Political Trough: Dem Rep Disappointed with Bullock

A Democratic legislator says he is disappointed in Governor Steve Bullock’s vetoes, Obamacare exchanges running behind schedule, and ice cream for seat belts.  That and more is included below in the latest “Political Trough.”

Dem Rep. Bill McChesney on Govs Vetoes in The Miles City Star:

“All in all, it was a pretty successful session, but I was certainly disappointed in some of the governor’s vetoes. There were a couple of bipartisan groups that worked very hard on a couple of pieces of legislation that were very important to eastern Montana.”

The most surprising veto, according to McChesney, was that of House Bill 218. The bill, which would have provided $25 million in infrastructure grants to communities facing oil and gas development impacts, wa s called “excessive and duplicative” by Bullock, despite passing by large margins in the House and Senate. The veto was upheld Monday.

“The bill passed with strong support,” McChesney said. “I was disappointed. A lot of the other bills that were vetoed were just a bunch of nonsense, but this one was important. That bill would have been a real positive boost for eastern Montana. And I would have been real surprised if the veto was overridden, just because historically it’s very rare that they are.”

Roll Call: Baucus Donates $100K to Dem Campaign Arm

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., cut a $100,000 check on Tuesday to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, according to a source familiar with his campaign.

Montana Media Trackers: MT Dems Coordinated with Dark Money Firm

Media Trackers has also documented expanding ties between Hilltop Public Solutions and the Montana Democratic Party. Analysis of finance records conducted in February of this year revealed that Montana Democrats paid the firm during the 2012 election cycle to manage the party?s independent expenditure program — the same time period during which the aforementioned Political Practices complaint alleges that Hilltop illegally coordinated independent expenditures with Bullock’s campaign.

More recently, Matt Peterson, a Hilltop Associate who produced dark money TV ads for the firm in the 2012 election cycle, was appointed as Research Director by the Montana Democratic Party. It was an ironic appointment given the fact that Ted Dick, the state party’s executive director, publicly decried dark money ads during the 2012 election, stating that Montanans were ?frankly disgusted? by them.

Wall Street Journal: Obamacare Exchanges Behind Schedule

Government officials have missed several deadlines in setting up new health-insurance exchanges for small businesses and consumers—a key part of the federal health overhaul—and there is a risk they won’t be ready to open on time in October, Congress’s watchdog arm said.

The Government Accountability Office said federal and state health officials still have major work to complete, offering its most cautious comments to date about the Obama administration’s ability to bring the centerpiece of its signature law to fruition.

The small-business exchanges in particular have had some early setbacks. The federal government said in April that contrary to initial plans, it wouldn’t allow workers in the first year to choose between a range of insurance options offered through employers. For the first year, companies will select one plan to offer to workers.

Ice cream for seat belts in Montana? From The Choteau Acantha:

This summer, traffic safety cones also come with Soft Serve. In an effort to reduce vehicle crash fatalities on Montana roads, law enforcement agencies have partnered with McDonald’s of Montana to thank motorists for buckling up and being safe drivers.

Montana Highway Patrol troopers, local police and sheriffs’ deputies will be handing out coupons for one free Soft Serve Cone from participating McDonald’s in Montana to those drivers and passengers who are following motor vehicle laws and wearing seat belts. The coupons will be distributed during safety checks and routine stops to show appreciation to motorists for improving traffic safety.


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