Both Parties Got Played on Eminent Domain

by jhwygirl

Started to write this post, but it appears there is a motion to reconsider on the House floor and now they’ve gone to recess.

Time will tell whether they (and the citizens of Montana) got played…but it more than a few of them are wanting to correct the current deplorable situation.

Well, looks like many in the House, but not enough, tried to correct their vote. A 62 to 34 majority voted to reconsider HB198, the ugly eminent domain bill that we’ve written about here a number of times (hit the search for HB198 or “eminent”).

So we’re back to a bill that is going to be transmitted to the Governor who said he wanted a sunset clause.

A sunset clause on a bill that Governor Brian Schweitzer said he knows is bad. A bill that hands the takings of private property into the control of very profit-driven private businesses that have no obligation to public gain.

I’d call the situation bizarre if it didn’t involve private property owned by citizens of this great State of Montana. And for that reason, it’s tragic. People will look back on this law – if it does become law – as a turning point for this state much like the deregulation of Montana Power.

Governor Schweitzer has two options, really: Veto or approve. With no chance of an amendatory veto, any failure on his part to take one of those two formal actions – and let’s be clear here: Not signing it and allowing it to lapse into law is equal to approving it – is weak. Especially after the fiasco he created out of the 2007 legislative bill he allowed to lapse.

  1. Ingemar Johansson

    Has the red hot branding iron been delegated to the props closet?

  2. ladybug

    Welcome to the colony.

  3. Joan Amundson

    It appears our governor, once known for his libertarian streak, has been bought by corporate interests, and has sold Montanans (and members of his own party) down the river. It is tragic. His legacy will be deplorable if he lets it pass. He can talk about jobs till he is blue in the face. NO ONE (conveniently) has done a study about job destruction. Farmers, ranchers, home owners and all those who support them will suffer. Local economies that depend on tourism, real estate, recreation will suffer. If you’re coming to Montana to drop a fly line, are you going to do it on a river with huge, hissing transmission towers? Hey, why even come to backwater Montana…a state that doesn’t honor its citizens. I don’t think for one minute citizens of Montana will stop their activism on an issue as sacred to Montanans as private property rights.

  4. Turner

    This is a horrible caving in to corporations. I think energy companies should be public, non-profit entities. They shouldn’t always be trying to expand and find new markets. They should serve their consumers and let it go at that.

    • Socialist!

      Sadly for Montana, that fail boat has sailed as directed by Admiral Reagan, captained by Marc Racicot and First Mate Fred Thomas, under the flag of Goldman Sachs.

      I had an interesting talk with a decidedly conservative co-worker this morning. After noting Exxon’s record profits, he posited that gas prices should just be set at $10.00/gal. and the entire Rocky Mountain front should be gifted to the oil companies. He said, and this is pretty much a quote, ‘that’s the only way people like you and me are going to actually do something about this’. When pressed on what we would do, he talked free market solution, that we would simply just stop using their product. Of course, he did notice that he had no idea how we would get around after that. He stopped short of actually talking ‘socialism’ as regards our need for energy, and was left with the sighing refrain of ‘what is to do?’.

  5. Rob Thomas

    Well, how can a person sign legislation that he called a “bad bill?” I use to think that Montanans were people who cared about how their actions impacted others. Wow, was I wrong!

    Don’t blame the governor and don’t blame the legislature for this travesty. It is so easy for us to gripe about politicians during the session and then wash our hands of their actions after everyone leaves Helena. We elected these people, so we are to blame for what happened in Helena this year. We have seen the enemy, and it is us!

    Think about it, many sessions have gone by for many years and nobody tried to give private property rights to corporations; until now. So, the time has come to find new representatives that uphold the values we once had as Montanans. We should care what happens to our neighbors and we should elect people who feel the same way.

    So, anyone who voted for HB 198 should be fired during the next election cycle and the governor should stand by his promise to veto this bill since it does not contain his amendments. As for we the citizens, we should continue to write the governor and show that we care even after the party is officially over in Helena.

    Ultimately, HB 198 is about a small number of people gaining something they don’t really need at the expense of many people who have everything to lose. That is not my Montana. Please write the governor and urge him to veto HB 198. The party is never over.

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