Gov. Bullock’s (D-MT) budget proposal…more of the same? Even the liberal bloggers had to point out Sen. Jon Tester’s (D-MT) hypocrisy. And the Montana GOP is discussing closed primaries. Those stories and more are below.
AP: Supporters of Keystone XL oil pipeline scramble for last vote
With the clock ticking, supporters of a Senate bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline are still scrambling to find the last vote.
With 59 senators publicly voicing support, the hunt was on for the 60th vote before a critical vote Tuesday to advance the measure. Maine independent Sen. Angus King left the possibility open, telling reporters he was a “probable no.”
That leaves just one.
Fox News First: KEYSTONE SHOWS STEYER & CO. STILL DRIVE DEMS DESPITE LOSSES
It’s not clear what Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., can get out today’s scheduled vote on a bill to force President Obama to approve a pipeline from Canadian oil fields to the Gulf Coast. Even if she can find a 60th vote to advance the House-passed legislation, the president has indicated he will probably veto the measure. If it took Landrieu two years and being on the brink of defeat in a Dec. 6 runoff election to find 60 votes, she sure isn’t going to be able to get 67 to override a veto. Landrieu, who lost control of the Energy Committee with her party’s defeat two weeks ago, wants to prove that she still has clout. But incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would have welcomed this vote immediately. Moving up the timing of a symbolic act by six weeks is pretty watery fuel for a long-shot re-election bid. But as a test vote for the post-election state of the Democratic Party, it is high-octane stuff.
Even the liberal blogs had to note the hypocrisy…
The more interesting part of this news (Sen. Jon Tester becoming DSCC chairman) is the fact that Tester has been outspoken in his opposition to Big Money in politics, and is even sponsoring a Constitutional amendment to get big money out of politics, to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. He spoke about it at Harvard Law last week. To reconcile these two endeavors–fighting against big money, while having to raise it like crazy–will require some nimble positioning to say the least.
GOP Discussing Closed Primaries
MTGOP to hold Central Committee meeting on Closed Primaries
Montana Republican Party Chair Will Deschamps announced a special meeting of the MTGOP State Central Committee to determine if the state party wishes to engage in a lawsuit concerning closed primaries in Montana. To minimize conflicts with both the legislature’s schedule as well as possible work conflicts, the Committee meeting will take place in Helena on Saturday, January 10th.
From the very beginning of the discussion of a lawsuit for closed primaries, Chairman Deschamps assured MTGOP members that a decision would be made after the election. On the heels of historic wins for the Montana Republican Party, Deschamps announced the early January Central Committee meeting in order to allow for thorough discussion and debate on the merits of a possible lawsuit. This will give ample opportunity for Party members to voice their opinions on the issue.
“We don’t believe in top-down, centralized decision making in the Republican Party. We want to hear from the grass roots. Calling a meeting of the state central committee ensures that we have activists and volunteers making the decision,” said Deschamps. “After hearing and debating the factors that go into such an important decision, I trust that our members from across Montana will make the right call.”
Bullock budget….more spending proposed for mostly more of the same?
Overall the proposal would increase state spending by 5.5 percent in fiscal year 2016 and 2.83 percent in 2017.
Chuck Johnson: Bullock budget includes $45 million for Eastern Montana oil communities
Gov. Steve Bullock proposed Monday that the state invest more than $300 million in infrastructure across Montana in a single bill, with about two-thirds of the money coming from money raised by issuing debt and one-third from cash.
The incoming House speaker, Rep. Austin Knudsen, R-Culbertson, suggested Republicans are cool to bonding to fund projects, especially when Bullock is “sitting” on a projected budget surplus of more than $300 million going into the session.
“Republicans don’t like going into debt,” he said. “Bonding is just a tough sell for conservative Republican legislators.”
J. C. Kantorowicz – Great Falls
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 7:55 AM
You are absolutely right Al. I see it as a necessary change to the election process in Montana. For a long time I supported closed primaries, however in Cascade Co. many of the offices are settled in the primary as the races are among democrats only and no Republicans apply. So, if we close the primaries, many of us are locked out of the political process.
Perhaps the primary should be wide open with all candidates competing against each other. The top two vote getters, be they both Republican or democrat then advance to the general election which then becomes a run-off with the +50% vote getter the winner. That system would better reflect the will of the voters.
With the way the last two races turned out, with votes for Rehberg siphoned off by the Libertarian and the three way split for representative won by Zinke only a third of the votes, a change to a run off system is necessary.