Policy Perspectives

Thursday, December 21, 2006 State Spending, Healthcare, Ethics   Volume 2 Issue 11  
Happy Holidays from CPPA
Hitting the State Spending Limit
Health Care Insurance
I Know I’m Wrong, So How Can I be Right
Western Presidential Primary Update
A Christmas Carol
About Policy Perspectives...
Transportation, Water, Energy
November 29, 2006
CPPA Events
October 11, 2006
August 30, 2006
Sports Economy
July 26, 2006
June 30, 2006
Health Care  
May 8, 2006
Taxes / Revenue Forecast  
March 29, 2006
Water Policy
February 28, 2006
Special Legislative Edition
February 23, 2006
Economic Development
January 30, 2006

Western Presidential Primary Update
by Jennifer Robinson, MPA, CPPA

It is very likely that Montana’s legislature will introduce a Western States Primary Election bill when its session begins on January 3. Legislation could move Montana’s presidential primary election from June to February for the 2008 election – and in line with primaries in Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. Although a 2005 bill died in the Montana Senate, legislation this year appears to have stronger bipartisan support, including that of Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer and Republican Secretary of State Brad Johnson.
In March 2006, Governor Schweitzer attended a bill signing in Utah authorizing a Western Presidential Primary Election for February 5, 2008. “We don’t believe in the West that we ought to let Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina pick our presidents,” said Schweitzer (http://www.kcpw.org/article/183). Secretary of State Johnson, who attended a presidential primary symposium in Salt Lake City this fall, agrees. “Montanans deserve a greater voice in choosing Presidents,” said Johnson. “These days, the major parties have often chosen their candidates before the first Montanan casts a vote in the primary election.  By working together with my Democrat and Republican colleagues in other Western states I want to enact policies to make sure all voices are heard” (http://sos.mt.gov/News/archives/2006/September/09-27-06.htm).
Montana, along with other Western states, has become a fly-over region – meaning presidential candidates simply fly over the Intermountain West on their way to and from California. Supporters believe that will change in 2008 with the creation of a Western States Presidential Primary election. To track legislation in Montana during the 2007 Session, visit http://laws.leg.mt.gov/pls/laws07/law0203w$.startup.


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