The special session convenes; Sales confronts the mutiny

by Jay Stevens

So far and so good: nothing unusual or unexpected has yet occurred in the special session of the legislature. It looks like the education bill will leave the Senate tonight for the House tomorrow – where it’s likely some sparks will fly. The budget bill is still being hashed out.

Matt Gouras filed a story about this morning’s Republican caucus, in which Scott Sales confronted his mutiny:

House Speaker Scott Sales, R-Bozeman, called a meeting of House Republicans and told them he was not in on the compromise, didn’t authorize members of the caucus to cut a deal and won’t support it.

A Republican moderate then stood up in front of his GOP colleagues, many of whom didn’t look pleased, and explained why he has decided to go along with a package being put together by Schweitzer’s office.

“This common ground is something I can accept,” said Rep. Llew Jones, R-Conrad. “Is this common ground acceptable to everyone? I don’t know.”


Jones, in talking about his decision to be among the dozen or so Republicans who took it upon themselves to negotiate with the governor, said he believes “folks on the extremes are part of the problem, not part of the solution.”


Right afterward, conservative Republican Rep. Ed Butcher of Winifred, stood up to take issue with the package.

He said Republicans supporting it are “rolling over to give the governor what he wants.”


Sales told the House Republicans at their meeting that he would not tell anyone how to vote over the next three days of the special session.

“You are accountable to yourselves,” Sales said.

Me? I’m just glad some Republican moderates stepped up and made the deal, putting the interest of their state over their political party.

  1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    Lew Jones is a hero! Pure and simple. Soupy Sales, an otta state transplant from God knows where, might just learn a lesson bout shootin’ off his mouth to a real Montanan if he doesn’t keep his dumb trap shut. All it takes is one courageous leader to lead the mutiny, and it looks as if Jones might be taking a que from another famouse Jones, John Paul, who said, “I have not yet begun to fight”! I hope for decorum’s sake Lew don’t kick Soupy’s ass until AFTER the session ends. Then, he has my blessing.

  2. noocly appendage

    Too bad no moderate democrats stepped up and put the state ahead of their political party.

  3. Wish I were there

    What Sales and the little dictator Sinirud do not realize is that there where 25 or so that could have been there. I personal spoke to several that had conflicts, but knew of meeting and approved. Just ask Rep Harry Klock, Rep Ankney, Rep Milburn, etc.. The Repub party is finally getting their fill of obstructionist far right hate politics. Groups like The Republican Assembly run around and act like NAZIs, threatening folks like Bill Jones if they are not willing to be sheep. With Sen Las. article naming Schweitzer as a bully, it seems that moderate voices on the left are speaking up also. I don’t know how Jones became spokesman and Mike Lange ducked, but, given Langes potty mouth, that is fro the best. The Dems had better watch out, if the Republicans stay on this course, they might take back Montana.

  4. Yeah, good points all.

    I think the Good Guv needs some leadership lessons, and moderate Republicans need to wiggle out from under their extremist side.

  5. Knew Llew in college

    I knew Llew in. He was a quiet individual with an IQ that simply destroyed the grade curve in whatever class he was in. I’ll be honest in that we hated his Damn Genius IQ because he messed up the curve. However, he was polite and willing to work with almost everyone. He was considered extremely honest and very hard working. I called a friend up in Conrad where Jones is from and asked about him. He has two kids in Harvard, 1 kid in Brown, and a daughter in grade school and is considered very successful in business. He is a leader in the community’s efforts to combat economic downturn. My friend said Llew is considered to be very honest and very driven. He has no patience for game playing and seems unwilling to back away from anything, so my friend actually expressed surprise that Llew had not stepped up earlier. I consider myself an independent who has lost patience with both parties, but perhaps there are still good statesmen in the game.

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