A hilarious item in the Missoulian today. TEA party senate president Debby Barrett is clamoring for more “oversight” over the executive branch of government. The reason, she says, is that some legislators were unaware of a small allocation of economic development funds for Indian country that were included in the state budget. Barrett says legislators voted down the measure earlier, and hence they are frustrated and outraged because the item was included in the final budget.
What is embarrassing is that although lawmakers did not move a stand-alone funding item for Indian Country jobs forward, they DID approve these funds when they were included in House Bill 2- the main budget bill the legislature passes every year. Every legislator votes on the budget.
As Bullock spokesperson Mike Wessler points out- it is indeed troubling that lawmakers seem incapable of reading the budget before casting their votes. Not to mention that they would use their own ignorance about what they are voting for as an argument that they should’ve been given more “oversight” over a separate branch of government.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident. When legislators can’t even figure out their own rules and the governor has to step in, it’s not more oversight that’s needed, it’s more competence.