7-2 in Wyoming

We were sure of only two going into the committee meeting, and I’m convinced Bill Fruth’s power point presentation on the need for the amendment convinced a couple of the members.  Sponsors Lindholm and Laursen think some of these were strategic votes, with an eye toward killing it on the floor in a voice vote to advance the bill.  Frankly, I’m skeptical of this theory, but we’ll find out Monday.

Former Speaker Bill McIlvain was and is enormously helpful.  He got Fruth and Speaker Kermit Brown together, and we found out that he had technical legal objections to the DLA which was causing him to also oppose our Reso.  We’re killing the DLA, and this seems to have brought him around.  McIlvain is old friends with Senate Majority Eli Bebout, and he is now aboard as well.  All in all we’re pretty confident about the Senate.  In the House we believe we have 20 votes, and are targeting close to 30 more.  We’ll only need eleven of these targets for a majority.  If something crazy happens in the House we have Senate sponsors who are ready to put in a bill on a moment’s notice.  They could shoot it through the Senate and over to the House for another go.

South Dakota is on track for a House floor vote next week.  Hal says presentations by Natelson and Fruth last Monday sealed the deal.  Over 30 years of dedication are about to pay off for Hal Wick.

Kasich’s trip to Montana was a bust because of the Senator from the John Birch Society Scott Sales.  He disrupted everything by going after Kasich over Ohio’s Medicaid expansion. Elsewhere the trip went quite well, as far as I know.  I saw him in Cheyenne and everything went smoothly.  It was big news in Wyoming; on TV and the front page of the statewide paper, the Casper Tribune.  I’m beginning to think we don’t win this thing unless the public, generally, understands it and gets behind it.  It’s too big a dal, there’s too much resistance.  Kasich as elped, and can continue to help, educate people.

Also in Montana, Mathew Monforton says he’s got two Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee who are no’s because of a fear of a runaway.  That’s just enough to kill the bill.  We’ll be up in committee on Feb. 3rd.  He was hoping that Natelson could turn them around on Tuesday, but Natelson caught a bug in Pierre and is laid up.  I’ve requested that he get well and join Fruth and I in Helena a week later, on Monday, Feb. 2nd.  The two of them could repeat the South Dakota performance that proved so effective.  Matthew is setting up some kind of wine and cheese reception after the session that day and swears he can get these guys to come and listen.

The robocall campaign produced mixed results, and we’re changing it.  In Montana calls will go into the districts of the two R’s on Judiciary asking if the respondent supports a balanced budget amendment.  If yes, my son Brendan, in Bozeman, will be given the number and call them personally to ask them to contact their Representative.  He knows the issue well enough to explain the significance of the BBA, the safety of Article V, and the importance of Montana.  He’s good on the phone, if a little windy.  Most importantly, he’s calling from Montana.  I don’t think this works nearly as well if the call is coming from out of state.  But if the list is too long for him we can get Typhoon Lou to have the calls made.  If this works we’ll use it elsewhere as well.

Since I’ve got to be in Montana on Monday the 2nd, I’ll go early and watch the Super Bowl with sons Brendan and Darren and some of their friends.  I’ve invited Bill Fruth to join us.

I’m trying to remember who’s playing.

We’ll know soon enough

Friday morning, to be precise.  If we can’t get our bill out of Revenue it will not be a good sign.

The hearing’s at 7:30 a.m., which is good for a morning person like me.  Notice is a little short to fully mobilize our grass roots support, but it’s the same for any opposition.    I’ll be there with Tyler to testify, probably Tony Gagliardi as well.

I guess this is the way they roll in Wyoming  — not a lot of foreplay, just get to it.  At this rate we could be on the floor of the House in a week.   Hell, let’s get it through the Senate and done in February.  We’ll have a race with Hal Wick in South Dakota to see who gets us to 25.

Kasich will have made his pitch less than 24 hours before the hearing.  I’m counting on his making enough of an impression that these guys on the committee will feel they’re being rude if they kill “his” bill.  Folks in Wyoming like to be thought of as friendly and hospitable.  They are, all of that.

Let them show it.

Uniters and dividers

When’s the last time you heard a Democratic politician of any stature come out for a balanced budget amendment?  It was Jerry Brown almost 40 years ago.  Since then, silence, even though Gallup says 65% of D’s want it.  A lot of rank and file D’s want it, but are divided from their leadership on this issue.

When’s the last time you heard a consequential Republican come out against a BBA?  They’re all for it, Tea Party and establishment.  It’s one big issue that unites the entire party.

And it is big.  The last 15 years have proven that neither political party, as they’re currently constituted, will make the tough decisions needed unless they have no choice.  And calamity awaits if those decisions are not made.

A couple issues are front and center for 2016  —  income inequality and the Islamic War on the West.  Because of what the Task Force is doing, the balanced budget amendment will be the third.  And if the Republican wins, we will get a BBA, if we haven’t already.

Personally, I want an Article V Amendment Convention more than I want a BBA.  The foregoing political analysis, if widely adopted, may well provide the impetus to put us over the top.

And once we’re over the top, away we go.


Looks like we’ve got one on Revenue.  Roy Edwards, a tire dealer from Gillette, doesn’t want to hear our arguments.  His mind’s made up.  If he is, in fact, a Bircher, there’s no way to move him.  But we can afford to lose three R’s on this committee, so this is not too much of a concern.

It’s a different story in Montana.  And Arizona.  In the MT House Judiciary we can only lose one R.  And on the floor of the Arizona Senate, assuming we can bludgeon Biggs into putting the bill on the floor, he’s the only vote we can lose (it’s a 17-13 split).  We’re never going to get Biggs’ vote — but we can’t lose any more.

It’s a tall order, but can be done.  Let’s say half of R’s are establishment, half are insurgents.  We always get establishment votes.  If we get the rank and file, grass roots, activist insurgent voters to understand and appreciate what we’re doing, they’ll put the heat on their legislators and we’ll get their votes.  Unless they’re Birchers.  They don’t listen.

Fox News First said last week that Kasich was going to be on Special Report’s series on potential presidential candidates.  He wasn’t.  I think that means he’ll be on this coming week.  It seems to me that Kasich, and Fox, would want the segment on him to be filmed on his Mountain State Tour.  I’m guessing they’ll do it in Salt Lake, with the local Fox crew.  Kasich will have been in five states in three days, and heading to Idaho the next day.



Matthew Monforton told me he’s a hero to conservative Montana lawyers, such as Speaker Knudsen.  Brent Mead says, in addition, his standing among all conservative legislators is such that it should be able to overcome the Birch/Eagle tendencies some of them may have.  He’ll be in Helena for several events on 1-26, 27 so they’ll all get to hear his arguments first hand.  This may be enough, with everything else we’re doing, to win.  Unlike the Dakotas and the other mountain states, there are a lot of Democrats in the Montana legislature, which means our margin for error  — the number of Republican votes we can lose — is small.  We can only lose one vote in Judiciary.

You can’t count on a Democrat, not to be the deciding vote.  The party would be out to get any D who did it.  There’d be too much pressure.

If I go to Cheyenne to testify on the 23rd, I’ll get to Helena on the 26th, so I’d be able to attend one or more of Natelson’s presentations.  The logic of Article V is so overwhelming that I have a hard time concealing my disdain for those who just don’t get it.  I’ve got to work on that.

Biddulph’s robocall project is about to launch a test in Arizona.  If it goes well we’re going to have Gov. Kasich (pronounced Case-itch, I picked up on today) do the intro to the call in Wyoming.  He’s scheduled to meet with legislators in Cheyenne at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday the 22nd, so there will be media coverage throughout the day.  We’ll do the robocalls to Republican Revenue Committee members’ districts that night.  The resulting messages of support from constituents should be received by the member on Friday.  The hearing is 5:00 p. m. that afternoon.  It all looks good.

On paper.