Lawmakers speak out following standoff
On Saturday State Senator Shannon Augare returned to the Senate chambers as lawmakers continued voting. On Friday, Democrats tried to stop proceedings by doing a parliamentary move that requires all lawmakers be present before voting can resume.
Republicans say that Augare took off as part of a political maneuver to help kill certain ballot referendums. The Senate had a full agenda, including a referendum to get rid of same-day voter registration.
Republicans forged ahead with votes, prompting Democrats to voice their disapproval, shout, and pound on their desks.
“The Democrats will tell you they were trying to protect the voter’s right to vote, but in fact, they were trying to so-called protect the voter’s right to vote by stopping the voters from voting,” said Republican Representative Champ Edmunds, who represents Missoula.
Democratic Representative Ellie Hill, who also represents Missoula, says the decision to ignore the parliamentary rule could be illegal.
“The bills, at this point, from many people’s perspective, missed their deadline,” said Hill.