Of Interest for Monday’s Legislative Floor Sessions (01-26-2009)

by jhwygirl

The House meets at 1 p.m. Scheduled for 2nd reading is HB190, the bridge access bill.

This is where things can really turn political, folk. HB190 must pass 2 more readings to move to the senate. I and many others will be watching this vote carefully. Now is the time to contact your representative – regardless of where you are in the state – and let them know that you want him to ensure consistent public access to Montana’s waterways from county bridges around the state. Do NOT let HB190 go the way of previous public bridge access legislation.

For more on HB190, check out these posts. If you don’t know who your legislator is, check out Project Vote Smart, then head here to find their contact information.

You can also call the Session Information Desk at 406-444-4800 to leave a message for as many as five legislators or one legislative committee per call. Your message will be delivered directly to the legislators. The TTY (Telephone Device for the Deaf) number is 406-444-4462.

The Session Information Desk is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 8 a.m. to adjournment on Saturdays.

The Senate meets at 1 p.m. also. Of note there is SB131, which would require the DNRC to produce a map of the wildland urban interface, one that counties would use to help develop subdivision and land use regulations. It’s controversial, to say the least, but has survived a 2nd reading with a vote of 28-20. The Missoulian, in fact, has a story on the legislation.

This bill must survive a 3rd reading to be moved to the House. This is – if you care about this stuff – another action item. With a 28-20 vote, it wouldn’t take many votes to pluck this one off the pages.

Who voted against it? For some of these people, you really gotta wonder:

In Kalispell and Bozeman – areas smack dab in the middle of timber –
Joe Balyeat of Bozeman
Gary Perry, of Manhattan
Greg Barkus of Kalispell
Bruce Tutvedt of Kalispell
Verdell Jackson, of Kalispell
Aubyn Curtiss, of Fortine

Jim Shockley, of Victor? Really?

Or Debbie Barret of Dillon?

Out in the Great Falls area, where they had a big a** fire (the Ahorn Fire) in 2007, that went all summer long, there is Jerry Black of Shelby, Greg Hinkle, of Great Falls and Rick Ripley, of Wolf Creek

Billings? Haven’t they seen their share of sweeping fast moving fires in the area? One’s that cost the taxpayers 10’s of millions? Former gubernatorial candidate Roy Brown voted against this.
So did John Esp, of Big Timber, Bob Story, of Park City, Dan McGee, of Laurel, Taylor Brown of Huntley, and Kelly Gebhardta, of Roundup.

Maybe those legislators out there in the Billings area want to be able to develop however they want to and then let the taxpayers pick up the tab on their fast moving wind driven grassland fires….

Which, speaking of grasslands, here is the rest of the bunch:
Keith Bales of Otter
John Brenden of Scobey
Jim Peterson, of Buffalo

It’s do or die, folks for SB131. Call that phone number, above, and send a message to these legislators, tell them that you are watching their vote and that you don’t want to have your taxdollars to be spent defending more homes built out in the wildland urban interface that lack any land regulations.

This isn’t anti-development or anti-property rights legislation as opponents argue. It tells us that development needs to be done in such a way that it isn’t unnecessarily burdening the taxpayers at large – I mean – why would taxpayers in Scobey be OK with paying state taxes, significant amounts of which are thrown into fighting fires in Kalispell and Missoula and Victor? Don’t they need “stuff” up there? Wouldn’t taxpayer money be better spend preventing and mitigating wildland fires?

Go figure.

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