Posted: Apr 8, 2013 7:15 PM by Lindsey Gordon - MTN News
HELENA - Montana's Senate Rules Committee met on Monday to discuss the actions and proceedings that lead up to the near-chaos last Friday in the Senate chambers.
The first of those issues was whether or not the timeline of the hearing for Senate Bill 405 was proper.
The bill, if passed would appear on the ballot and aims to eliminate same-day voter registration.
The committee found that the short turn-around for the bill's hearing was constitutional.
However it was the second issue that sparked more discourse: it was whether Senate President Jeff Essmann's (R-Billings) actions on Friday were proper.
Republicans also brought up the notion that the presiding officer doesn't have to recognize a member, specifically if they think it will impede legislative business, but Democrats argue that is the entire point of a Call of the Senate.
The committee also discussed whether or not those bills heard in third reading did in fact transmit to the house on Friday.
MT State Senator Mike Phillips (D-Bozeman) attempted to make the point that transmitting couldn't have occurred because once the Call of the Senate was made, no further business could be carried out, and even after it was lifted -- because the majority moved to adjourn -- no business should have been conducted.
At this point, Senate Democrats do intend to take further legal action. They believe that the majority had this opportunity in this committee meeting to merely ratify their own actions.