Mean-Spirited Legislation

by jhwygirl

Sen. Greg Barkus, of Kalispell has proposed SB329 which would eliminate virtually all specialty license plates and the money that goes with them to non-profits around the state.

That one has its hearing scheduled for tomorrow – tomorrow being Tuesday.

Barkus, the man behind SB481, which would exempt all stimulus projects from MEPA – which is, incidentally, still in House Federal Relations, Energy, and Telecommunications, awaiting executive action OR death on a tied committee vote (hint-hint?).

I liked this post, from Politics, Peaks & Valleys so much, I think I’m giving it to ya’all a third time. The Editor at Button Valley Bugle really likes Barkus – they’ve written about him 4 times.

The mean-spirited specialty plate legislation is in Senate Highways and Transportation – Libby Goodwin the secretary – lgoodwin@mt.gov.

The unconstitutional anti-MEPA legislation is in House FRET, Nadine Spencer the secretary – nspencer@mt.gov

Of course, you could make it easy on yourself and call the Session Information Desk at 406-444-4800 to leave a message for both legislative committees in one sweet, short call.

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  1. klemz

    Did he get cut off by a Trout Unlimited member?

  2. goof houlihan

    what a jerk. Carrying the water for the sniveling highway patrol, I’d guess. They’ve always whined about “so many plates”.

    These plates have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for open space to start with and dozens of other worthwhile charities.

    All voluntary donations from people…an official “bumper sticker” as it were, that people pay to have.

    • I have a Five Valley’s Land Trust plate…I think they’re the most popular ones around these parts. Might cost more – but like you said – voluntary and free advertising for many worthy causes.

  3. Pronghorn

    Frivolous bills, unconstitutional bills, mean-spirited bills….and certain names keep coming up over and over again–Barkus, Steinbeisser, McGee, et al. The 61st Hall of Shame will have a full cast of characters when it’s all said and done.

  4. petetalbot

    I wish the state would put the county number on those specialty license plates. It would probably be a logistical nightmare to do so but …

    I’ve plied the highways of this great state for many years now and I pride myself in knowing at least half of the counties by their number. (I even know their county seats.) Example:

    “Why that idiot from Carter County (42) didn’t use his blinker. And I’ll bet he lives in Ekalaka.” or

    “How nice of that person from Treasure County (33) to stop and help with that tourist’s flat tire. I wonder if he’s from Hysham?”

    It’s a little game I play as I drive to Broadus (county seat of Powder River [9]) or Wolf Point (county seat of Roosevelt [17]) or some other berg that’s hundreds of miles away.

    Here’s some other county trivia. What two county seats have the same name as the county where they reside?*

    More trivia: Lincoln is not in Lincoln County, Deer Lodge is not in Deer Lodge County, Sheridan is not in Sheridan County, Choteau is not in Chouteau County (note the spelling difference).

    Also, I believe Silver Bow Legislators threatened to have a couple of people knee-capped when it was suggested that maybe Butte shouldn’t retain license plate #1.

    Now some of you folks might be saying, “gee, Talbot, time to get a life.” But try your own license plate game sometime — it’s fun and educational.

    On the other hand, it can be dangerous. When I asked my wife last road trip (for the umpteenth time) “Look. Honey, number eight, Fergus County. What’s the county seat?” I thought she was going to strangle me. (The answer is Lewistown.)

    *Missoula and Wibaux

    • JC

      Had to laugh last night when David Shuster announced on Countdown that David Letterman had just gotten married in Choteau (he pronounced it “shaw-toe). I’m like, dude, it’s “show-doe.” Get it right.

      But for your quiz, the first one was easy:

      Missoula = Missoula County
      Wibaux = Wibaux County (this one took a Google)

      And I’ll follow up with a little quiz of my own:

      Why did the plates get numbered the way they did? And in what year? And what year did Montana start licensing cars?

  5. petetalbot

    (Sorry about getting this thread so far off track, jhwygirl, and I echo pronghorn’s sentiments, but … )

    JC, NBC Nightly News also mentioned Letterman’s wedding. Said it was in Teton, Montana. I don’t think there even is a Teton, Montana. Letterman was married at the Teton County Courthouse in Choteau, Montana — congratulations, by the way, Dave and Regina.

    As to your quiz: I believe the plates were numbered that way according to the population of each county at that time (ergo Butte/Silver Bow,1;Great Falls/Cascade,2; Billings/Yellowstone,3 …). However, that doesn’t seem right. I mean, was Broadus (Powder River,9) really bigger than Ananconda (Deer Lodge, 30)? I think the county numbering system started in the ’30s (1934?). And I believe the first automobile licensing in Montana started in 1914 — at least that’s what my grandmother told me. Her family had the first automobile in Big Timber (Sweet Grass, 40) in 1912.

    • JC

      Bingo on all three questions Pete! ;-) And I think there were a few “irregularities” in the numbering in the 30’s. Haven’t been able to find any info on that.

  6. JAYoung

    I’m with the Jerk from Kalispell on the license plate bill. Some things — like license plates and high school stadiums — just should not be a venue for advertising. The Deer Lodge prison spent a bundle to get new equipment to make these flat, non-embossed plates which are rendered useless by winter road chemicals or if a car is found torched.

  7. ricardo

    Maybe there is no need to fret about this legislation because his Barkus is worse than his bite…

    Sorry.

  8. goof houlihan

    Even the regular plates are made the same way. And there are…vin numbers.

  1. 1 State Senator Barkus’ Record Kinda Speaks for Itself « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] if Barkus felt compelled to resign. There’s a long line for that way in front of me. He wasn’t a favorite of mine last session, and I have trouble convincing myself that anyone else could be […]




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