Some Montana Democratic Lawmakers to Boycott New Committee

Committee to investigate confidential settlements made with state employees

By Molly Priddy

HELENA — At least one Democratic lawmaker is planning to boycott a new committee to investigate confidential settlements made with state employees.

House Speaker Austin Knudsen and Senate President Scott Sales created the committee last month to look at why millions of dollars have been paid out in employee settlements and whether they should be made public.

They appointed six Republicans and four Democrats to the panel.

The committee’s first meeting is scheduled Wednesday.

Democratic legislative leaders recommended that none of their four lawmakers participate.

One of the four, state Sen. Mary Caferro, said she decided on her own to boycott the panel. She says the money should be spent instead to restore health care services that were eliminated by budget cuts.

But Democratic Rep. Brad Hamlett says he will participate because “somebody’s got to keep tabs on the Republicans.”