Argument Against C-43
The Constitution of the State of Montana should never be changed without a very compelling reason. Changing the name of the State Auditor's Office to the Insurance Commissioner to align the duties of the office with the title of that office is not a compelling reason. This constitutional amendment only applies a band aid to a real problem in state government and does not fit the duties of the office to the title of the office.
Currently the Auditor's Office regulates insurance companies and securities companies. Many insurance companies' business operations include banking. Many banks also deal in insurance. However, the banking industry in Montana is regulated by the Department of Administration. Insurance, banking, and securities industries should all be regulated by one agency. The legislature should consolidate those regulatory duties and then ask the people of Montana to change the name of the office. That name should reflect all of the duties of the office to allow easy recognition in case of complaints or other problems. Examples might include: the Office of Insurance, Banking, and Securities, or the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, Securities, and Banking.
The Constitutional Convention of 1972 contemplated changing the name of this office but decided against that action.
Another option is eliminating the State Auditor's Office as a constitutionally-mandated office and transferring these duties to another department.
Changing the name of a constitutionally-mandated office will be expensive. The costs of changing web sites, computer programs, public notifications, general supplies, labor, etc. cannot be ignored.
This constitutional amendment needs to be voted down.
The PROPONENT argument and rebuttal for this measure were prepared by State Senator Duane Grimes and State Representative Dave Gallik.
The OPPONENT argument and rebuttal for this measure were prepared by State Representative Wayne Stahl.
Those opposing C-43 argue that the Legislature should do a bureaucratic shuffle of the duties of the State Auditor’s Office. For good reason the Legislature has not done this agency shuffling. The opponents also propose another option, eliminate the Auditor’s Office. It is essential that we have our State protecting consumers of insurance products and guarding against securities scams, by an independently elected official with a title reflecting what that office does. This is too important of a responsibility to simply shuffle to a Department whose department head is not directly responsible to the people who elected them. Although, it makes for interesting conversation to discuss the bureaucratic shuffle or the elimination of the office, that is not before the citizens of Montana for a vote. What Montanans have been asked to vote on is whether the office should be more user-friendly by giving it a name that reflects exactly what that office does. This is a compelling reason and it makes sense for the people of Montana to change the name of the office to Insurance Commissioner. C-43 deserves your support.