Statecraft: Essmann finds solution to senate stalemate

by Cowgirl

After taking the legislature to the brink of a constitutional crisis, Senate leader Jeff Essmann today conducted debate on the floor of the senate, to try to figure out how to resolve the stalemate that has gripped the chamber after Friday’s raucous session.

After a few hours, Essmann, the consummate statesman, arrived at a very basic solution–donuts:

[Note: After you’ve seen the summary of Essmann’s response, can watch his full response here WARNING-Legislative website clips are set by their system to autoplay.]


29 Comments on "Statecraft: Essmann finds solution to senate stalemate"

  1. What on earth is going on in there? The majority seems to be saying they can make up their own rules. So much for our Constitution.

    • Constitutional Representative Democracy was meant to save us from the tyranny of the Majority, every bit as much as to save us from being governed by the privileged few. If our National Congress could or would ignore process and legislative rules and simply turn issues over to a purely democratic national vote, we would have marriage equality, universal health coverage, rational firearm laws and a significant increase in the tax rate for wealthy Americans. We would likely also have theocratic rules in education and an end to all legal abortion (for a while). The Republicans are cherry-picking what the majority should be able to decide without representative defense. That is stridently Unconstitutional.

  2. Shorter Essmann – It’s my prerogative to decide that I’ve acted according to rules. I didn’t recognize anyone because it’s my declaration that no one tried to make a motion.

  3. If the President does it, it isn’t illegal?

    • Does the President run the legislature, Bob? Uhhh, that would be “No”. The President was never meant to be in the position of a king, yet we who elect such men expect them to be. I wonder who’s really at fault here. (Wait, no I don’t …)

    • Here’s what Essmann said.

      I refer to Senate Rule S60-20. Which provides, “Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure 2010 governs the proceedings of the the senate in all cases not covered by these rules.” With respect to question of recognition of a member on the floor, it is the decision of the chair that it is the chair’s decions whether to recognize a member of the senate.

      Sect 91 of Mason’s rules number 1 says, “A member is not entitled to address the body nor to offer a motion or present a question or other business without first obtaining recognition.” That’s part of 91.
      Section 2 states in the first sentence, “When any member wishes to speak tor deliver any matter to the house that person should rise and respectfully address the presiding officer.”

      It was the decisison of the chair that no member had respectfully asked to address the senate.

      • This ON the record, the video of the floor session shows Senator Sesso STANDING right in front of the camera shot aimed at Senator Essman, who was at his ‘battle station’ staring down at his ‘agenda’ without ever looking up which is the DUTY of the President to review the floor and clearly see that Senator Sesso was STANDING, or does Essman need his vision check, or too ‘clouded’ by the GOP counter-strategy of just IGNORE like their ALEC controlled GOP ‘brothers’ in Wisconsin where they rammed and rammed so much bad legislation that the Wiscconsin senators FLED to Illinois.

      • The Montana people deserve better than Senate leader Jeff Essmann

    • It’s only illegal if the President is a Republican.

  4. The Democratic senate took action and the minority doesn’t have many tools, but they can use what they do have. If something is outright tyranny, it’s the TYRANNY of the GOP filibusters that have CRIPPLED vital legislation in Congress, so if blowhards like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz (what’s even worse was when just even one GOP senator could filibuster in secret) could HALT vital legislation like confirming presidential appointments, treaties and reasonable gun safety efforts, then what the Democrate senate did friday wouldn’t even rate as a misdemeanor compared to federal GOP senate legislative ‘felonies’. When the GOP Senate – and House – controls EVERYTHING – agendas, committee hearings, and timetables – then
    the majority still has rights.

  5. Eureka! Donut Diplomacy!! Maybe GOP ‘flagwrappers’ had ’em made in ‘red, white and blue’ for all to see to show their patriotism, while they work to not even allow veterans to register on election day.

  6. A call of the senate works only as a surprise. Unfortunately, Sesso, et al, failed to recognize that tactical truth. It is therefore no surprise that when Sesso attempted to be recognized, he became invisible to Essmann.

    Reprehensible as Essmann’s behavior was, I cannot imagine a court’s overturning a parliamentary ruling. The votes will stand.

    • I was wondering why the Dems were so public about their intentions on Friday. It seemed like a mistake, but I wonder if I am simply not understanding.

      You may be right, James, but it’s certainly a troubling precedent. If Essman can choose to ignore the minority on a motion,what is to prevent him from simply refusing to ever let them speak or present bills?

      • It is troubling, but certainly not unprecedented. Legislative bodies are governed by two sets of rules: written (the constitution, and the parliamentary manual), and unwritten (custom and culture). All that prevents a majority from hammering down the minority is the knowledge that majorities are not forever, and that what goes around comes around. Therefore, in a functioning legislative body, some things that not explicitly forbidden are not done, or should not be done, because they are recognized as bad ideas. Increasingly, however, and not just in Montana, the GOP is asking not “should we do this,” but “can we get away with it.”

        There was no reason for the GOP to introduce SB-405 and SB-408 so late in the session. The votes to pass these bill were there, so what was to be gained by waiting so long that a call of the senate became a viable option for the Democrats? SB-405 was requested on 8 May 2012, introduced on 26 March 2013. SB-408 was requested on 4 December 2012, introduced on 28 March 2013.

        The call of the senate move should have been organized with phone calls and one-on-one discussions. How could a Democrat from Butte have forgotten this:

        Oh, then tell me Sean O’Farrell,
        tell me why you hurry so.
        Hush me Buchall hush and listen,
        and his cheeks were all a-glow.
        I bear orders from the captain,
        Get you ready quick and soon,
        For the pikes must be together
        By the Rising of the Moon.

  7. For someone who claims he has never tried marijuana Essmann sure does bring up doughnuts a lot. One wonders.

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