Archive for February 8th, 2011

by jhwygirl

Small Government? Fuggetabout it!

There are two proposals to expand legislative sessions to every year. On proposal – SB261 – is from Senator Jeff Essman, a Yellowstone Republican.

SB261 is a constitutional amendment proposal which, if passed by 2/3 of each house, would go to the voters. So there is no fiscal note.

The other bill, HB362, proposed by Representative Ken Peterson, a Republican out of Billings. HB362 proposes yearly sessions, one being budget the other being a general legislative session.

Anyone believe, first, that they’d stick only to budget?

Do check out the fiscal note on this one though. There’s a whole bunch of how it’ll get done – and no additional staff needed – and the whole thing will only cost $117,000 for the new session.

Thing is, as I know it the framers of our constitution wanted to citizen legislators and small government. They limited the sessions to 90 days. This left sufficient time to do the budget and little time for frivolous laws and more laws. It was set to function as keeping the focus on the basic necessities.

It’s really hard for me to find justification for this, especially this year. Why they’re not tackling the budget now? I know they are having hearings, but could they spread out the budget more amongst the committees so they aren’t dealing with crazy stuff? Why all those other frivolous things? Maybe if they spent more time on the budget and less on proposals to hunt with spears we wouldn’t have legislators seeking annual sessions? Resolutions telling the Federal government to take a flying hike on health care? Laws that essentially affirm the right of a 16 year old to drop out of school without having passed a high-school equivalency exam. Revise laws to lower the standards of minimal requirements for the State Superintendent of Schools. The list goes on of inane stuff that is a waste of the electricity it takes to run the meetings.

In other words – cut the crazy talk of trying to undo voters initiatives regarding out-of-state hunters and medical marijuana and get to work on the budget.

And then maybe we wouldn’t need to have a whole new industry of legislation created up in Helena.

Or are ya’all considering this proposal economic development?

Hope not, because I doubt the taxpayers agree.


The Montana GOP loves them some freedom, but only when its smothered in their own special GOP brand of Freedom Sauce. While they push issues such as setting up local militias, giving sheriffs ultimate local law enforcement authority, giving healthcare providers freedom to deny services to patients because of differing morals, and expanding individual gun rights including no longer needing a permit to carry a concealed weapon; on many other issues currently up for debate in Helena the GOP is proving that they want to curtail local decision-making and even the role that individual citizens play in politics and policy making.

Perhaps the biggest GOP attack on individual freedoms in Montana is the GOP’s push to override voter initiates and weaken the voter initiative process in the future. If Montana voters had passed initiatives banning abortion or abolishing the state’s DEQ I’m sure conservatives would be praising the Montana citizenry’s grounded and well thought out votes. But as it stands our current crop of Tea Party clowns are trying to circumvent our rights as Montana citizens. Numerous proposed bills target our ability to have a say in our own state.

  • HB 161 aims to reverse the voter’s will in legalizing medical marijuana
  • SB 204 would double the number of signatures required for a voter initiative to make it onto the ballot
  • HB 292 aims to modify our state constitution, taking away our right to a “clean and healthful environment.”
  • HB 280 and SB 176 both restrict in some way a women’s right to choose
  • HB 392 aims to redefine Montana citizenship, excluding many that are currently citizens
  • They killed a proposal to switch to a mail in ballot system which would have greatly increased voter turnout
  • SB 116 aims to take away a person’s right to decide how to end their own life.
  • HB 198 expands eminent domain powers to the benefit of large corporations over Montana landowners
  • SB 209 takes away a city/county’s discretion in deciding what factors should be considered when approving a subdivision
  • SB 228 would prohibit the state from setting up insurance exchanges
  • HB 431 would remove the day of state general elections from the list of recognized state holidays, making it more difficult for people to vote.

So the GOP loves individual freedom and choice and advocates for legal authority to be vested in institutions that are closest to the citizenry… except when people or local governments make the wrong choices… in that case it seems the GOPers don’t want us to have the freedom to choose our own path.

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