Posted by Kelly (+2873) 10 years ago
This was sent to me in an email. I'm trying to find the source...

PANDEMONIUM IN MONTANA SENATE; Constitutional Crisis could arise

There was chaos in the Montana Senate today, with shouting, jumping, chanting and jeering. Some observers said it seemed for a while like a riot might break out.

Democrats made a motion for what is called a "Call of the Senate."
This is apparently a procedural move by which five Senators or more may demand that all 50 senators be present in the chamber before any further business is conducted. At the time, one senator, Shannon Augare, was far away on an Indian reservation. By legal right, therefore, Democrats could suspend Senate business until Augare returned. Is it a good rule? Not necessarily. It's of the same class of parliamentary maneuvers as a filibuster in the US Senate.

But it's the law. And that's a real problem because Republican Senate President Jeff Essman ignored the Democrats' Call of the Senate motion when they made it, and continued on with Senate business even though he had no legal right to do so. Democrats protested, and refused to vote on a series of measures that Essman brought to a vote and then announced as passed even though only Republicans had voted.

Things got raucous. Democrats started shouting down Essman, banging on their desks, chanting, even standing on the desks at one point.

Why did the Democrats make this motion to require the attendance of all 50 Senators or else cease business? Today was the deadline for ballot measures to be approved by the Senate. Republicans have a handful of right-wing bills that could never get past a Democratic Governor's veto, and thus they are trying to bypass the governor altogether and place these proposed laws directly on the ballot.

They do this all the time, with things like bans on abortion, or bans on gay marriage, or changes to electoral law that will give the GOP an advantage at the polls such as closing down voting locations in the week before election day. Standard GOP crap has been permanently barred from becoming law in the tradional route, because we have a Democratic governor and because the GOP does not have enough votes to override his vetoes. Thus the GOP takes its crazy proposals directly to voters, hoping to deceive them into voting for bad ideas.

And today was the deadline for the legislature to get these measures voted up so that they can be put on the ballot. With one Senator far away in the sticks, Democrats made a smart move to run the clock out. They had every right to do so and Essman, the Senate President, had no legal right to continue business. But he did anyway, and the Senate voted up a bunch of referenda with only 27 total votes, the Democrats abstaining.

So the big question now is, do we have a constitutional crisis? Could Essman be arrested for what he did? And what will be the legal status of the items that the Senate voted for today?
Posted by David Schott (+19067) 10 years ago
Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+18775) 10 years ago
I was at the bar tonight, and heard the story first hand from a lobbyest.

Not good. The Democratic party was completely justified.

I sure hope the Reagan Republicans can win back control of their party from the Tea Party Republicans, but I ain't holding my breath.

Those of you who voted for Tea Party sorry SOBs are getting exactly what you deserve. I hope you all die a slow lingering death in your sod huts on the prairie, feeling sanctimonious that you have kept government out of your lives.
Posted by howdy (+4944) 10 years ago
Have to agree with Gunnar...the tea party people aren't even human they are worms...feasting upon their fellow Americans...
Posted by tom regan (+3300) 10 years ago
Posted by M T Zook (+504) 10 years ago
Wow. I can't believe this happened. Is there a precedent for this? I don't remember my Roberts Rules of Order well enough to comment further, but this seems wrong on so many levels. Can't the Attorney General or the Supreme Court intercede?
Posted by BLT (+91) 10 years ago
Senator Eric Moore wrote a nice letter explaining what happened in Helena. This was nothing but a democratic ploy to stop action. Why should the people not be allowed to vote on a referendum?
This was only made by the demo party to not allow the will of the poeple. End of subject.
Posted by John Morford (+342) 10 years ago
That's why I am a little confused by the whole deal. It wasn't like the Republicans were trying to ram through a law - it was just to get two issues on the ballot in front of all Montanans so they can vote on them. I kind of thought that was what the whole process was for - let the people decide on contentious issues. Maybe I'm missing something........
Posted by Jeri Dalbec (+3261) 10 years ago
Apparently, there are those who want to put restrictions on the way we vote...and, it is happening in States other than ours. A Senior Citizen, a person stationed overseas...and, college kids will find it more difficult, which apparently will be helpful to some. And...there are those who were very happy that the Democrats did not go for it. You may read it as follows....also some Motor Vehicle info at the bottom. The object as you see on the bottom is to make it a referendum so that the Governor will not have a say so:-)

Additional Bill Links PDF (with line numbers)





Section 1. Section 13-2-301, MCA, is amended to read:

"13-2-301. Close of regular registration -- notice -- changes. (1) The election administrator shall:

(a) close regular registrations for 30 days before any election; and

(b) publish a notice specifying the day regular registrations will close and the availability of the late registration option provided for in 13-2-304 in a newspaper of general circulation in the county at least three times in the 4 weeks preceding the close of registration or broadcast a notice on radio or television as provided in 2-3-105 through 2-3-107, using the method the election administrator believes is best suited to reach the largest number of potential electors. The provisions of this subsection (1)(b) are fulfilled upon the third publication or broadcast of the notice.

(2) Information to be included in the notice must be prescribed by the secretary of state.

(3) An application for voter registration properly executed and postmarked on or before the day regular registration is closed must be accepted as a regular registration for 3 days after regular registration is closed under subsection (1)(a).

(4) An individual who submits a completed registration form to the election administrator before the deadlines provided in this section is allowed to correct a mistake on the completed registration form until 5 p.m. on the 10th day following the close of regular registration, and the qualified elector is then eligible to vote in the election.

(5) An elector who misses the deadlines provided for in this section may register to vote or change the elector's voter information and vote in the election, except as otherwise as provided in 13-2-304."

Section 2. Section 13-2-304, MCA, is amended to read:

"13-2-304. Late registration -- late changes -- nonapplicability for school elections. (1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3), the following provisions apply:

(a) An elector may register or change the elector's voter registration information after the close of regular registration in 13-2-301 and vote in the election if the election administrator in the county where the elector resides receives and verifies the elector's voter registration information prior to the close of the polls on election day.

(b) Late registration is closed from noon to 5 p.m. on the day Friday before the election.

(c)(b) Except as provided in 13-2-514(2)(a), an elector who registers or changes the elector's voter information pursuant to this section may vote in the election only if the elector obtains the ballot from and returns it to the location designated by the county election administrator.

(2) If an elector has already been issued a ballot for the election, the elector may change the elector's voter registration information only if the original voted ballot has not been received at the county election office and if the original ballot that was issued is marked by the issuing county as void in the statewide voter registration database prior to the change.

(3) The provisions of subsection (1) do not apply with respect to an elector's registration to vote in a school election held pursuant to Title 20."

Section 3. Section 13-19-207, MCA, is amended to read:

"13-19-207. When materials to be mailed. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), for any election conducted by mail, ballots must be mailed no sooner than the 25th day and no later than the 15th day before election day.

(2) (a) All ballots mailed to electors on the active list and provisionally registered list must be mailed the same day.

(b) At any time before noon on the day before election day, a ballot may be mailed or, upon request, provided in person at the election administrator's office to:

(i) an elector on the inactive list after the elector reactivates the elector's registration as provided in 13-2-222; or

(ii) an individual who registers under the late registration option provided for in 13-2-304.

(c) An elector on the inactive list shall vote at the election administrator's office on election day if the elector reactivates the elector's registration after noon on the day before election day.

(d) An elector who registers pursuant to 13-2-304 on election day or on the day before election day must receive the ballot and vote it at the election administrator's office."

Section 4. Section 61-5-107, MCA, is amended to read:

"61-5-107. Application for license, instruction permit, or motorcycle endorsement. (1) Each application for an instruction permit, driver's license, commercial driver's license, or motorcycle endorsement must be made upon a form furnished by the department. Each application must be accompanied by the proper fee, and payment of the fee entitles the applicant to not more than three attempts to pass the examination within a period of 6 months from the date of application. A voter registration form for mail registration as prescribed by the secretary of state and in compliance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, Public Law 103-31, 42 U.S.C. 1973gg, et seq., must be attached to each driver's license application. If the applicant wishes to register to vote, the department shall accept the registration and forward the form to the election administrator.

(2) Each application must include the full legal name, date of birth, sex, residence address of the applicant [and the applicant's social security number], must include a brief description of the applicant, and must provide the following additional information:

(a) the name of each jurisdiction in which the applicant has previously been licensed to drive any type of motor vehicle during the 10-year period immediately preceding the date of the application;

(b) a certification from the applicant that the applicant is not currently subject to a suspension, revocation, cancellation, disqualification, or withdrawal of a previously issued driver's license or any driving privileges in another jurisdiction and that the applicant does not have a driver's license from another jurisdiction;

(c) a brief description of any physical or mental disability, limitation, or condition that impairs or may impair the applicant's ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable control in the safe operation of a motor vehicle on the highway;

(d) a brief description of any adaptive equipment or operational restrictions that the applicant relies upon or intends to rely upon to attain the ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable control in the safe operation of a motor vehicle on the highway, including the nature of the equipment or restrictions; and

(e) if the applicant is a foreign national whose presence in the United States is temporarily authorized under federal law, the expiration date of the official document issued to the applicant by the bureau of citizenship and immigration services of the department of homeland security authorizing the applicant's presence in the United States.

[(3) The department shall keep the applicant's social security number from this source confidential, except that the number may be used for purposes of subtitle VI of Title 49 of the U.S.C. or as otherwise permitted by state law administered by the department and may be provided to the department of public health and human services for use in administering Title IV-D of the Social Security Act.]

(4) (a) When an application is received from an applicant who is not ineligible for licensure under 61-5-105 and who was previously licensed by another jurisdiction, the department shall request a copy of the applicant's driving record from each jurisdiction in which the applicant was licensed in the preceding 10-year period. The driving record may be transmitted manually or by electronic medium.

(b) When received, the driving records must be appended to the driver's record created and maintained in this state. The department may rely on information contained in driving records received under this section to determine the appropriate action to be taken against the applicant upon subsequent receipt of a report of a conviction or other conduct requiring suspension or revocation of a driver's license under state law.

(5) An individual who is under 26 years of age but at least 15 years of age and who is required to register in compliance with the federal Military Selective Service Act, 50 App. U.S.C. 453, must be provided an opportunity to fulfill those registration requirements in conjunction with an application for an instruction permit, driver's license, commercial driver's license, or state identification card. If under 18 years of age but at least 15 years of age, an individual must be provided an opportunity to be registered by the selective service system upon attaining 18 years of age. Any registration information supplied on the application must be transmitted by the department to the selective service system. (Bracketed language terminates on occurrence of contingency--sec. 1, Ch. 27, L. 1999.)"

NEW SECTION. Section 5. Effective date. [This act] is effective upon approval by the electorate.

NEW SECTION. Section 6. Submission to electorate. [This act] shall be submitted to the qualified electors of Montana at the general election to be held in November 2014 by printing on the ballot the full title of [this act] and the following:

[] YES on Legislative Referendum No. ___

[] NO on Legislative Referendum No. ___

- END -
Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+18775) 10 years ago
Right or wrong, there are established rules to conduct business at the legislature, and the Republicans ignored them.

What is wrong is the Republicans attempt to bypass the legislative process, to cynically use the stupidity of the average Montana voter that they can easily hoodwink with their dark money from the Koch brothers to pass their Agenda Against America without the threat of a veto from our esteemed governor.
Posted by M T Zook (+504) 10 years ago
Amen, Gunnar.

The rules are the rules, so.... we can just choose to follow the ones we like? What next will the they wipe their arses with, the Constitution?

It must be nice to pick and choose. It is disgusting and further disenfranchises those who might have voted Red at a different time.