Archive for the ‘Jim Elliot’ Category

by jhwygirl

Judy Stang, a write-in candidate for SD-7 (Senator Jim Elliott’s termed-out seat) has withdrawn from the race, endorsing her Democratic opponent Paul Clark along the way.

SD-7 encompasses parts of Sanders, Missoula and most of Mineral County. HD-13 is located within Sanders County.

(Senator Jim Elliott is now a candidate for HD-13, and a mighty fine one at that. I’m hoping we get to keep Jim around.)

Here is Judy Stang’s statement:

After a considerable amount of thought I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration for election to the Montana Senate and endorse Paul Clark for Senate District 7. I would like to thank the people and organizations that supported me over the last few months.

I am endorsing Paul Clark because his Republican opponent, Greg Hinkle has publicly announced that Montana should not accept any Federal funding. That seems too extreme to me and will cost Mineral, Missoula , and Sanders County too many jobs. Working in politics for 18 years I have seen the benefits of Federal funding and could not imagine local and state governments, schools and rural health care functioning without this funding.

Just in Mineral County the schools rely on Federal funding for many of their programs. The county has done numerous low-income housing projects that have allowed folks on fixed or low incomes to have homeownership, plus a better quality of housing. The revenues from highway construction have a huge impact on our local economy, and create good paying jobs for Montanans. Even counties have numerous services that have monies from the federal government that trickles down to our level.

My main reasons for running was to see this District represented in a non-partisan way. We need more candidates in politics that remember to represent the constituents of their districts and not become party clones. The last legislature was an indication of what happens when representatives do not have the courage to go outside of their party leaders issues and really give and take on solutions. It is going to take a lot of non-partisan work to bring this state around.

After talking with Paul, I am convinced that he will be a strong advocate for Mineral, Sanders, and the Frenchtown area of Missoula Counties. In fact, after numerous debates and questionnaires from newspapers, I have noticed our solutions to the issues are very similar. He has promised to work across ideological lines to find solutions to the problems important to all Montanans and to keep in touch with counties, schools, hospitals and local constituents during the legislative session. Paul will work hard to bring better paying jobs to rural Montana , support responsible development and work to increase access to affordable health care.

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by Jay Stevens

Recently Democratic state Senator Jim Elliot introduced a resolution urging rejection of the Presiden’t fast-track trade authority, which is coming up for review this Congressional session. (Basically the fast-track trade authority denies Congress the right to tinker with the President’s trade agreements, authority that is unabashedly pro-corporate and unfair to American workers.)

Here’s the blurb from the ultimate insider journal, The Hill:

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is being put under pressure from Democrats in his state to reject an extension of fast-track trade authority, which expires this summer.

The Montana state Senate, controlled by Democrats, this week approved a resolution asking Congress to create a replacement for fast track in which trade deals could be considered only in up-or-down votes.

Now, one thing I learned this past election was that the DC pundits really didn’t understand Montana’s political climate. You had nationally-known pundits misstating Tester’s position on abortion, miscalling the Senate race, blithely predicting before the primary that our current junior Senator had no chance in the primary.

This story about the Senate vote completely misrepresents the importance of the Montana Senate resolution on fast-track trade authority.

See, the bill passed on a vote of 44 to 6. Of the six that voted against the resolution, one was a Democrat – Larry Jent. That is, the resolution was overwhelmingly bipartisan.

See, now that’s important. Baucus has often argued that his position on trade, health care, taxation, and a myriad of other crucial issues affecting Montana are made based on the state’s inherent conservatism. Institutional thinking says he tacks right in the months proceeding an election in order to win as a Democrat in a “red” state.

But the Montana Senate’s vote shows that Baucus is woefully out of step with Montana on, at least, the issue of trade. This wasn’t a “Democratic” rejection of fast-track trade authority, as DC insiders would have us think – because such thinking allows Max to embrace fast-track trade authority in the name of winning the election – instead it’s a wholesale bipartisan and inherently Montanan rejection of the trading power.

And I suspect on a lot of other pro-corporate stances that Baucus embraces under the guise of electability are actually unpopular with the state’s voters. And it seems the state GOP has caught on. After all, Baucus is weak with labor and progressives right now. Our senior Senator can’t afford to continue to pursue his unpopular agenda and expect much support from his base come the fall of 2008. One thing Tester showed us recently is that money doesn’t have the final say come Election Day.

Right now I don’t think Baucus can afford to snub the Senate – and the state – by supporting fast-track trade authority.

by Jay Stevens

As mentioned in yesterday’s post summing up the hearings for Trudi Schmidt’s teen program licensure bill, there’s a alternative bill in the draft stage and sponsored by Trout Creek Democrat, Jim Elliot.

So, what’s the difference between the two?

Plenty.

The biggest difference between the bill can be found in the text surrounding Section 2-15-1745, MCA, which describes the composition of the oversight board over teen programs.

Schmidt’s bill calls for the board to be expanded from five to nine members, with the addition of a psychologist, physician, a representative from the superintendent of public instruction, and a representative from the department of health and human services. Basically, Schmidt’s bill puts health care professionals in the majority on the oversight board.

Elliot’s bill doesn’t include any change to the current board, which is comprised of three industry representatives and two members of the public, appointed by the Good Guv. In other words, Elliot’s bill keeps the industry in charge of its own licensing – and we’ve already seen how that goes:

In 2005 the Legislature passed a bill creating the Montana Board of Private Alternative Adolescent Residential or Outdoor Programs (PAARP). Later that year the five-member board—which includes three industry representatives—went to work examining the benefits of licensing such schools. Last summer the panel released a 64-page report recommending that the Legislature grant it another two years to continue considering registration and licensure.

I don’t think so.

The next big difference comes in who the licensure program covers. Under Schmidt’s bill, the board has the power to “license and regulate” any program that is a “24-hour supervised group living environment for four or more individuals,” and includes boarding schools, summer camps, religious programs and doesn’t include programs already licensed under the state or girl or boy scouts or 4-H clubs.

Elliot’s bill restricts the bill to behavioral modification programs:

“Program” means a private alternative adolescent residential or outdoor program that provides a structured, private, alternative residential setting for youth who are experiencing emotional, behavioral, or learning problems and who have a history of failing in academic, social, moral, or emotional development at home or in less-structured traditional settings.

The board does not oversee any schools with a “focus on academics,” training or vocational programs, camps, or “an organization, boarding school, or residential school that is an adjunct ministry of a church incorporated in the state of Montana.”

Call me crazy, but I think what the Spring Creek Lodge Academy has shown us is that we can’t afford to let businesses run programs for children without regulation. Period. If we have licensing for food and liquor, we should have licensing for teen programs.

Another reason to support the language in Schmidt’s bill is that Elliot’s bill creates a loophole that could be easily exploited by some of these private behavioral modification schools. All they have to do is reclassify themselves as an academic or faith-based organization, and they’re free from scrutiny. And that’s not to mention the faith-based “straight camps” would probably slither out from under regulation under Elliot’s bill.

Basically, Elliot’s bill protects the status quo, and that’s just not good enough. Not all private teen behavioral programs are bad; but some apparently are. In the end, we shouldn’t allow schools to put profit over the health and well-being of the children in their care.

Support Trudi Schmidt’s bill.

by Jay Stevens 

John Adams has a good summation of the hearing around Trudi Schmidt’s teen program licensure bill.

(If you haven’t seen my posts on this topic before, check them out.)

The interest in licensing teen programs was sparked by abuses that took place at Spring Creek Lodge Academy.

In 2005 the Legislature passed a bill creating the Montana Board of Private Alternative Adolescent Residential or Outdoor Programs (PAARP). Later that year the five-member board—which includes three industry representatives—went to work examining the benefits of licensing such schools. Last summer the panel released a 64-page report recommending that the Legislature grant it another two years to continue considering registration and licensure.

Schmidt wasn’t satisfied with the board’s recommendations, so she responded by introducing SB 288.

What Adams doesn’t mention, is that the 2005 bill was sponsored by Trout Creek Democrat Paul Clark, who himself runs a teen program. Considering that three of the five members of the board created in 2005 belong to the industry (and one seat belongs to a representative from Spring Creek), it’s no wonder they failed to accomplish anything.

A licensure program needs to be created and created now.

According to Adams’ piece, the hearing made evident the widespread support for Trudi Schmidt’s bill from former students, health professionals, and educators. Those that opposed the bill?

The only programs on the record opposing the legislation were Spring Creek Lodge Academy of Thompson Falls and Monarch School of Heron.
Only two people verbally testified in opposition to the bill. The first was Gary Spaeth, a lobbyist for the Montana Alternative Adolescent Private Programs (MAAPP), an organization Spaeth said represents “between 10 and 12” programs operating in Montana (Spaeth couldn’t recall which Montana schools were members of MAAPP, nor could Patrick McKenna, director of Monarch School and the organization’s president).

Spaeth wants the industry to be able to transfer licenses, like alcohol or solid waste. (Senator Kim Gillan: “I found that comment sort of a strange analogy given that we’re talking about children.”)

Spaeth is also against expanding the oversight board so that the industry is in the minority:

According to [Patrick] McKenna, having a lopsided number of board members who don’t represent the industry could stifle innovation at the expense of the teens in the programs.

But we’ve clearly seen the effects of an industry-dominated oversight board. Nothing got done.

Trudi Schmidt’s bill is popular and effective. Let’s get it done. Kids’ lives are at stake.

(There’s a link to the committee hearing audio. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I will and will bring you the highlights. Also, there’s a draft version of a modified version of Schmidt’s bill — LC 1003 — that’s sponsored by Democratic Senator Jim Elliot. I’ll be taking a look at that, too. So there’s more to come…)




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