Pharmalittle: Merck’s Keytruda fails breast cancer trial; a pair of Sacklers flee New York

first_imgPharmalot Pharmalittle: Merck’s Keytruda fails breast cancer trial; a pair of Sacklers flee New York About the Author Reprints GET STARTED Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. What’s included? STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. @Pharmalot What is it? Ed Silvermancenter_img Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTED By Ed Silverman May 21, 2019 Reprints Pharmalot Columnist, Senior Writer Ed covers the pharmaceutical industry. Log In | Learn More [email protected] Top of the morning to you and a fine one it is. A delicious breeze and shiny warm sun are enveloping the Pharmalot campus, where the short people have left for their productive destinations and our official mascot is happily snoozing under our feet. This means we are free to brew cups of stimulation and, most important, forage for interesting tidbits. Speaking of which, here are a few items of interest to help you on your own journey. Hope all goes well and feel free to send along hints and allegations. We enjoy a mysterious hunt. …Former Manhattan society staples David and Joss Sackler are fleeing town and heading to Florida in a bid to escape the imperishable stain of their scandal-soaked family’s OxyContin business, The New York Post dishes. David — whose family’s company, Purdue Pharma, is accused of igniting the opioid crisis by aggressively marketing the painkiller, then directing efforts to mislead the public about its addictive risks — and wife Joss lived it up in a $6.5 million Upper East Side apartment. The couple were mainstays on the New York social scene, as well as big art patrons and donors to major museums. Tags drug pricingfinancelegalMedicareopioidspharmaceuticalsSTAT+Supreme Court Alex Hogan/STATlast_img read more

China Using North Korean Nukes to Destroy Asian Competition

first_imgAnalysis & Opinion Tracking the “unidentified yellow substance” being dried out near the Yongbyon Nuclear Center Is Nuclear Peace with North Korea Possible? China Using North Korean Nukes to Destroy Asian Competition Changchun, China — Choi continued, “Once North Chosun has the capacity to strike a heavy blow against the U.S., Japan or South Korea, then China will dissolve us and shift the responsibility for our destruction onto those three countries.”“In an extreme situation, Kim Jong Il will use all our nuclear weapons against South Korea, Japan and the U.S. In retaliation, the U.S. will burn North Chosun to the ground, in which case the only country remaining will be China.”“So, even though we boast of producing nuclear weapons, it does not really matter whether we possess them or not. Even if we survived using nuclear weapons against the U.S., we would ultimately face a tragic demise.”Therefore, “In reality, intellectuals have a cautious stance towards the nuclear issue,” Choi said, “Nuclear weapons will not help us survive in the end.”Moving towards the conclusion of such a scenario, he went on, “Even if the U.S. can dodge our nuclear weapons, they will not be able to evade the responsibility for any nuclear battle, which will result in them losing all their alliances in Asia. Therefore, China is planning to use North Korea’s nuclear weapons to remove its competitors in Asia such as South Korea and Japan.”When our reporter suggested that this was a charged and rather one-sided scenario, Choi maintained that “there is a certain logic” to such a mentality, explaining that it has recently surfaced widely among the North Korean elite. Choi, who revealed the strength of anti-Chinese sentiment among the North Korean elite earlier in the interview, characterizes North Korea’s dependence on China as akin to colonial subordination.Paradoxically, he explained, what the North Korean elite fears the most is that, despite the fact that Pyongyang has conducted two nuclear tests which are not in China’s interests, aid from the latter has increased regardless, especially in recent years.When our reporter pointed out to Choi that the Chinese government actually agreed to United Nations resolutions allowing for sanctions, and is said to have threatened North Korea as well, Choi explained, “They are just pretending to threaten us. Forms of trade with China, especially those under the guise of visiting relatives, have increased tremendously.”Regarding China’s attitude, Choi said that North Korean intellectuals “acknowledge this as one facet of China’s global governing strategy. Moving forward, our country (North Korea) will fall not due to the U.S., but due to China.”◆ Elite classes will not support Kim Jong Eun regime Choi also told The Daily NK that the North Korean elite harbor great antipathy towards the Kim Jong Eun (formerly Woon) succession system. “Intellectuals are quite concerned about the direction in which the current state of affairs will take North Chosun. So the state has officially issued decrees against intellectuals, trying to stop us coming to our senses.” The Korean Workers’ Party’s Central Committee issued a decree, “Strengthening the cultural education of intellectuals and university students,” on May 20th, in which it was noted, “We have to engage in a concentrated ideological offensive to prevent these groups from exposure to unsound ideological elements. In particular, the net of juche should be cast widely to prevent the ideological deterioration of young college students whose duty it is to lead the future of our country.”Additionally, Choi said, “On June 20th, a special lecture called ‘Let’s follow the patriotism of bright youth captain Kim Jong Eun” was given at every university, although it only presented facts that are commonly known.” “Perhaps the people who have the most opinion about the succession issue are intellectuals and university students,” he concluded, “As a result; the state regulates these groups strongly.”Finally, Choi said angrily, “Honestly speaking, how many people will support Kim Jong Eun’s succession? Even if the state were to mount a successful propaganda campaign, does it make sense to govern a country via a three generation dynasty? What kind of a person would actually be in support of this?”“How can father to son to grandson rule a country generation after generation? That is a completely feudal Communist state. Kim Jong Eun’s designation as successor, which will be followed by one of his sons if unchecked, is just too much.” By Lee Sung Jin – 2009.11.09 3:56pm AvatarLee Sung Jin Facebook Twittercenter_img Analysis & Opinion Analysis & Opinion RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR SHARE Pence Cartoon: “KOR-US Karaoke” Analysis & Opinion last_img read more

SEC steps up regulation of U.S. asset-management business

first_img Specifically, the rules introduce new monthly portfolio reporting forms and a new annual reporting form; enhance disclosure requirements in financial statements; and add new disclosures about securities lending. In addition, the rules are intended to promote effective liquidity risk management and enhance disclosure about fund liquidity and redemption practices by requiring mutual funds and ETFs to establish liquidity risk management programs; strengthening the limits on illiquid investments; and stepping up disclosure requirements in this area as well. “These new rules represent a sweeping change for the industry by requiring strong transparency provisions and enhanced investor protections,” says SEC chairwoman Mary Jo White in a statement. “Funds will more effectively manage liquidity risk and both commission staff and investors will receive additional and better quality information about fund holdings.” The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s (SIFMA) asset-management group (AMG) issued a statement on the new rules, indicating that it has supported efforts to enhance the sector’s regulation. “While we are still in the process of reviewing the final rules, it is clear that the commission maintained its commitment to the goals of the proposal, including strengthening the SEC’s regulatory effectiveness and protecting investors,” says Timothy Cameron, managing director and head of the SIFMA AMG, in a statement. “We look forward to reviewing the final rules and adoptive guidance and working with the SEC as the industry works toward implementation.” James Langton The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted rule changes on Thursday designed to “modernize and enhance” reporting and disclosure among registered investment companies and to enhance liquidity risk management by open-end funds, such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The new rules will enhance the quality of information available to investors and help the regulator collect and use data reported by funds, the SEC says in a statement. Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Share this article and your comments with peers on social medialast_img read more

CU-Boulder Leeds School Of Business Appoints Associate Dean For Academic Programs

first_imgStephen Lawrence has been appointed associate dean for academic programs at the University of Colorado at Boulder Leeds School of Business to manage the school’s undergraduate and MBA programs as well as its diversity and placement activities. His appointment is effective through Aug. 31, 2007. “Stephen is a strong leader who supports the values and priorities of the Leeds School,” said Steven Manaster, dean of the Leeds School. “His leadership will be instrumental as we move the school forward.” Lawrence also is an associate professor of operations management. He has served the Leeds School as faculty director of the Center for Business Education, chair of the management division, interim director of the MBA program and as director of the operations management and information systems doctoral programs. His research interests include technology in entrepreneurial organizations, management of technology, capacity design and planning and economic scheduling. He received his doctorate in operations management from Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to joining the University of Colorado, Lawrence taught at Washington University in St. Louis, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. He also worked in industry for eight years in operations management, quality management and sales engineering and was vice president of operations for Teetor Casting, an entrepreneurial metal casting firm in Illinois. Published: Dec. 21, 2003 Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-maillast_img read more

CU-Boulder's Wardenburg Health Center To Have Flu, Meningitis Shots For Students, Faculty, Staff Oct. 26-27 At Rec Center

first_img Published: Oct. 22, 2006 The University of Colorado at Boulder aims to be a “No Flu Zone” and as part of that effort is offering flu and meningitis shots for students through Wardenburg Health Center’s daylong clinics on Thursday, Oct. 26, and Friday, Oct. 27. The clinics will be at the Student Recreation Center from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days. Flu shots will cost $25 and meningitis shots $125 and can be paid with cash, check or credit card. The shots are covered by the student insurance plan. Individuals who have the Golden Buffalo Student Gold Insurance plan will be charged a $10 copay for one or both of the shots. Copays may be paid with cash or check only. Faculty and staff members also are welcome and encouraged to attend the clinics. “As it has for several years, Wardenburg has distributed cold-care kits to students and is promoting frequent hand washing in addition to encouraging students to get shots and follow other healthy lifestyle practices to reduce the spread of flu,” said Bob Cranny, director of Wardenburg Health Center. But this year Wardenburg also is doing more to educate the campus about flu prevention techniques and is joining forces with several campus departments in an effort to minimize the spread of flu because of increasing concern over a possible pandemic, following recent avian flu outbreaks in Asia. Although there is no pandemic at the current time, the same measures that work for preventing seasonal flu — the normal flu that occurs every fall — also apply to preventing the spread of a stronger form of influenza such as avian flu. The campus has put together a Pandemic Response Plan and is actively promoting hand washing and other health practices aimed at reducing the risk of common seasonal flu. The “No Flu Zone” campaign, which is being promoted through several thousand wallet cards now being distributed on campus, encourages people to “Understand, Prevent and Prepare” for flu. The cards give the following instruction: “Understand the differences between seasonal, avian and pandemic flu”; “Prevent the spread of the flu”; and “Prepare for the possibility of pandemic flu.” “Because of heightened concern about the possibility of a pandemic flu, we want students to get the message that they need to take steps to stay healthy, which will help them get through the semester,” said Sylvia Dane, CU-Boulder’s emergency management coordinator and the lead campus manager for CU-Boulder’s Pandemic Response Plan. “They need to get immunized, wash hands frequently, cover coughs and do other things like drink lots of water to keep from getting sick in the crucial end of the semester period.” The campus also is installing about 90 hand sanitizers in 17 buildings on campus in first-floor bathrooms near main entrances so that sanitizer is available in high-traffic areas. Seasonal flu prevention tips also are being promoted through a set of posters in residence halls and around campus that urge: o Getting a seasonal flu shot (the kind available every year), which could be of benefit if avian flu arrives by reducing the number of people who have weakened immune systems from the seasonal flu. o Washing hands frequently and using a paper towel to turn off faucets and then using the towel to open the bathroom door. o Using a gel hand sanitizer between hand washings to help prevent the spread of germs to eyes, nose or mouth at the height of flu season when germs are everywhere. o Practicing “good respiratory etiquette” by sneezing or coughing into tissues or a sleeve of clothing to prevent the spread of airborne germs. o Avoiding close contact with people who are sick and, when sick, keeping clear of other people to avoid spreading germs. People who are ill are encouraged to stay home, if possible, to avoid spreading the flu. For general information on student health, check the Wardenburg Web site at or call the Wardenburg Health Information Line at (303) 492-8741. Students who are ill should call the Telephone Advice Nurse at (303) 492-3435. Whether or not students get the flu vaccine, they should follow recommended flu prevention steps, Wardenburg officials say. Prevention tips can be found on the Web at: To prevent getting meningitis, students who live in residence halls are strongly urged to get a shot, Cranny said. National health officials support meningitis vaccination for college-age adults, especially those living in group settings such as campus residence halls. “The American College Health Association recommends that all people living in residence halls consider getting the vaccine,” Cranny said. People living in close quarters appear to be more likely to contract meningococcal meningitis, often called bacterial meningitis, which can be fatal. Meningococcal disease, which afflicted one CU-Boulder student in September, is an inflammation of the membranes of the brain and spinal cord and its accompanying bloodstream infections. It is rare but potentially fatal. Symptoms of meningococcal disease include fever, severe sudden headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, rash and lethargy. For more information on meningococcal disease check the CU-Boulder Web site at or call the Wardenburg Health Information Line at (303) 492-8741 or the Telephone Advice Nurse at (303) 492-3435. Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-maillast_img read more

Volunteer with Ralphie’s Green Stampede this fall

first_img Published: Sept. 8, 2017 Did you know CU Boulder was the first school in the nation to have a zero waste football stadium?Ralphie’s Green Stampede is a driving force behind the award-winning, groundbreaking zero waste football games at Folsom Field. Thanks to the hard work of Stampede volunteers and many others behind the scenes, every season over 80 percent of waste from Folsom games is kept out of landfills.Volunteer to join the Green Stampede action this season! Volunteers receive free admission to games, a meal and a Ralphie’s Green Stampede T-shirt.The Stampede participates in all football games at Folsom Field and all basketball games at Coors Events Center. You can volunteer for one game or all of them!For football games, we start two hours prior to kickoff time and work till the end of the third quarter. The fourth quarter is yours to enjoy! For basketball games, a volunteer shift is one and half hours prior to tipoff through the end of the game.Volunteer to be part of the Green Stampede at Folsom Field, or join the Stampede at Coors.Categories:Getting InvolvedCampus Community Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-maillast_img read more

Obituary: Richard Dean, MS

first_imgFacebook Share TAGSpeopleRichard Dean Twitter Linkedin Previous article“B Together” for Independence Day Weekend with BouchaineNext articleTrinchero Family Estates Named Importer, Sales and Marketing Partner for San Polo Wines TFE Press Release Email Pinterest Home Industry News Releases Obituary: Richard Dean, MSIndustry News ReleasesWine BusinessObituary: Richard Dean, MSBy Press Release – June 15, 2020 665 0 ReddIt AdvertisementRichard Earl Dean, passed away at his home on June 9, 2020, in San Bruno, California after struggling with a terminal cancer diagnosis at the age of 71.Dean, known lovingly by family as “Dicker Dean,” was born in Chicago, Illinois to Laurie DeLany and Earl Dean. As a young adult, he served his country as a member of the United States Army during the Vietnam War, and then went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Business Administration from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.Richard was the second American citizen and youngest person to become a Master Sommelier in 1975 at the age of 26, and was a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers, of which there are only 240 in the world. During his illustrious 44-year career, he served as Master Sommelier for The Mark Hotel and Tavern on the Green in New York City, and for the Taj Campton Place in San Francisco. Early in his career, he worked as a Master Sommelier for a number of Hawaiian hotels and a wine columnist for the Honolulu Star Bulletin. Richard also served as an instructor and judge for the Master Sommelier exams.During his lifetime, he traveled the world extensively and spent a considerable amount of time in India. Richard greatly valued his independence and freedom to explore other countries and cultures, to learn through his experiences, and to interact and form relationships with people.He is remembered by his older sisters, Donna Carden and Gail Dean, and by his closest cousin, Darlene Motyka, as an adored younger brother, full of enthusiasm, energy, and zest for life.To his nieces, nephews, and other cousins, Renee Calabrese, Sam Calabrese, Michelle Womble, Tracy Barker, and Aaron Dean (deceased), he will live forever in their hearts as the “fun uncle” – a perfect blend of curiosity, mischief, and adventure, while at the same time always being gracious, generous, and attentive to others.No memorials are planned at this time due to the pandemic.Advertisement last_img read more

Blog: How fast will 5G transform industries?

first_img Yanitsa Boyadzhieva 5G5G testbedaugmented realityEricssonhealthcareinnovationmanufacturingvirtual reality 5G has knocked on our door and the network technology has been touted as capable of changing the world as we know it.Industries, where productivity and efficiency are key, will feel a major impact, and as for consumers, there will be benefits beyond faster internet connections to smartphones.With initial deployments underway, the industry is now looking at what the technology can do, step-by-step.At an event held last week in the UK’s second city, Birmingham, I got to experience, first hand, some of the more futuristic 5G use cases and how the technology is set to evolve.Hosted by government-backed West Midlands 5G (WM5G), in partnership with Birmingham City University and vendor Ericsson, the event showcased how 5G can be used in numerous real-life situations, both in work and social environments.From using augmented reality to watch football games with a premium view to a 5G-powered 360° visualisation of proposed developments within an existing cityscape, cloud-enabled robots for factories and home care assistance systems, the future had made its way to Birmingham.The 5G network stageWith futuristic technology on show, there was a general consensus among speakers at the event; the research phase for 5G is over, and following initial deployments, it is time to focus on its place among different industries.“We are in a phase where the new business models need to be agreed in order for industry to start adopting”, Iain Thornhill, VP of Ericsson’s UK unit, told Mobile World Live. “And I think many of the different sectors will start to adopt the technology over the course of the next 12 months,” he added.Thornhill believes improving productivity, efficiency, potentially even giving industries the ability to be more agile in the way they respond to consumers’ demand, could all be achieved through 5G.“That comes from having more information that can be then processed and turned into some kind of insight to help them be more competitive,” he said.Igor LePrince, chair of the board of directors at West Midlands 5G (WM5G), concurred, but cautioned that some use cases in particular will take some time to scale.“We are trialling some of the use cases now and once they are tested, we want to scale that across the region and across the UK. As we deploy these use cases, that would also push the operators to deploy 5G faster as well. 2020 onwards is when we see this being scaled and that’s what we need to push to make a difference,” he said.While the demonstrations on show were impressive, Julian Beer, a professor at Birmingham City University, is not sure some of the futuristic use cases for 5G are yet ready for the mass market.Others, however, are not far off.“You look at the robots for advanced engineering and that shouldn’t be too far away in terms of automation in manufacturing. And then there’s augmented reality for pipes in the wall for the construction sector. None of them are ready yet for the market but a few of them are closer than the others”, Beer said.Thornhill argued that manufacturing and engineering are two of the industries that could easily grasp the benefits of 5G and these sectors should see the benefits in the short-term.“Manufacturing utilises all the best bits of 5G, gives the ability to abstract the control layer from the individual machine and gives the ability to utilise the low latency and high data throughput. That’s the one I think is definitely driving heavily across Europe,” he added. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to MoreAddThisMore 17 SEP 2019 Yanitsa joins Mobile World Live as a Reporter based in London. She has more than 5 years’ experience at various media outlets in her home country Bulgaria. She started her career as a political reporter, followed by taking editor roles… Read more UK’s 5G ecosystemAs West Midlands is to become UK’s first large-scale 5G testbed, speakers claimed the region is sculpturing its spot as a leading hub for the industry in global terms.“It’s very good to see that UK is actually having eyes on the forefront of launching 5G and that’s extremely positive,” said LePrince. “But it’s early stages. I think we need to see what’s coming but we want to accelerate that and make the West Midlands the 5G centre for the UK 5G ecosystem.”And to push adoption further, LePrince urged industries to set aside more time for the implementation of 5G.“They clearly see the benefit they can get from these use cases for 5G technology, but they also have a business to run and putting not only the money but also putting time aside to see how that can change the way they do things and change their business. Maybe this is the barrier that we need to break to really scale that overall. But there is a lot of interest from the market, which shows that the need is there,” he added.The editorial views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and will not necessarily reflect the views of the GSMA, its Members or Associate Members. Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back Previous ArticleGoogle sets date for Pixel launchNext ArticleWhatsApp plans India payment launch by end-2019 Tags HomeBlog Blog: How fast will 5G transform industries? Intelligence Brief: How is 5G faring in South Korea? Blog Blog: Will 5G drive additional ARPU gains in Korea? Intelligence Brief: What does 2021 hold for 5G in the 6GHz band? Author Relatedlast_img read more

Senate Approves Montana Sen. Max Baucus as China Ambassador

first_img Email WASHINGTON – The Senate easily confirmed longtime Sen. Max Baucus on Thursday to become ambassador to China, handing the job to a lawmaker well-versed in U.S. trade policy but with little expertise about military and other issues that have raised tensions with Beijing.Senators gave final approval to the nomination of the moderate Baucus, D-Mont., by 96-0. Trim and youthful looking for his 72 years, Baucus accepted colleagues’ congratulations before and during the roll call and voted “present” for his own nomination.Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Baucus has worked with Republicans during his 35 years in the Senate on issues ranging from taxes to health care reform — an independent streak that has vexed Democratic colleagues.Baucus supported GOP President George W. Bush’s sweeping 2001 tax cuts and his 2003 creation of Medicare prescription drug benefits, despite opposition by most Democrats.He also helped write President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care overhaul. Congress approved that measure solely with Democratic votes after Baucus spent months trying to craft a bipartisan version with Republicans.“I’m proud to stand up for it, because it is helping millions of Americans,” Baucus said in farewell remarks on the Senate floor after Thursday’s vote, defending a law that Republicans are making a top issue this election year.Most recently, he’d been working with Republicans to craft bills revamping the income tax system and streamlining congressional votes on trade treaties Obama is seeking with Asia and Europe.“His passion is well-known to all of us, his decades of experience here in Congress. He’s an excellent choice that President Obama made to represent America’s interests in China,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a long-time Finance panel colleague, lauded the Montanan for “his willingness to put partisan differences aside for the greater good of all.”In 2001, Baucus championed China’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization, which has helped Beijing conduct business with other countries. He has sponsored legislation — not enacted — punishing China for undervaluing its currency and has criticized Beijing for blocking U.S. imports of beef, a big business in his rural state.Baucus had already announced he would not seek re-election this fall when Obama tapped him last December for the ambassadorship.His early departure from the Senate — spokesman Sean Neary said Baucus planned to formally resign late Thursday — could turn what looked like a likely GOP Senate seat pickup into a more competitive race.Democratic Montana Gov. Steve Bullock planned a Friday news conference at which he was expected to name a temporary replacement for Baucus, perhaps Democratic Lt. Gov. John Walsh. That could let the appointee build a Senate record and gain visibility to defend the seat against expected GOP candidate Rep. Steve Daines.Baucus’ confirmation comes as China has emerged as a leading global economic and military power, at times causing strains between Beijing and Washington and its allies in the region.China’s economy is second in size only to that of the United States. The U.S. trade deficit with China hit $318 billion last year, far larger than it is with any other country, and the $1.3 trillion in Treasury securities China owns make it the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt.Ties have also frayed as the U.S. has accused China of cybertheft of American intellectual property and of holding down the value of its currency to give a price advantage to its companies trading overseas.U.S. officials have clashed with China over its human rights record, accusing it of mistreating political dissidents and many minority groups. On Thursday, Obama said at the annual National Prayer Breakfast that he has told leaders in Beijing that “realizing China’s potential rests on upholding universal rights.”Beijing has been modernizing its military forces and engaging in territorial disputes in the seas off East Asia with Japan, South Korea and the Philippines.Baucus will replace Gary Locke, the former Commerce secretary and first Chinese-American to serve as U.S. ambassador to China. Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.last_img read more

Legislators Reach Deal on House Rules

first_imgA proposed change to state legislative rules overshadowed the first week of the 64th Montana Legislature, with Democrats accusing the GOP leadership of trying to hijack control of the session by allowing the House Speaker to kill measures at will.The proposed rule changes emerged in the weeks leading up to the 2015 session, and would have made it easier for House Speaker Austin Knudsen to kill legislation by burying it in the House Appropriations committee, where measures are sometimes punted at the behest of majority leadership to quietly wither away without seeing debate on the House floor.But Democrats complained that the changes proposed by the GOP leadership were designed to give the party an unprecedented amount of power, calling the changes undemocratic.The major point of contention centered on a rule that would have given Knudsen the power to effectively kill a bill by referring it to the House Appropriations committee when it came to the House floor for final debate. The change would have required 60 votes – known as a super majority – to overturn his decision. The old rule, on the other hand, required 51 votes, or a simple majority.The change was thrown out in the House Rules Committee before the measure made it to the floor after the parties worked out a deal that allowed each caucus six “silver bullets” to save their bills from dying in committee, which Democrats will need if they hope to get bills like Medicaid expansion to the House floor for debate.Minority Leader Chuck Hunter also called for an amendment allowing a simple majority on a “blast” motion, which can rescue a dead bill from committee and “blast” it back to the floor. However, the amendment failed in committee.Knudsen and Hunter cut a deal before the proposed rule change was scheduled for a floor session. Knudsen said they worked out a deal because he and his party wouldn’t be able to obstruct certain amendments after moderate Republicans pledged to support them alongside Democrats.A faction of conservative Republicans voted against the deal, saying the Democrats would use the exceptions to the rule to force their agenda through the Legislature.Rep. Art Wittich, R-Bozeman, accused a group of self-named “Responsible Republicans” of splitting with the party and forcing Kundsen to accept the deal.Last session, a group of moderate Republicans joined with Democrats to pass major legislation, such as a school funding bill, pension reform and a state employee pay plan.The vote on the proposed rules change is evidence that the division still exists.Rep. Tom Woods, D-Bozeman, serves on the Houser Rules Committee, and called the GOP’s proposed rules “undemocratic.”“Under current rules, a speaker can redirect practically any bill that comes out of a committee to the Appropriations Committee. Some speakers tried to use this as a weapon, referring bills they did not like to this committee for quiet disposal, but as a check to this power, the legislature could override the speaker with a simple majority vote,” Woods said. “The GOP leadership faction is trying to change the override requirement to a super majority (60 votes). This will allow the speaker to kill bills he doesn’t like regardless of majority opinion. That’s undemocratic in that it negates a basic principle of our legislature – that the majority of members decide an issue.” Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. Emaillast_img read more