Missing Democrat leads to legislative standoff
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Legislature is at a standoff over a missing Democratic senator — with Republicans alleging his absence is a ruse to kill GOP ballot measures.
Democrats recessed Friday to say they have been unable to locate Sen. Shannon Augare of Browning, even though lawmakers say he was seen earlier in the day.
Senate Minority Leader Jon Sesso told his caucus he would invoke a parliamentary procedure that demands every member is present before business can resume.
The move would fall on the same day that is a deadline for ballot referenda and tax bills. Legislative staffers say any bills that don't advance by noon Saturday will die.
Republican leaders were huddling to figure out a response. Several say they believe Democrats are fabricating the crisis to kill ballot referendums Democrats dislike.