Archive for February 10th, 2011

Mixed Messages

by lizard

Boy, it sure is difficult to figure out what’s going on with our state/nation/world when there is such a clusterfuck of confusion perpetuated by mixed messages. Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

I’m going to give it to the House again today.

In a 57-43 vote on third reading, HB309 passed the House.

HB309 will effectively cut off public access to more than 6,000 public rivers and streams carrying public water across the state. As this commenter put it in the Ravalli Republic – I’ll drop my diversion in the water, and then it’s “get the heck off my property.”

Any legislator that tries to say anything else is either an idiot or a liar. That’s harsh, but I can’t say it any other way. Read the law.

Please note – that was a 57-43 vote – upped from the 55-44 second reading vote. If anyone wants to check out the party break down on that, I’d sure appreciate it.

As an aside, all the committee members have a party ID and the legislative roster shows party ID – why doesn’t the vote tally?

The House eeked out another fretful bill today, HB384 will effectively remove the need to obtain a concealed weapons permit. It will bring concealed weapons into bars and restaurants. It’s another one of those crazy Rep. Krayton Kerns gun bills with Gary Marbut – a gun advocate so loony that even the sheriff and law enforcement organizations..and the NRA, as I hear it, can’t cozy up to him – thrown in as an expert witness.

I watched this bill in hearing – and this was a hearing where Missoula’s Rep. Ellie Boldman Hill shined. That’s because as questions concerning how the bill would effect current law and law enforcement went to Gary Marbut (Montana Shooting Sports Association lobbyist) from the Republican members on the committee…Rep. Hill was smart enough to ask those same questions of actual law enforcement officers.

It was at this hearing, also, that Rep. Krayton Kerns, in closing as sponsor on the bill, tried to mitigate law enforcement opposition to the bill by saying (paraphrase) ‘it’s not that we’re eliminating the concealed weapons permit – you can still go get a permit if you want one…you just won’t have to.’

So hows that for a law that (first of all) made it out of committee and (secondly) passed the House 52-47?

The votes shifted on this bill to from a second reading vote of 59-40.

addendum: A second reading of a bill to abolish medical marijuana passed the House today too. In this case I’m going to say that the GOP is a damned lazy bunch. Rather than fix the thing – and they’ve had years of opportunity to do so, even and the behest of the industry and towns and citizens last session – they’re throwing out an initiative that was approved by 78% of the voters. You might want to call or email your legislators on that one and at least let ’em know how foolish they are.

by jhwygirl

Today started off with Missoula Representative Ellie Hill, HD94 preparing for hearing on her second bill of the session, HJ10.

Hill’s first bill, HB394 was heard in House Business and Labor yesterday. It would eliminate the license exemption for certain private adolescent treatment programs.

She didn’t make today’s hearing – which has now been delayed – because she broke her hand! And while the hearing was delayed, I hear rumors she was back at the Capitol before days end.

Talk about a tornado. Rep. Hill has been impressive. She sits on the House Judiciary Committee and is doing a notably amazing job with her focus on issues. I’ve listed to quite a few crazy gun bills, and in the face of all that lunacy, her questions provided a wealth of wisdom.

Today she was prepared to stand up to the individual freedom affronting Citizens’s United v Federal Election Commission SCOTUS decision which allows corporations to spend unlimited and unreported amounts of money on elections.

I’ve asked myself of late, given the apparent malfeasance of Justice Clarence Thomas and his socially-challenged wife Ginny, how you deal with that kind of obvious corruption of the process.

One way is to, as the State of Montana, call on the United States Congress to join the tens of thousands of citizens, local governments, and grassroots organizations across the county to call for an amendment to the United States Constitution to abolish corporate personhood and return our democracy, our elections, and our communities to America’s human persons and to thus reclaim our sovereign right to self-governance.

HJ10 hasn’t been rescheduled yet. That gives you time to email in your support for HJ10…and to provide additional comment on the bill. This online form is easy to use. You can email the whole Business and Labor Committee at once, or you can email each individual legislator on the committee.


Well… we have been pretty negative here at 4&20 when it comes to this Republican controlled session of the Montana legislator.  It’s about time we highlighted something good coming out of this session and something that is common sense legislation that most people can get behind.

HB 105 was introduced at the request of Monica Lindeen and aims to give the state insurance auditor the regulatory authority over insurance premium increases.  As of 2011 we are one of only three states that do not have regulatory authority over insurance pricing.

I’m happy to see someone attempting this reform, as I would say it’s badly needed.  Last year my health insurance premiums went up by 44% and I have never once used the coverage provided in the three years I’ve had a policy with BCBS.  I even wrote a letter to Lindeen last year complaining about the premium increase and got a reply back that her office had no authority over pricing.  I’m sure she received a lot of letters and emails from Montana citizens getting screwed by their insurance provider, and now here she is responding to the outcry from normal people… just how state politics should work.  If you want more information take a look at the fact sheet here and a story covering the bill from the Missoula Indy

Unfortunately this bill hasn’t made any real progress in almost a month.  It’s sad that a good, common sense reform such as this has taken a back seat to the lunacy taking place in Helena.

by jhwygirl

Set your DVRs, put it on your calendar, set the alarm on the crackberry so you can remember to stream it on the web – Sen. Jon Tester will be addressing a special joint session of the Montana legislature on Friday at 1 p.m.

Sen. Tester has faced some criticism lately on his wilderness bill, but no one can question his support of the military and veterans – of which Montana contributes the most soldiers per capita than any other state.

Sen. Tester is also clearly focused on job creation and the economy. Besides that, he’s a pretty forward speaking guy, who’s shown no hesitation to address his critics.

All that said, election season has been recently declared open, so I expect an especially rousing speech. I will absolutely be watching.

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