Archive for February 18th, 2011

by jhwygirl

Senate Minority leader Carol Williams speaks to today’s violation of public hearing rules today in the House Judiciary committee:

Sen. Williams made her statement today at the base of the Jeanette Rankin statue in the Capital hall because testimony was not only cut short, but people who traveled from across the state were not allowed to at minimum read their name into the record as a proponent or opponent. This is a written and enacted rule of the legislature: “”Any person wishing to offer testimony to a committee hearing a bill or resolution must be given a reasonable opportunity to do so orally or in writing.”

They attempted to start the hearing on HR516 at 7 a.m., after moving the schedule up one hour, knowing that buses were coming in from across the state to testify in opposition to the bill. Opponents, though, had apparently been given ample warning.

Committee Chair Rep. Ken Peterson attempted this move despite notifying the House during the floor hearing on Thursday afternoon that the first hour would be executive session.

Playing games with public hearings is not nice.

It’s criminal.


A lot happened in the judiciary committee and not a whole hell of a lot of it was open and transparent… I didn’t watch the proceedings, but according to Jhwygirl the proceedings were closed to all public comment.  However I have word that Marnee Banks, the Helena Bureau Chief for KRTV Great Falls is attempting to rectify the situation by currently taking any and all questions on today’s hearings.  Contact Marnee via email at or on Twitter @MarneeBanks


Missoula’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory and Analysis report is ready.  I haven’t had a chance to go through it really, but the buzz on the Missoula listserve is that from 2003-2008 greenhouse gas emissions from the city – that city government operations directly – increased by 46%, to 11,500 tons, with energy costs rising from $200,000 to $1.2 million per annum.  Those increases come mainly from the expansion of municipal  facilities, including buildings and the waste water treatment plant.

“…the City’s energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions have been accompanied by even steeper and unsustainableincreases in energy costs. From a fiscal standpoint alone, it appears that energy cost increases are notsustainable, particularly if energy use continues to increase.”

Read those numbers and feel the guilt… the city services we all like so much seem to have a big impact and with more expansion and upgrades of city services on the way that number is set to climb some more


Our war in Afghanistan isn’t in the news much anymore… there are better and more interesting things for the media to pay attention to now; the uplifting story of the wave sweeping away autocratic regimes in the Middle East, crazy shit Teapublicans do and say, our own economic plight/scandal, or Miley Cyrus taking a bong rip.  And besides, a slow moving wreck is much less interesting than a spectacular flame out.  What more is there for the media to cover and write about that hasn’t already been covered after a decade of occupation of a foreign land?

Armadillo, a Danish documentary following the nine month deployment of a Danish platoon to Helmand during 2009 featured last night at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival does what no reporting can; give an honest portrayal of the situation through the eyes of soldiers.  The documentary takes it’s name from the forward operating base in which the Danish platoon is stationed.  Despite the fact that the cameras are embedded with the Danish soldiers from the time they leave their homes to the time they return, the documentary isn’t a biased affair.  You are given a chance to see the challenges facing both the soldiers and the Afghani civilians.

You see the despair of a mother saying goodbye to her son leaving for Afghanistan; witness the heartbreak of a farmer that had his house blown-up by a mortar – killing his mother and daughter – while he was away at market; see the fear in the eyes of an Afghani father afraid to speak to the Danes for fear of the Taliban cutting the throats of his sons; feel the anxiety of the Danes as they prepare for a patrol and later receive fire from a hidden position; hear the anger in the voice of children who have had friends and family killed in the fighting as they taunt the soldiers; experience concern for a platoon leader seriously injured after his vehicle gets hit by an IED.

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by jhwygirl

The Indy’s Matthew Frank has an excellent article on the Montana GOP’s attack on a “clean and healthful environment”.

He starts it off with Ann Hedges testimony on SJ10, which I actually heard. It was late on a Friday and as I heard one of the legislators say that carbon dioxide was good for Montana I really really felt sorry for her.

Then I was glad I donate to MEIC.

Goddess Bless Anne Hedges. If I were Soros, that organization would have a million bucks donation from me.

by jhwygirl

There is a bill geared at denying equality to certain people in Montana that will be heard in legislative committee today. It applies retroactively in an effort to quash Missoula and Bozeman’s equality ordinances which extended protections to gays, lesbians and transgendered persons (Bozeman’s not being as far reaching).

There was also some quick maneuvering of the schedule to bring this to hearing…and the committee moved up their start time to 7 a.m. to boot. This bill was introduced on the floor first reading just last Saturday. Special treatment, I’d say.

In addition, along with the quick schedule changes there has been an ongoing discussion about comments. This legislature, controlled by a majority GOP, so they’re holding every committee chair, has been quite disciplined about public comment to the point of a FOX news fair-and-balanced point of view. Equal time, regardless of the number of people.

Now-I understand the need to set some limits – but to just stop the public from comment? I would highly suggest that you take a moment, if you haven’t, to listen to or watch a committee session to see what I mean. I have it on channel 67.

Wisconsin is doing at least one thing right out there – they went overnight in testimony the other night to allow everyone who wanted to testify, testify.

Nothing like last year’s bridge access hearing, as an example, which went on to darn near midnight if not later. Just to allow testimony from everyone that wanted to testify.


It is proposed by a legislator out of Havre, Rep. Kristin Hansen.

Because, you know, Havre doesn’t want all those crazy Missoulians coming up that way and expecting equality and stuff.

In a serendipitous counterbalance, HB514, from Rep. Edie McClafferty, of Butte will be heard, a bill with a short title of “Protect sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.”

So we have yet another nanny-state Republican proposed bill – this one geared at stopping a Missoula ordinance that failed multiple referendum attempts.

Oh – and you know what local politicians here support this nanny-state big government bill? Councilors Dick Haines, Lyn Hellegaard and Renee Mitchell. Haines at least had the guts to vote “no” in committee to the City of Missoula opposing the oridnance. Lyn and Renee? The merely abstained.

Ward 5? Ward 4? You got some real hate-filled people representing you on city council. Let’s hope you do better next time around.

I know Bozeman’s Mayor Krauss will be there to testify. I’ve not heard who from Missoula’s local government will be there to represent, but I’d love to update if anyone knows.

House Judiciary won’t likely take executive action today. They wouldn’t have the guts, as there will undoubtedly be an huge number of people in opposition to this bill in attended. Please take the time to contact legislators and them know that Montana should be a state that supports equality. That Helena should stay out of running local government…and instead of trying to run local government, perhaps they should start funding it instead of making all kinds of “unfunded mandates” up there every session while limiting local taxing capability to 1/2 the rate of inflation.

You can use this online messaging form and contact the whole committee at one time, or by choosing a legislator. It does not appear that they’ve got software in there that allows you to pick more than one legislator at a time. Hopefully they’ll add that in the future. Or at least “up to 5” or something like that.

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