Montana Conservatives to Rank Lawmakers

By Beacon Staff

Just because former Bozeman Rep. Roger Koopman didn’t run for reelection doesn’t mean he won’t be involved in the 2009 Legislative Session. He recently sent out a press release from Montana Conservatives saying the “public interest group that tracks issues and legislative voting” will be keeping an eye on lawmakers by ranking them at www.montanapolicy.org. According to Montana Conservatives president Rob Natelson, the ongoing scorecard will be a “joint effort” of Montana Conservatives and the Montana Policy Institute.

During the last election cycle, Koopman spearheaded what he called the “Liberty Project,” which fielded “pro-freedom Constitutional conservative” candidates against more moderate Republicans in the primaries. Three of them prevailed. Here’s the entire press release from Montana Conservatives:

MISSOULA — Montana Conservatives, a public interest group that tracks issues and legislative voting records, has announced its plans to maintain an ongoing scorecard of all legislators during the upcoming session.

According to MC president Rob Natelson, “Project TAB” (Taxpayer Advisory Bulletin) will be a joint effort of Montana Conservatives and the Montana Policy Institute. MPI is a nonpartisan public policy research group, located in Bozeman, promoting private sector and competitive free enterprise solutions.

“Based on the popularity of our Legislative Voting Survey of the 90th Session, we felt we should take it to the next level for 2009,” said Natelson. “Citizens have expressed a strong desire to keep tabs on their senators and representatives while the legislature is still in session, so they may hold them accountable for the representation they are providing. TAB will give greater transparency to the legislative process, and will help Montanans provide more effective input while the votes are still being cast.”

The rating system will focus on fiscal issues and a wide range of other public policy matters, including regulation, competition, corporate welfare, educational choice, personal freedom and government growth. Legislators will be rated based on whether they vote to increase the size and scope of state government, or whether they will support traditional Montana values of individual freedom and responsibility by limiting government growth.

Legislator rankings will be updated on the MPI website (www.montanapolicy.org) as votes are cast on bills Project TAB is tracking. Montana Conservatives and Montana Policy Institute are educational organizations, and do not lobby in behalf of specific interests, industries or legislation.