What Should A Montana Supermajority Do?
"A week after Montana voters elected a Republican Supermajority, a major question remains unanswered: What should a Supermajority in Montana do?"
A week after Montana voters elected a Republican Supermajority, a major question remains unanswered: What should a Supermajority in Montana do?
While it might be tempting to wield a super majority to exert even greater political power, polls have shown over and over again that a vast majority of voters are already incredibly distrustful of our leaders and have lost confidence in our institutions of government.
Restoring voters’ trust and confidence in government will require a legislative supermajority to focus on the fundamental building blocks of a free society. These topics might not be flashy – in fact they can be rather mundane – but focusing on getting the fundamental aspects of Montana’s government right will yield dividends far down the road for us, the citizens.
Below we suggest three policy priorities a legislative supermajority should focus on:
1. Protect Our Fundamental Rights
The first priority of a legislative supermajority should be to protect Montanans from radical, big-moneyed interests by further securing our rights. The right of Montanans to peacefully use their property, earn a living and parent their children deserve unequivocal protections in law.
2. Restore The Constitutional Separation Of Powers
The second priority of a legislative supermajority should be to restore the proper separation of government powers. In recent years, we’ve seen the separation of powers be undermined and violated again and again. One clear example of this is when the legislative branch grants sweeping authority to executive agencies to write regulations with the force of law, while imposing no real accountability for controlling what has become a mountain of red tape imposed on Montanans. Governor Gianforte and Lt. Governor Juras have led a bold effort to begin to control excessive red tape since assuming office, but it should be recognized that many big, permanent regulatory reforms will ultimately require action from the legislature.
3. Guarantee The Impartiality, Independence, and Integrity Of The Judiciary
The third priority should be to guarantee the judiciary upholds its duty to Montana citizens to interpret the law independently and without bias. Montana’s judges should be directly accountable to the people with transparency about unethical conduct and conflicts of interest. The judiciary should be held to a higher standard of fairness that eliminates wrongful bias, deference, and pre-judgement of legislation.
If the new supermajority focusses on these three areas, they can not only help to restore trust, but provide lasting benefits to future generations of Montanans.
Montana’s Economic Freedom Score
This week the Fraser Institute published the Economic Freedom Index of North America. This in-depth report looks at economic freedom through 3 primary areas that impact economic freedom: government spending, taxes and regulation. When compared with the 50 other states, Montana comes in 18th place.
Our Take: While Montana has made serious progress in advancing economic freedom since the index first began looking at states in 1981, this year’s index demonstrates that there is still more work to be done. Luckily, thanks to the Governor’s Red Tape Relief Initiative and recent proposed tax cuts, Montana is in a great position to continue to make progress towards greater economic freedom.
Boosting The Workforce By Cutting Red Tape
A recent article from National Governors Association’s (NGA) highlighted Governor Gianforte’s apprenticeship reform as a powerful policy lever to increase youth access to apprenticeship programs. The rule change allows one journeyman to supervise two apprentices, reducing logistical and regulatory barriers for employers.
Our Take: NGA is right to highlight how Gov. Gianforte has successfully expanded apprenticeship opportunities by cutting unnecessary red tape. Reducing regulatory barriers is helping mitigate the skilled tradesmen shortage in Montana. Outdated regulations, such as the apprentice-to-journeyman ratio reduces access to good paying trades jobs for Montanans. For example, Montana only graduates 109 electricians annually, with 138 to 346 job openings yearly. Increasing the supply of electricians by cutting unnecessary red tape, can help to reduce costs for new buildings and infrastructure. By focussing on cutting red tape, Gov. Gianforte is helping to spur Montana’s economic dynamism.
Graphic Of The Week