Archive for March 17th, 2009

by jhwygirl

Update: I want to update this to say that placement of this bill in a subcommittee is certainly indicative that cooler heads are at work here. Continued opposition to this bill – via calls or emails to the Senate Judiciary – will continue to be helpful.

HB228 faced growing opposition, with significant opposition testimony in a Senate Judiciary hearing on Tuesday.

This Seattle Times article reports on that hearing, and notes that while the NRA has promised to make this a priority bill, it has fractured the organization, with members openly speaking in opposition to the bill.

“It’s our most important bill of the session,” NRA regional lobbyist Brian Judy said in an interview. “NRA members will be apprised of developments.”

That means lawmakers can expect a steady stream of e-mails from gun rights advocates. And Judy said the measure will be used to help craft the NRA scorecard so important to many Montana politicians.

Police officers — touting their own NRA credentials — said the bill goes too far and creates loopholes for criminals.

Missoula Police Chief Mark Muir said the NRA does not speak for every member. His opposition stems from a “fear of armed criminals,” he said.

Some of the groups that testified in opposition?

Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Montana Association of Chiefs of Police
Montana Police Protective Association
Montana County Attorney’s Association
Montana Sheriff’s and Peace Officers Association
Montana Human Rights Network
The Associated Students of Montana State University
The Associated Students of the University of Montana

Why?

Ø Allows for the brandishing of a weapon at any time without justification.

Ø Provides for the carrying of a concealed weapon by anyone without a permit.

Ø Undermines 18 years of improvements to domestic violence statutes by shifting the presumption of self-defense and effectively allowing a partner to use deadly force as the first option as opposed to the last resort.

Ø Montana University system students are concerned about the potential impacts on safety in their communities and on their campuses.

Ø Addresses no present problem. Sponsors were unable to demonstrate a single case in which prosecutors or law enforcement deprived Montana citizens of their self-defense rights.

Ø Contains serious technical problems and sets up conflicts within the legal statutes.

Ø Despite the Proponent’s intentions, this bill threatens public safety in Montana.

It is not too late to call the Senate Judiciary Committee members. Do not allow out-of-state NRA lobbyists and interest drive this issue. Frankly, the arrogance expressed by Brian Judy is shameful, but not surprising.

Incidentally, there is a saner version of the castle doctrine/rightful use of force legislation. SB92 has passed out of the Senate (on a 45-3 vote) and is in the House Judiciary where it awaits its executive action committee vote. Consider calling the number below and leaving a message for the House Judiciary, in support of SB92.

To be clear here – the “bad” bill is in Senate Judiciary (HB228) and the “good” bill is in House Judiciary (SB92).

Call the Session Information Desk at 406-444-4800 to leave a message for the entire Senate Judiciary committee. Mention HB 228. Your message will be delivered directly to the legislators. The TTY (Telephone Device for the Deaf) number is 406-444-4462.

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by jhwygirl

An unfortunate vote.

Despite overwhelming opponent testimony focused on the poor environmental portion of HB418, the bill passed out of the Senate Agriculture committee with a 7-2 vote.

Senators Cliff Larson (D-Missoula) and Gary Branae (D-Billings) were the NO votes.

Thank you, Senator Larson, Senator Branae.

Unfortunately, this one will go to the floor. Probably Thursday. Now is the time to contact the Senators in anticipation of that floor vote.

If you need more information on this vile bill, check this link out. Those posts will provide you with additional information, along with other posts elsewhere around the Montana blogosphere.

This page takes you to an interactive map where you can figure out who represents you…or you can go to project vote smart. Here is a link to all State Senators, where their contact information is available.

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

Barring amendments to that bill that remove the restrictions on MEPA and judicial challenges, this bill is one that has been cited as a violation of Montana’s guaranteed right to a clean and healthful environment.

Considering where this legislature is heading, folks – people might want to consider dropping a few bucks to Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC) – one of the many organizations that is up there in Helena, daily, providing thoughtful, educated testimony on each and every one of these horrible environmental bills. This sinking economy has had its impact on this fine organization, and they are still working hard despite their cuts. MEIC’s Anne Hedges has said that these bad bills will result in litigation. They’re going to need all the help they an get.

by jhwygirl

Really, the above line is by Dave Crisp, of the Billings Blog.

Go read the rest.




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