Good luck Montana legislators – I have a feeling you’re going to need it (and maybe something a little harder as well).