Archive for January 21st, 2010

by jhwygirl

I commiserate with Matt when he says “I needed some good news today” – which, incidentally, is a post about good news in an area overseen by one of the few on my very short list of bright lights in elected officials – Denise Juneau.

That would be elected officials. My list for bright lights amongst Democratic party elected officials makes that list even smaller. Ms. Juneau, obviously, makes both.

Healthcare? Finance reform? MASS failure?

I find myself wondering whether we are electing people to merely get re-elected, or are we electing people to go to Washington or Helena to get something done?

Domestic policy is tough to do – it’s why Republicans tend to try and avoid it as much as possible. War and outside distractions are always good to ensure a lopsided balance of focus, and that’s why we see that kind of stuff more frequently with certain parties. IMNSHO, of course.

People pay attention to domestic issues. Change is hard. It’s scary. Someone’s gonna get pissed off. Lobbyists and corporate interests prey on that kind of stuff. Legislative Paralysis, though, appears to be the norm. Failure to act because someone’s going to get mad is the “action” we appear to be getting.

Inaction has apparently become the option of choice.

I don’t care at what level of government you’re looking at – even Ravalli County officials are being called out on it’s reactionary decisions based on emotions more than fact.

Whatever happened to doing what’s right?

At the state level – and I’ve been working my way through the last state legislative Water Policy Committee meeting – Jim Rokosch (a Ravalli County Commissioner, incidentally) tells state legislators that (paraphrased) ‘you can not delay action (on exempt wells) merely because it’s complicated or controversial. You were elected to do a job and you need to protect property rights and public health and safety.’

Amen, Mr. Rokosch.

Mr. Rokosch was referring to the numerous times the legislature (and the state DNRC and DEQ) have attempting to address the myriad issues surrounding exempt wells, failing to do anything due to both the vocal outpouring by a minority like the Montana Building Industry Association and the complexity of the issue.

Then there’s Washington D.C. You’d have to have a full-time job lately to follow national stuff. Healthcare? Finance reform? Good Goddess, that stuff changes by the minute.

Montana election season is open. We got our lone congressional seat to get excited about (and I’m all about grassroots hardworking supersmart intelligent I-see-him-everywhere Tyler Gernant.) We have the state house legislative races – and not only will local races be important, plenty of seats statewide will deserve statewide support from progressives everywhere – along with a handful of state senate races that will deserve the same statewide attention.

I see Montana going into special session to address the budget situation. It doesn’t look like we’ll be gaining any jobs until sometime in 2011. Revenues are dropping, and there’s yet a complete analysis of the effects of the closing of Smurfit. Frankly, the repercussions on that have yet to begun, yet alone receive any fiscal analysis. When we go into that special session – in the middle of an election run – we’ll see where the real legislative workhorses are. Weeding out the slack should be easy with such a backdrop.

I’m not wishing on a special session…but ignoring the reality is, in some way, the product of the Legislative Paralysis that became the approved budget that has us here now. Keep in mind, that budget was knocked out by joint conference committee in the last days of the session. Some might view that as inexcusable, considering the only constitutionally mandated job that is required of the legislature is to get the budge approved within 90 days.

I’m going to try and get excited about election season..but Democrats? Elected Democrats? You gotta help me out.

I almost retitled this post Legislative Paralysis, but I see I’ve come full-circle, back to “Meh”….so “Meh” it is.

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