©2014 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana
Important Update: See bottom of post
Last summer we reported that
CSKT lobbyist Senator Bruce Tutvedt made several promises claims to the CSKT in exchange for $22,000 to support his various political action committees. These funds were used to fund campaigns against Montana conservative republicans who opposed the CSKT Compact and to try to elect pro-compact republicans or democrats to the 2015 legislature. Tutvedt was censored by the Flathead County republicans for what looks like, walks like, and talks like a bribe duck.
As part of the promise to the CSKT, Senator Tutvedt named Dan Salomon as his partner and spoke of Mr. Salomon’s intent to “deal with the 60-vote House rules problem” so that the CSKT Compact could be blasted to the floor of the House with a simple majority vote, or 51 members. From Tutvedt’s comments, it is easy to picture Salomon in his usual peacock fashion, boasting that he has the votes to support the rule change.
Tuesday, that initiative failed in the House Rules Committee. Therefore, the 60 votes, or 3/5 of the House, still applies to any attempt to blast the CSKT Compact out onto the floor if it should fail in committee.
The House of Representatives is the “people’s house”, with strong emphasis on the work of Committees to take testimony and learn from citizens. A rule change such as the one proposed to the rules committee makes the work of the committees, and voice of the people, less relevant to the objectives of politicians.
In addition, a rule change would have quadrupled the work of the House and ensured that all its decisions would be uninformed, as every bill could be blasted to the floor.
TUTVEDT RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE CSKT COMPACT
Next item up for bids is the resolution supporting the CSKT Water Compact that Tutvedt was able to get passed in the Tribal Relations Committee this past summer.
SJ4: A JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA EXPRESSING SUPPORT FOR THE WATER RIGHTS COMPACT NEGOTIATED BETWEEN THE CONFEDERATED SALISH AND KOOTENAI TRIBES OF THE FLATHEAD INDIAN RESERVATION, THE STATE OF MONTANA, AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
The text of the whole resolution can be found here. This document has been referred to the Senate Natural Resources Committee and it has already had a first reading. No other updates available at this time. Please be sure to let the Senate Natural Resources Committee know what you think about it.
An interesting point of reference is that this resolution was passed while compact “re-negotiations” were going on. That means the lackeys that voted for it did not even know what would be in the document they voted to support.
We’ve said for a long time that the state wants a compact no matter what the cost to the state of Montana, and the actions of this committee seem to prove that a compact is desired no matter what it has in it.
Stay tuned for more.
Update: We are hearing some disappointing and late breaking news out of Helena today. Apparently the Democrats proposed a change in the rules that allows each caucus “six silver bullets” for a bill that fails in a committee to be blasted out onto the floor with a bare majority (51 votes). This will undoubtedly be used to get the CSKT Compact and medicaid–two democrat/rino priorities–onto the House floor, and in the Compact’s case, is an attempt to blunt public comment in the Committee hearings. As soon as we know what republicans caved on this we will report. What this means is that (a) we must make sure we send a thousand people to Helena for each hearing on the proposed compact bill and must flood the House chambers if this action is taken; and (b) those republicans who supported any blast motion must be reminded that recall is still an option for citizens. These kind of political games being played by our legislature is exactly the reason the Montana Land and Water Alliance has been formed because we will take legal action if this compact passes in the legislature.