Archive for February 12th, 2009

by jhwygirl

Time’s a wastin’, as they say….

Bills are starting to move much faster..and there is a big movement towards committees taking executive (voting) action on bills where hearings have been held and decisions have been delayed. So its not too late to get your YES or NO phone call or email into the relative committee. I don’t know how many House committee chairs closed out today’s floor session by indicating that their next meetings were solely executive actions – but we are nearing the middle point of the session, so stuff, necessarily, needs to get hopping.

Two important bills tomorrow – one pending committee executive action. The other has the potential for executive action.

HB396, sponsored by Rep. Bill Wilson of Great Falls has had its hearing, but is awaiting executive action. This bill would limit the interest rate on title and deferred deposit loans. Obviously, there were tons of loan sharks payday loan operators there championing the validity of their operations, and of course citing “your anti-business” mantras. Don’t let these thugs win out again (remember 2007, folks?). Call the Session Information Desk at 406-444-4800 to leave a message for the entire House Business & Labor Committee. Phones open at 7:30 a.m. Executive action could be taken on this bill as early as tomorrow at 8 a.m.

Just so you know – calling is extremely easy. All you have to do is leave your name and town and zip code and tell the person on the other end of the line “I want to leave a message for the House Business & Labor committee for HB396. Please tell them to vote YES on the bill.” It’s that easy.

Santella Baglivo is the secretary for House Business & Labor, If you do send an email, make sure to put HB396 and Public Comment in the subject, and leave your name and address.

SB397, sponsored by Sen. Kim Gillan, of Bozeman, is up for hearing in the Senate Business, Labor & Economic Affairs committee tomorrow at 8 a.m. (Please note that the time may be a change in previously posted scheduling.) SB397 would cap interest rates and provide for repayment plans after the term of the loan.

The easiest thing to do – and given the hearing starts at 8 a.m. – is to, again, call the Session Information Desk at 406-444-4800 to leave a message for the entire Senate Business Labor & Economic Affairs Committee. Phones open at 7:30 a.m.

You can also send the senate committee members an email tonight:
Joe Balyeat, (R) (Ch)
Verdell Jackson (R) (V Ch)
Gregory Barkus (R)
Roy Brown (R)
Jim Keane (D) (you need to use the online form to contact him)
Jim Peterson (R)
Carolyn Squires (D)
Donald Steinbeisser (R)
Sharon Stewart-Peregoy (D)
Joseph Tropila (D)
Jonathan Windy Boy(D)

Know this: The predatory lending industry has implemented a telephone campaign to state legislators to try to defeat these bills that would stop legal loan-sharking in Montana.

Here’s some more facts on these reprehensible legalized loan sharks:

Your low-income neighbors deserve the same protection from exploitative lenders as that the Federal government has put in place to protect military personnel. Bills in the Montana House and Senate right now will cap the interest rate on Payday and Title Loans at 36% per annum. Anything higher than 36% is illegal if you are a military person. The average interest rate in Butte last year was 429% – and most borrowers are single moms trying to get over a minor economic crisis with a loan of a couple hundred dollars.

Watch this video put together by Butte Change is Coming, a grassroots organization formed during the presidential race and one that is still at it. It shows you the stories behind some of these predatory loan business.

Go Butte!

Another excellent piece to read is problembear’s Where is the Taliban when we need them?. Problembear has also done up this post <a href = “; which notes that the current law allows for up to 650% interest. Need more? How about this one or this one.

Make sure to check out the comments on those posts too – the low-lives that are the payday loan/casino industry swoop in to defend their business.

Isn’t that what loan sharks do?

Keep in mind, people, that calls and emails really do make a difference. As I noted in this previous post, SB314 has been pulled from schedule committee hearings twice due to mounting opponent pressure to the bill.

Another example of public pressure making a difference is the case of the Dueling stream access bill, which, because of public input, moved the better of the two forward through committee, and onward through the House.

It’s easy. Make that call, send that email.


by problembear

the missoulian twittered this  just in case it is something you can’t live without…

by Pete Talbot

The message Tuesday night: school board elections are coming up and there needs to be some changes.

More than 50 people crammed into a meeting room at the county courthouse to watch the video that was banned at Big Sky High School, The Story of Stuff. The film ran about 20 minutes and was followed by an impassioned discussion.

“It’s a vocal minority,” one said, kindly, “It’s the lunatic fringe,” said another — comments aimed at the critics of the video shown in a science teacher’s classroom. There were comparisons to the Scopes Monkey Trial.

The video seemed innocuous to me; simple, almost cartoonish, but informative. It raised questions – which is what high school should be about.

The big issue was balance. Does a teacher have a responsibility to present opposing views? The teacher in question encouraged discussion after the film. And we’re talking science here but some parents keep challenging evolution and global warming and consumption — and all they’re kids have to do is turn on the TV for balance: don’t question, buy this, you’re not cool if you don’t wear that, listen to this, drive that.

So at what point does a teacher offer balance against truth?

The meeting was sponsored by the Missoula County Democrats. They passed a resolution, unanimously, condemning the board’s vote and supporting a teacher’s right to present a thought-provoking curriculum.

Ana, a Hellgate High School student, says it more eloquently than I.

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