Elsie Arntzen’s Absolutely Deplorable Political History

January 2, 2020 / Comments (0)

Action News

Elsie Arntzen

Arntzen on a panel promoting school privatization put on by American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)


As Superintendent of Public Instruction during 2019 Legislature

(Elsie said almost nothing about bills that directly impact k-12 public schools and school communities. He provided NO leadership whatsoever. In several key ways she was out of step with her own political party. For example:

• Elsie failed to oppose HB 303 (DeVries) to end compulsory education. The Republican dominated House Education Committee tabled the bill.
• Elsie refused to support HB 225 (Schreiner), the governor’s k-12 school funding bill. She opposed his proposal to begin state funding of prek public education. The House Education Committee tabled the bill.
• Elsie failed to testify in support of HB 159 (Grubbs), the Republican leadership’s k-12 school funding bill. The Republican dominated legislature passed the bill
• Elsie failed to oppose HB 755 (Moore) that would in part privatize state funded prek. The House Education Committee tabled the bill.
• Elsie spoke in favor of school privatization at a Montana Family Foundation sponsored school “choice” rally.
• Elsie failed to support HB 175 (Dooling), the state and university employee pay plan. HB 175 positively impacts all of Elsie’s OPI employees. The legislature passed the bill.
• Elsie failed to support HB 211 (Jones) that establishes new hire school loan repayment of up to $12,000 over three years of successful employment. The legislature passed the bill.
• Elsie failed to support HB 351 (McKamey) that provides state funded incentives for school districts to implement “transformational” learning. The legislature passed the bill.
• Elsie failed to say anything at all about HB 387 (Jones) that expands personalized opportunities for students to accelerate career and college readiness. The legislature passed the bill.
• Elsie said nothing about HB 638 (Bedey) that inflates k-12 special education funding for the biennium. The legislature passed the bill.
• And Elsie said nothing about SB 92 (Salomon) that provides greater local school district funding capacity to address student health issues and school safety. The legislature passed the bill.


2015 – as a member of the Montana Senate

• Voted NO on an amendment to HB 2 funding Early Edge. (Amendment failed.)
• Voted YES on HB 166 and SB 200 cutting Montana income taxes and consequently state revenues by $80 million and $100 million respectively. (Governor vetoed both bills.)
• Voted YES on HB 322 providing local and state revenue vouchers for certain kids to enroll in private and sectarian schools almost anywhere. (Governor vetoed bill.)
• Voted NO on SB 12 providing state funding of 19 year olds who maintain high school enrollment. (Bill failed.)
• Voted YES authorizing certain elementary schools (East Helena, Hellgate Elementary, and Lockwood) to secede from their historic high school districts. (Bill failed.)
• Voted YES for SB 143 permitting guns on public colleges and universities. (Bill failed.)
• Voted YES for SB 275 – a proposed constitutional amendment – requiring election of the Montana board of public education. (Bill failed.)
• Voted YES for SB 410 establishing income tax credits funding student scholarship organizations to create scholarships for kids attending private, unaccredited schools. (Bill passed.)
• Voted YES on SB 411 closing the Montana Developmental Center. (Bill passed.)
In addition, in the Senate Education Committee
• Voted NO on SB 14 raising the mandatory school enrollment age to 18. (Bill failed in committee.)
• Voted YES on HB 377 repealing common core. (Bill failed in committee.)
• Voted YES on HB 596 establishing charter schools. (Bill failed in committee.)


2013 – as a member of the Montana Senate

• Voted YES on HB 30 eliminating election-day voter registration. (Bill failed.)
• Voted YES on HB 213 creating taxpayer funded tuition tax credits for private and sectarian education. (Bill failed.)
• Voted YES on HB 239 requiring parental pre-approval of student instruction that might involve issues of human sexuality. (Bill failed.)
• Voted YES on HB 240 prohibiting Montana Board of Regents from adopting campus gun control policies. (Governor vetoed bill.)
• Voted NO on HB 377 amortizing Montana Teachers’ Retirement System defined benefit pension plan. (Bill passed.)
• Voted NO on HB 454 amortizing Montana Public Employees Retirement System defined benefit pension plan. (Bill passed.)
• Voted NO on SB 14 providing ANB funding for students 19 years of age. (Bill failed.)
• Voted YES on SB 81 providing tax credits to student scholarship organizations to reward scholarships to kids attending private, sectarian, and unaccredited schools. (Governor vetoed bill.)
• Voted YES on SB 405 – a legislative referendum – eliminating election-day registration. (Bill passed and morphed into LR 127 that voters rejected in 2014 general election.)
• Voted YES on SB 406 terminating TRS and PERS defined pension benefit plans. (Bill failed.)
• Voted YES on SB 408 – a legislative referendum – providing that no more than two candidates in a partisan primary race be nominated for general election. (Bill passed and morphed into LR 126 only to be tossed from the ballot by the Montana Supreme Court.)


2011 – as a member of the Montana House

• Voted NO on an amendment to HB 2 retaining state funding for the Montana State Veterans Home, killing an effort to privatize that iconic facility. (Amendment passed.)
• Voted NO on a motion blasting HB 13, the state employee pay plan out of committee. (Motion failed. Bill failed.)
• Voted NO on HB 189 amortizing Montana Teachers Retirement System. (Bill failed.)
• Voted NO on HB 439 bonding capital construction around the state including in the Montana University System and the Montana Historical Society. (Bill failed.)
• Voted YES on SB 315 redefining good cause and due process in teacher tenure statutes. (Bill failed.)


2009 – as a member of the Montana House

• Voted YES on various amendments to HB 2 cutting state funding of Higher Education Student Assistance, Office of Public Instruction, Montana Board of Public Education, and Department of Corrections. (Amendments failed.)
• Voted YES on a motion blasting HB 624 to make Montana a “right-to-work” state out of committee. (Motion failed. Bill failed.)
• Voted YES on SB 81 – a proposed constitutional amendment – electing Montana Board of Public Education. (Bill failed.)
• Voted YES on HR3 – a resolution endorsing secession from the Union. (Bill failed.)
2007 regular session – as a member of the Montana House.
• Voted NO on HB 2 – state funding bill – precipitating a special legislative session. (Bill failed.)
• Voted YES on HB 204 capping state spending. (Bill failed.)
• Voted YES on HB 492 to apply a “tip credit” to Montana minimum wage law. (Bill failed.)
• Voted YES on HB 701 cutting Montana property taxes dedicated to public school funding and eliminating the quality educator payment. (Bill failed.)


2007 special session – as a member of the Montana House

• Voted NO on HB 2 to fund state government. (Bill passed.)


2005 regular session – as a member of the Montana House

• Voted NO on HB 2 funding state government. (Bill passed.)
• Voted NO on HB 124 (k-12 SHIP) creating a statewide school employee health care pool. (Bill failed.)
• Voted YES on HB 404 permitting anyone to teach for free. (Bill failed.)
• Voted NO on HB 447 providing state employee salary increases of 4% and 3.5% over the 2007 biennium. (Bill passed.)
• Voted NO on SB 78 increasing $5.15 Montana minimum wage 30 cents in 2005 and 35 cents in 2006. (Bill failed.)


2005 special session – as a member of the Montana House.

• Voted NO on HB 1 funding a new k-12 public school formula outlined in SB 1 (see below) plus Teachers and Public Employee Retirement Systems. (Bill passed.)
• Voted NO on SB 1 creating a new k-12 public school funding formula featuring dollars for quality educators, Indian Education for All, Indian achievement, and at-risk students. (Bill passed.)


Other Info

In 2012, Arntzen provided the following answers to a Project Vote Smart candidate questionnaire:

Do you support the national Common Core State Standards initiative? YES
(Arntzen changed her mind in the 2015 legislature.)
Do you support a merit pay system for teachers? YES
Is the tenure process for public school teachers producing effective teachers? NO
(She voted to diminish the meaning of tenure in 2011.)
Should parents be allowed to use vouchers to send their children to any school? YES
(Arntzen has consistently voted to privatize public schools.)
Do you support state funding for charter schools? YES
(Ditto.)
Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns? NO
(She has consistently voted to permit guns in public schools.)
Should a license be required for gun possession? NO
Do you support a universally-accessible, publicly-administered health insurance option? NO
(Arntzen opposed our own statewide public school health insurance pool proposal.)
Do you support requiring individuals to purchase health care insurance? NO
(So much for the ACA.)


Greg Gianforte and Susan Gianforte all contributed to Arntzen’s campaign. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.