FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Helena, MT – Today, Republican legislative leaders will again illegitimately attempt to convene the Joint Rules Committee. There are a few things Montanans need to know.
FACT: The Joint Rules Committee is an on call committee that existed during the 2019 Legislature. The 2019 Legislature was gaveled out of session 519 days ago. Several of the Republican members of the 2019 Joint Rules committee will not be part of the 2021 Legislature, and have no business setting the rules for the 2021 Legislative Session.
FACT: The Joint Rules Committee has always convened after the November election so that newly elected legislators can set the rules for the upcoming legislative session. There is no precedent for the Joint Rules committee to meet outside of the Legislative Session before the November election.
FACT: The Rules subcommittee of the Legislative Council has been publicly meeting since June, with extensive opportunity for public comment and collaboration with experts. This subcommittee is addressing necessary changes to the way the legislative branch needs to operate. So, in addition to being wholly illegitimate, today’s meeting is a redundant waste of taxpayer dollars.
FACT: Only 13 Republican legislators provided comment on today’s proposed rule changes. More than half are opposed, and in their comments raised serious questions on both the merits of the changes, and the nature of this process.
FACT: Republican leaders are attempting, through an illegitimate process without precedent, to create rules that allow the Legislature to ignore Montana law.
FACT: No one has the authority to convene the Standing Joint Rules Committee during the interim, and any action that is taken during this illegitimate meeting will be challenged in court.
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