A number of folks around the capitol have complained that the Legislature is no longer posting its social calendar online.
Legislators are regularly invited to brunches, mixers and after-hours events sponsored by special interest groups, lobbyists, and other organizations who have business before the body.
In 2009, in an effort to increase transparency, Democratic leadership decided they would post the Legislature’s social calendar on the leg.mt.gov website. It was an unprecedented move aimed at giving the public a better idea of the events lawmakers are invited to and attending throughout the session.
This year the social calendar is only available in hard copy and you have to ask for it.
I’ve heard speculation in the hallways that Republican leadership’s decision not to post the social calendar online might have something to do with Gov. Brian Schweitzer infamous “boozer” comments.
Serial capitol tweeter @JameeGreer wondered about that on Friday:
“And there's no online social calendar in the 2011 #MTLeg like in 09. Guess the "boozers" comment got to leadership?”
I’m not sure if that’s the case or not. I haven’t had a chance to ask Republican leaders about change.
However, in the interest of giving Lowdown readers the…well, lowdown…I’ve decided to post the legislative social calendar on this blog. Since it’s constantly changing, I’ll aim to post it here on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The calendar is in hard copy, and I don’t have a scanner, so the best I can do is to take a photo of it and post it. Also, I can’t guarantee the accuracy of the calendar.
Here’s the calendar for Jan. 9-22 as of Thursday, Jan. 6 (click on the photo for a larger version):