Posted: Apr 25, 2013 8:23 PM by Marnee Banks, Jay Kohn - MTN News
HELENA - As the dust settles from the confusing and contentious adjournment of the Montana Legislature on Wednesday, we asked some of the key players to give this session a grade and provide their thoughts.
MT Senate President Jeff Essman said (R), "I would give this session a big incomplete, we failed to do anything meaningful in terms of tax relief for Montana taxpayers and small businesses, we failed to achieve any Medicaid reform, which is sorely needed."
Governor Steve Bullock (D) said, "I would much rather keep it like the kindergarten grades where we achieved in some areas and in some areas we played well together."
One of the most contentious issues of the legislative sessions was the role of so-called "dark money in political campaigns, as efforts to shed new light on that subject fell victim to the partisan divide.
MT Sen. Llew Jones (R-Conrad) said, "Where lies and deceit are used to deceive the voter, make no mistakes that's what dark money is, people need to ask themselves who is paying for the lies and deceit and what is it they are being paid to do."
Other reactions from lawmakers to the 63rd Montana Legislature:
MT Rep. Christy Clark (R-Choteau): "We came here with a commitment to serve the citizens and our constituents. And at the end of the day I can proudly say that Montana is in a better place. Our budget is balanced, our pensions are resolved and we did some heavy lifting."
MT Rep. Gordon Vance (R-Bozeman): "What I would specifically like to do is address the conservative members of my caucus. Because I know how disappointed some of you are. You felt that we grew government again."
MT Sen. Art Wittich (R-Bozeman): "This can't go on indefinitely. We are not Washington DC. We don't print money. We can't incur debt without super-majority votes. So this was an irresponsible budget."
MT Sen. Jon Sesso (D-Butte): "You have to find the common ground. That means nobody gets everything they want. But we hopefully leave with everything we need."
MT Rep. Chuck Hunter (D-Helena): "We felt like we had pride in our work even when we didn't prevail."