Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Print Journalism

Department or School/College

School of Journalism

Committee Chair

Dennis Swibold

Commitee Members

Henriette Lowisch, Jeffery Greene


Montana Legislature


University of Montana


This is my news coverage of one of the strangest and most divisive sessions of the Montana Legislature in the past 30 years. In essence, a Republican-controlled Legislature with a faction of far-right conservatives pitted their agenda of shrinking government and expanding states' rights against the will of Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer, the most popular politician in the state at the time. In November, 2010, the GOP harnessed a wave of anti-federal government and anti-Democratic Party sentiment to win a historic, 68-32 majority in the Montana House of Representatives and gain another seat in the Montana Senate to give it a 28-22 lead. But as much as Republican leadership tried to deny it at the outset of the session, their party was divided between more seasoned lawmakers who knew compromise was part of the game and a handful of outspoken first-termer, Tea Party politicians who wanted to nullify federal law and legislate social conservatism. After a lot of bad noise that garnered national T.V. time for a few GOP lawmakers and provided enough fodder for political cartoons to line birdcages until the 2013 session, Schweitzer got most of what he wanted. The state spending plan was a little less than he originally proposed, but none of the social measures to limit abortion went through, very few of the bills to expand gun rights made it, and none of the nullification business lived to be law. These are the stories I wrote about their battle.



© Copyright 2011 Cody Bloomsburg