Republicans decry media coverage, say focus remains on economy

State representative Eric Moore, R-Miles City, talks with Prairie County constituents shortly after offering his take on the 2011 legislative session at the Prairie County Republican Luncheon.

 By Kay Braddock

Echoing similar sentiments that could be heard at Republican town hall meetings across the state, State Rep. Eric Moore, R-Miles City, told a gathering of about 30 Republican faithful at Sunday afternoon’s Lincoln-Reagan Luncheon that the media isn’t properly portraying what’s happening at the state Legislature.
“They get paid to sell newspapers,” Moore said, pointing to “goofy bills” that are finding their way in newspaper headlines, rather than the job creating ones he said Republicans are focused on passing. 
The committee session is there to filter out the goofy bills that are introduced each legislative session, he said.
“Creating economic opportunity was one of the first and foremost things we wanted to do in the Legislature,” Moore said of the Republican caucus that met before this legislative session. Doing that, Moore said, includes addressing five areas: Delivering education excellence, growing jobs and the economy, facilitating responsible resource development, limiting the size of government and restoring individual freedoms.
When it comes to passing a balanced budget, among addressing other issues, Moore said many legislators face a “steep learning curve” due to term limits.
“After being in the Legislature for 45 days I’m really starting to think that term limits are a bad idea,” Moore said, acknowledging he was originally supportive of term limits.
It puts the legislative branch at a disadvantage, when compared to the judiciary and executive branches of government, he said. 
Moore attacked Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s proposed budget. Among the critiques listed, he said Schweitzer’s proposal paints a “rosy” revenue projection for the next two years and robs eastern Montana counties of oil and gas revenue.
Among issues of main concern to Republicans in creating a more friendly business environment are reforming Montana’s workman’s compensation insurance, which is among the highest in the nation, as well as reforming the Montana Environmental Policy Act, and reducing the business equipment tax. 
Other issues addressed during the question and answer period, focused on eminent domain, private property rights and access issues.

March 2, 2011

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