Committees can be powerful things, especially in the Montana legislature. We’ve seen great legislation go nowhere because it’s been stalled or tabled and we’ve seen terrible legislation just coast right on through.
This often has to do with the makeup of the committees, for if they’re weighted in favor of one party, whatever legislation pertains to that sector of the economy, society or culture will just sail on through or be blocked for all eternity, in some cases…that nothing that our friend Fred was alluding to.
For the 2015 Montana Legislature, what’s going on with committees? Right now we’ve got very hard-line and more conservative Republicans calling the shots, and that’s fine – they’re in the majority and they can do that.
But I can drive 110 miles all the way from here to Helena, it just doesn’t mean it’s smart, makes sense, or is good for my long-term interests.
So that’s why there was such hope before the election, and a bit afterward, that some moderate Republicans would get into some leadership positions, get some key committee posts, or just get it so their voices could be heard.
Why is this important? Because we know that moderate Republicans will work with Democrats to create legislation that can actually get through. And when we hear Montanans of both parties say they want to see their government working for them, that’s exactly what that looks like – both parties working together to produce results.
I’m not sure a whole lot of results will be produced in Helena from January to April 2015 because I think the committees are wildly out-of-whack.
Let’s take a look at who is on the Committee on Committees and see if this will do anything for Bullock’s 2015-17 Budget prospects.
For instance, how about early childhood education. We know that whatever committee will work on that, and that’s chaired by so-and-so with a certain number of Republicans and a certain number of Democrats.
When it comes to Medicaid expansion, that’ll be the another committee. We know that somone will be heading that up and Republicans and Democrats will be on it. This would be great stuff for our state papers to report.
Remember, if a committee decides it doesn’t like something, that’s it – you won’t see that legislation again until the 2017 Montana Legislature…if even then.
Here’s a general breakdown of the Montana Legislative Committees from the legislative website.
Most of the action for these committees won’t take place until December 1 and 2, and you can see the schedules for the committees, such as this one for the Legislative Audit Committee:
There’s also lists of all the committees from last session, such as this showing the committees from the 2013 Montana House.
Why does any of this matter? Because it makes you informed, engaged, and fast. You can produce results quickly when you know this information, or at least have it easily accessible. And when you can control information fast, you’ve got an immense amount of power.
- Your information gets there first, forcing decisions;
- Your information fills the void that a lack of information always produces;
- You become a trusted source, or at least a source.
Those are good things, and the party that can capitalize on that the best will move forward with the least amount of stumbles, the fewest embarrassing happenings in the press, and the most to go back and tell their districts about.
Legislative sessions are about producing results, and we’ll see which party produces the results the people like best. For never forget, shouting and yelling and banging on desks and then having nothing to show for it is also a result, although a terrible one.
So go produce some results, which, depending on your party, will either make you a hypocrite or a goddamn miracle worker. Until then, read about these guys.
During the 2013 session, Brenden served from Senate District 18 and was on the Committee for Committees, Finance and Claims, Fish and Game (which he chaired), Judiciary, Natural Resources, and Natural Resources and Transportation.
Brenden was also the Chairman of the Montana Republican Party from 1983 to 1987, and he served a short stint in the Montana Senate before, from ’93 to ’94. He’s really one of the leading guys on fish and game issues, the former especially.
Montana Cowgirl’s got some real dirt on him. These are things like his idea that bison are vermin in need of extinction and his idea that $500 bribes to legislators are alright. He’s also voted to keep prison time for gay people and cut subsidies. On that last one he actually got $495,000 in subsidies himself.
Boy, lots of stuff on this guy. So I have to put him in the hard-line Republican column, and that means he’ll have a large voice in appointing folks. That sucks.
She’ll most likely have a larger say in affairs of the state in 2015 and I’d expect any talk of taking care of state workers or making government more efficient will be shot down.
Again, I’d like to point out that I ran as a Democrat in the 2014 primary for the legislature, so some of my ‘reporting’ might be biased. If you don’t like that, I encourage you to hit the ‘back’ button on the top of your screen. If nothing else, your doctor will thank you for your lower blood pressure.
For the rest of you, there’s really nothing to go on. She’s been profiled by Montana Cowgirl – what Republican hasn’t? – but that’s just for voting against gay people (does this surprise you?) and being a 2013 nutjob…which let’s face it, is quite a subjective label.
For the 2015 session she’s upgraded herself to the Senate, from District 14. She did that by raising and then spending $35,000 against Greg Jergeson in Havre, who, although raising $36,000, couldn’t overcome voter apathy, a lackluster President, and a subpar and underfunded 2014 Democratic strategy.
So we’ve got Hansen, and she’ll be quite a hoot, I’ve no doubt. Don Pogreba over at Intelligent Discontent tore into her pretty good over her stance on education back in October 2011, and it’s worth a look. Montana Cowgirl also mentions the school voucher bill, or HB 357 that she put out there. Cowgirl also mentions how Hansen teamed up with Judy Martz to deny the war on women.
I’m not a big fan of the word doofus, but sometimes it’s worth dusting off.
The main problem I have with Janna Taylor is that she’s a classic Republican – decrying spending on the poor in public while taking $1 million in farm subsidies for her own ranch and homemaking business.
That shit makes me sick, and the reason for that is because it’s hypocrisy. I hate that shit. There have always been money whores in the state legislature, folks that put their own interests above Montana, and Janna Taylor is just another in a long line of them.
Thwart this woman, thwart her at every turn.
He was in the 2011 session and served on Energy and Telecommunications, Judiciary, Natural Resources, Rules and Taxation. He’s a logger. Besides that…not a whole lot.
Honestly, looking at his voting record, and the fact that he wasn’t there last session, leads me to believe this is the most moderate of all the Republicans on the Committee on Committees. I’ll let you take that for what you will.
And I’ll let you take this post for what you will as well. And remember Fred Allen? Why do I figure many of these folks will “decide that nothing can be done” to help Montana, only themselves?