Montana House Committee Tables Mail Ballot Bill, “Blast” Attempt Coming

[Image via aarp]

The debate in Montana about conducting a May 25 special Congressional election exclusively by mail reached a flashpoint yesterday, as a House committee tabled the bill after supporters attempted to force a vote – but now supporters are going to attempt to “blast” the bill to the House floor. NBCMontana has more:

Montana lawmakers voted in an 11-8 vote to table Senate Bill 305 in the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. 

SB 305 would allow Montana counties to decide if they wanted to hold an all-vote-by-mail election on the May 25 special election to replace former Rep. Ryan Zinke. Supporters say the bill would save counties thousands of dollars in election fees. Opponents say the bill would reduce the accessibility of voting.

State Rep. Ellie Hill Smith (D-Missoula) introduced the bill in the executive action portion of the HJC meeting Wednesday, claiming county elections offices needed answers on the bill for planning purposes.

State Rep. Theresa Manzella (R-Hamilton) moved to table the bill at the end of the committee meeting Wednesday, because legislators had other meetings to get to. She said in a statement, “We were out of time. Period. Thus I made the substitute motion to table (the bill), which passed.”

After the party-line vote, committee members blamed one another for the bill’s tabling:

Hill Smith delivered a heated speech following the vote to table, saying Wednesday was one of the last days to get Senate bills through committee to the House floor for a final vote. She was upset the bill was tabled without prior discussion.

“In my four terms in the Montana Legislature bills of this magnitude have always the respect of the committee,” Hill Smith said. “Partisan hijinks is what we don’t do in this capitol. This is not how we do business. I think it’s a shame we gave (up) on this bill that will literally impact every single one of our constituents.”

State Rep. Bob Brown (R-Thompson Falls) fired back. “I believed this was a bill we needed to have some real discussion on. We still have some time before we have to really act on that bill and to give it the discussion it deserves and the people of Montana deserve,” he said.

Supporters of the bill are currently considering an effort to force a vote in the full House:

Hill Smith vowed at the end of the meeting to “blast” the bill to the House floor.

When a bill is tabled it is essentially dead.  However, if a majority of House members approve taking it out of committee, the measure can be “blasted” out of committee and onto the floor for a vote. Supporters would need 3/5 of the House members to approve a “blast.”

[Bill sponsor Sen. Steve] Fitzpatrick says there is still hope for supporters. “Nothing is ever dead in the legislative process. They can always revisit a bill (or) see if they can get enough votes and pass it out of committee. That’s always a possibility; I think the reality is it’s probably dead. I mean, I wouldn’t say its 100-percent dead, but more than likely it’s dead…”

There is mixed word on when the bill could be blasted to the House floor. Some legislators say it could be as early as Wednesday or as late as next week.

The bill passed the senate in a vote of 37-13.

As I’ve already noted, time is running short to make the decision about the special election – there was substantial support at the local level for the mail election as a cost-saving measure but it now appears increasingly likely that counties will need to prepare polling places instead. It’ll be interesting to see if supporters are able to overcome the increasingly partisan crossfire and muster enough support to blast the bill to the floor – either way, we should know in the next several days. Stay tuned …

8 Comments on "Montana House Committee Tables Mail Ballot Bill, “Blast” Attempt Coming"

  1. Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a weblog
    site? The account aided me a applicable deal. I had been tiny bit familiar of
    this your broadcast offered vibrant transparent concept|If you don’t
    mind, I would like to share this blog with my followers on twitter?

  2. Some website owners tend to be more frustrated about Google optimization than for other search engines.
    How about special slip-resistant shoes, sun screen lotion, hats
    or even deep-sea fishing supplies. – Add or remove an e-mail coming from a list on the date within the future – Good luck.

  3. ” These are the reasons why it is impossible to be a great leader and never be compensated in equal value for your value which you give. It is very important in the case of organic SEO campaign where results trickle gradually more than a any period of time of time. The conversation between a customer service employee as well as a customer must be in the clean way.

  4. You also can make money with your blogs by repackaging its content such that one could make income using it.
    You can sell t-shirts and bags which might be branded together with your blog’s logo to boost some income.
    Normally, these would contain dummy text to
    acquire a thought how the finished font side with
    the card you might be creating.

  5. A last-ditch effort to hold the May special election to fill Montana’s vacant seat in Congress by mail failed.

  6. There’s certainly a lot to find out about this topic.
    I love all the points you’ve made.

  7. http://chungcu378minhkhai.com.vn/

    chung cu 378 minh khai, chung cu minh khai, 378 minh khai, du an 378 minh khai
    Fine way of describing, and nice piece of writing to obtain facts
    about my presentation subject, which i am going to
    present in school.

  8. Hello superb website! Does running a blog similar to this require a great deal of work?

    I have absolutely no understanding of programming but I had been hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyways, if you have
    any recommendations or tips for new blog owners
    please share. I know this is off subject but I simply needed to ask.
    Many thanks!

Leave a Reply to done for you Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.


*