Archive for March 8th, 2009

by jhwygirl

There is a correction in this post, below, for HB75

This post is just for Monday and Tuesday. 105 committee hearings for just those two days. Keep in mind, too, that this is all on the downhill side, too – and I need to remember that also. Floor hearings are becoming all the more important, too. I will be making an effort to get up brief previews as stuff hits the floor. Those will be, please note, don’t-delay, email-or-call-today types of notices.

Last Thursday – and then Friday – were two disappointments – both SB425, the “Walleye Welfare” bill, and SB497, the “it protects protesters from people that are entering health care clinics” bill both passed 2nd and 3rd readings in the Senate – on a nearly party-line vote. These were no-go bills from my perspective – and others – so that they passed is a bad thing.

Is there any good to report out of that? Well, in committee, both bills passed unanamously out of committee – SB425 a 9-0 vote our of Senate Fish & Game, and SB497 a 12-0 vote out of Senate Judiciary. By the time they hit the floor, all of the Democratic committee members – save one on each of those bills – had changed their vote. So while the bills weren’t killed on the floor, clearly there was movement. Is there more good? There’s still another chance at these bills – they’re now in their respective House committees….which means ongoing public comment should continue, and may have an affect. So keep it up.

Now, onto the task at hand, shall we?

Monday has an interesting one – the topic of which we’ve blogged about here previously. Rep. Scott Sales has HB526, which would require the use of regular road salt and prohibit the use of magnesium chloride and calcium chloride on state and county roads. Now..boy. What do you say about this? The bill started out prohibiting salt – and I could see where that was too unspecific, so as originally proposed it has been amended. But amended to prohibit magnesium and calcium chloride? When both are more effective? And road salt is more corrosive? And worse for water quality? What are these people thinking? This is House Appropriations (another crazy place for it – it was originally in House Transportation – and me, I’d love to see this in House Natural Resources) – Samuel Speerschneider the secretary – sspeerschneider@mt.gov.

Here’s another one of those crazy unconstitutional ones: Rep. Joel Boniek has HB246 which would “Exempt(ing) from the federal regulation under the commerce clause of the constitution of the United States a firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured and retained in Montana”. Honestly. The lunacy. And the waste of time. Boniek and the rest of the loonies that are proposing this kind of stuff should be embarrassed.

Sen. Jeff Essman has an interesting one: SB348, which would put forth a constitutional amendment to Montanan’s that would result in yearly legislative sessions that would alternate between regular and budgetary. This passed through the Senate overwhelmingly – 42-8. Now – I don’t know what I think about this: On one hand, if ridiculous legislation (like the one above, for example) weren’t getting proposed, maybe there wouldn’t be a need for annual sessions. On the other hand, 90 days has rarely been enough time to get stuff done. The cost of annual sessions – the fiscal note gets away from addressing it all together by basically saying nothing is going to happen until a time period out of our purview – would be significant. Further, we have interim sessions now where real analysis and attempts at bi-partisan agreement are worked out on significant issues. When would that stuff get done? If someone could explain that to me, maybe then I could support it – but as it stands now, we got a 90 day session that essentially focuses on the “regular” stuff like approving proposed bills that affect every day life, water quality, air quality, taxes, etc., and they have nominal hearings that are politically driven, with little substance given to true analysis, whether fiscal or scientific, of the effects. Would Essman’s proposal result in year-after-year of that? No analysis, just politically-driven decisions. If so, hell no. I wish the legislators would consider all that before they go putting forth a constitutional amendment to the voters that would result in a politically-driven decision that would then result in year-after-year of politically-driven decisions.

Sen. Carol C. Juneau wants to regulate the sale of alcoholic energy drinks with SB438. This one passed nicely out of the Senate, and hopefully finds the same support in the House. In House Business & Labor, Santella Baglivo the secretary – sbaglivo@mt.gov.

I’m going to have to split this post, people, so please click Continue Reading »




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