Republicans Get Calls to Stick with Their Leader on Undemocratic Rules

Interesting developments yesterday on the rules of the Montana Legislature.  Cowgirl tipsters are reporting that Montana Republican lawmakers got calls from Zinke and Daines, members of the the most unpopular U.S. Congress ever (with only a 10% approval rating) telling them what to do to ensure that the will of the people of Montana never sees the light of day.

Here’s what’s happened.

John Adams reports today that new proposed rule to grant speaker of the House Austin Knudsen what members of his own party called an “insanely powerful tool” to basically kill any bill he didn’t like–and require a super-majority instead of a majority to stop him– was rescinded by Democrats and Republicans alike in a unanimous vote of the house rules committee under considerable public pressure and outrage.

The Cowgirl blog was the first to report on the proposed new rule here. So far I haven’t seen reporting on whether the GOP will also canceled its proposed new rules to ban all members of the public from the house floor at all times and ban technology from legislative committees.

But Cowgirl tipsters are reporting a disturbing occurrence related to these rules changes yesterday–indeed an effort to quash, at least for now, a bipartisan coalition of legislators who were  working to fix another problematic supermajority rule in the house.

A small faction of GOP leadership, who set up the committees and also decide which bills go to which committees, have the singular ability to create “kill committees” –committees that they can control to ensure no bill they don’t want pass will ever even get to be considered by the majority of the Montana legislature.   These shenanigans can only be overridden by a supermajority of the legislature as a whole through what is colloquially called a “blast motion”–and a 60 vote supermajority.  Anyway this bipartisan coalition saw that this rule too was contrary to a fair public process and the concept of majority rule, so they had planned to also change this rule.

That is, until, Cowgirl tipsters say, Republican lawmakers started getting calls from Congressman Zinke and TEA Party Sen. Steve Daines – urging them to “stick with their leaders” and leave their supreme powers untouched.   Thus, tipsters say, at least at the committee stage, Knudsen lost his new power to send any bill back to committee to be killed but retained his powers to keep bills in certain committees from advancing in the first place.

This folks is the hard-right GOP’s brand of governing.  We shall see what happens when the rules resolution goes back to the house floor for a vote.  If Montana Republicans are going to continue to follow the orders of and strive to emulate the U.S. Congress, so too will their own approval ratings.

UPDATE: Sources report that the GOP also agreed to remind their proposed rule change to ban the public from the House Floor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  If you are a member of the public you may now enter the House Floor except at limited times–unless you are registered as a lobbyist, in which case you remain banned. 



10 Comments on "Republicans Get Calls to Stick with Their Leader on Undemocratic Rules"

  1. I watched the ‘shenanigan’s and Zinke and Daines needs to tend to THEIR own business as it’s bad enough we have the Essman and Wittich ‘tag team’ designed to ‘mentor’ young Speaker Knudsen and who knows what other ‘deals’ made out of public scrutiny, as we can be confident Essman and Wittich got ‘plum’ committee chair positions despite being ‘rookie’ representatives, along with ‘Sister Sarah’ Laszloffy, so Montanans don’t hold your breath in hope of bills getting OUT of any committees, only by Act of God if
    we can learn anything from the GOP’s ‘Sermon on the Mount’ last Sunday hosted by Senator Fielder, where her guest pastor advocated resisting the federal government, so I suggest those who don’t like Uncle Sam, don’t take the $$$$!!!! Go fund Malmstrom, Medicare and farm handouts with Tea Party bake sales and gun auctions.

  2. So, the role model for Zinke and Daines must be Ted Cruz, who lobbied the U.S. House into a government shutdown. Since Z&D are already in the lower chamber, they’re apparently going lower still.

    • According to Jon Tester Ted Cruz was spotted personally counseling Steve Daines just before the last election at a lunch meeting. So yeah, I think’s more than fair to suggest Cruz is the role model of Daines.

  3. This reminds me of when Rehberg made calls to legislators to try to get republicans to kill vote by mail because he thought more voters hurt his electoral chances- this would be a new level of paranoia though if Daines and Zinke made these calls- if this happened, it was a favor called in by Knudsen to help himself- not because Zinke and Daines were actually concerned. Not to sure how many such favors will be available- seems like wasting a chit to me.

  4. What would be interesting to have on this site, created by someone with great computer skills, would be a depository, arranged by subject, of the actions taken by Daines and Zinke. While an individual would create the depository functionality, it would allow of us to populate it with reports of their votes. The votes would be on all bills with attention paid to the impact of buried language in the bills which would negatively impact Montanans.
    This depository would make it easy as election rolls around, to be able to go to a single source to see all the votes of these two and then have references to be able to use in editor letter writing

    • does a pretty good job of tracking their official actions in Congress. It doesn’t track their shenanigans outside Congress

      • I am aware of, but you have to know what you are looking for. Zinke has already voted for “dynamic scoring rule”, cannot be found in opencongress.
        These are the kind of actions that this depository could identify. This vote may not be a major bill, but it will have great impact on the political discussion.
        The effort to track all the votes of Daines and Zinke is too great for any one individual, but the collective could do the tracking. Then there will be committee votes, that also need to be tracked.

  5. We as Democrats all knew this was going to happen. the Republicans fear abit, hate freedom of speech always have. They are acting like fascists Plain and simple.

  6. To paraphrase my favorite philosopher, James Lee Burke: “If there was such a thing as karma, most of the elected republicans in the country would have leprosy.”

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