You Can Text While Driving in Montana, But Don’t Be Gay While Doing It

by jhwygirl

Aside from my own personal feelings on texting-while-driving regulations (texting only being pretty much unenforceable) the Montana GOP sent quite a message in the legislature on Friday, such that Senate Minority Leader Carol Williams at the end of the day called it “Black Friday” and “the absolute worst day of the legislative session.”

HB516 moves forward out of Senate Judiciary to a floor vote probably Monday. Amendments were made on Friday that aim it at ordinances only, leaving intact Bozeman’s equality resolution. (Search HB516 here for more background.)

The conservative attack on the budget was in full mode in Senate Finance Friday morning, and among the leaders speaking out against unnecessary cuts and a lack of priorities were the governor’s budget director David Ewer and Health & Human Services Director Anna Whiting-Sorrel. The message was loud and clear from Schweitzer’s office – and even Bloomberg Businessweek picked up the story.

There was more, and to be honest, I am ill-informed on the entirety of it all. As for the topic at hand, though…..

HB241, a bill that would make texting-while-driving illegal, with a $100 fine was postponed indefinitely on the floor of the Senate after passing Senate Judiciary on an 8-4 vote. The bill was proposed by Sen. Christine Kaufmann.

Match that up with the House Judiciary tabling Senator Tom Facey’s bill which would have taken Montana’s laws which make intercourse between two consenting people of the same sex illegal.

SB276 cleared the Republican-controlled Senate with a 49-1 vote.

That law is, btw, unconstitutional under the Montana Constitution….and it is also proudly part of the Montana Republican Party platform.

The Montana GOP is an embarrassment.

I wonder if the House Republicans have the guts to allow it to a floor blast vote.

If they don’t allow a floor blast vote, they’re cowards.

  1. since the montana gop-led legislature reaffirmed montana’s unconstitutional law outlawing homosexuality, schweitzer should order the state police to arrest homosexuals immediately.

    that would be interesting enough to draw national interest. don’t you think?

  2. While it would probably garner a lot of national news, it would violate the rights of the people arrested. The Supreme Court has already declared it unconstitutional and while the people arrested would end up beating the charge, the cost to them in money, time and anquish is not worth it. The issue should have already gotten national news and it didn’t… just one more example that the corporate owned media are clueless or corrupt.

  3. anybody know when this law was first passed in MT? seems like it’s been on the books for quite some time…i’m must sayin’…

    • MCA: 45-5-505. Deviate sexual conduct.

      History: En. 94-5-505 by Sec. 1, Ch. 513, L. 1973; R.C.M. 1947, 94-5-505; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 198, L. 1981; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 175, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 687, L. 1991.

  4. According to the proposed legislation ( the ENTIRETY of MCA “46-18-205. Mandatory minimum sentences” is to be wiped from the books…

  5. ladybug

    Turn ourselves in day, people of all walks of life, would end this. Overwhelm in solidarity; let the state’s prosecutors sort out who is, and who isn’t, breaking the laws of Montana.

  6. mr benson

    I like the “I am Spartacus” idea ladybug presents.

    I also oppose the ban on phone use while driving. It’s all holier than thou nanny state bullshit.

    Montana used to be the land of the free. Congrats to Republicans for making us “land of the jack booted sex police”.

  7. SB-276 passed the Senate on the 3rd reading 35-14 with one excused.

  8. Jake

    Does anyone else find it strange that the Repubs chose a Gay woman to try to stifle discriminalization against gay people? Her relationship with another woman has already caused one divorce in Helena. War buddies no less. It is easy to understand why she would target centers for higher education because hers leaves much to be desired.

  9. Nobody has ever ben prosecuted have they?

    Much ado about nothing.

    • Eric, don’t be an idiot. You are smarter than that. Of course people have been procecuted under this law (and the laws that preceeded it). If you actually follow Wulfgar’s link in the Left in the West Post (I know you read it since you commented on it) you are not only aware of the history of this statute but also some of the higher profile cases involved. It is not the article writer’s job to lead you by the nose to answer your questions.. especially when those questions have already been answered.

      All of which ignores the reasons and outcry for the posts all over the Montana Blog o sphere about this idiotic move by the Montana Republicans. Why would rational people (Republican or not) refuse to remove a law that has already been declared unconstitutional? It makes no senses even if your goal is to eliminate homosexuals. It simply makes you look stupid and further, it makes you look like you have no respect for the American Legal System as designed by our founding fathers. The Judiciary is a much needed part of the triangle of how our governing system works. It ensures that the legislative part of our governance system follows the rules set down in our Constitution. If these concepts are too hard for you to understand, you need to go back to high school and really pay attention in Government class.

  10. Please moorcat, find ONE CASE and post it here, of anybody in Montana, ever being prosecuted under the statute.

    Just one.

    Find me that case, and I won’t come over here and upset this liberal circle-jerk for a month.

    Or even a year – deal?

    • Territory v. Mahaffey.

      See you in a month, Eric. Til then? No great loss.

      • “Yeah, but he’s a fucking pervert,Dude…..When he moved down to Venice he had to go door-to-door to tell everyone he’s a pederast.”

        • Rusted, the Coen brothers did not create reality, The Big Labowski is really not that good a movie, and your quote has jack all to do with this conversation. Go back to trolling #MTLeg, because you suck at doing it here.

          • I was curious if the dude was busted for having for having gay sex OR for having sex with a child.

            BTW, the link you provided states that this occurred in/around 1878….

            The part of code brought into question:

            MCA: 45-5-505. Deviate sexual conduct.

            History: En. 94-5-505 by Sec. 1, Ch. 513, L. 1973; R.C.M. 1947, 94-5-505; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 198, L. 1981; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 175, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 687, L. 1991.


            I wonder if the Dems have tried to repeal this EVERY session for the past few decades…

      • CharleyCarp

        A great link Rob, and one that highlights an important point for challenges like that offered by Eric: only appellate cases are officially reported. An acquittal, if one was ever had, wouldn’t be easy to find without a whole lot of work, although it would meet Eric’s challenge. So would a conviction that wasn’t appealed — which might well have happened more than a few times over the years.

      • eric- you can make it a year….

      • Territory ?

        This law has been altered as recently as 1991 – you’ll have to do better than that.

        Actually, don’t bother – this issue isn’t worth the time.

        But guys, please tell your Dem pals to keep the issue in their playbook – the Gazette’s polls were just released, and 61% of Montanans rate the legislature negatively, and here are some internals that are interesting – the GOP legislators are puling 44% approval, while here are the Dems;

        Democrats: 84 percent negative, 13 percent positive and 3 percent undecided.

  11. Eric- if the law is not prosecutable why does the MT GOP want to keep it in the books? Why not get rid of it?

    • mr benson

      Passing stupid unenforceable laws, or keeping them on the books, just teaches people contempt for all laws.

      And pretty much, contempt for most lawmakers.

    • Steve W

      I’m thinking they keep it on the books for sentimental reasons, PB.

      It’s like why they like keeping the confederate flag flying; They can pretend that slavery is still in force and that GLBT people are criminals.

      They get off on that kind of stuff apparently and spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing about it.

      At least that’s how it looks from watching the legislature on TV.

    • Why?

      I’m not sure, but if I’d have to guess, they like it because it gives the Dems a loser issue for their playbook.

      Politics isn’t pretty problembear, it’s a contact sport.

  12. While I am glad I can still text and drive, I’m embarrassed that the GOP continues to condemn homosexuals as criminals. Whether it has been enforced recently is entirely irrelevant, there is no reason for a hateful law like this to exist. I’m tired of their excuses about this infamous gay agenda. Sex acts between consenting adults should be none of the government’s business.

    There is a younger, more intelligent arm of the Republican party somewhere, I just know it. I cannot be the only thinking Republican.

    • I may not be younger but I am certainly more on the conservative side of the house (about the only one that admits it in my family). I stopped calling myself a Republican a long time ago, though, because my party became the party of Religious Bigotry and Insanity. What I find interesting, is that the Dems are starting to look more and more like old school Repubs….. Calling for Fiscal Conservatism, Rationality, and Restraint.

      Sadly, the apparent truth, though, is that both parties pay far more homage to their corporate masters and far little homage the vast majority of Americans that just want the basics.

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