Montana GOP once again shows where their values lie, and it isn’t with public interest

by Lash

In committee room, in wood House seats,
No logic shall impede our feats.
Let those who live in Treasure State,
beware our record, it’s not that great.
-Oath of the MT GOP Corps

At some point in our lives Steve Martin explained to the world, “That a day without sunshine is like, well, night.” But with all the stumbling in the dark that’s happening, it could really be day fifty-four of the Montana Legislature or any day at all in the Montana House Judiciary Committee.

You may remember Pinehaven, the  “Christian” childrens’ ranch that made Montana news worthy of a spot on AC360,  was under threat of big, scary government regulation by HB236, which sought to require “certain” adolescent treatment programs to be regulated.  There was a push by Representatives Ellie Hill and Jenny Eck to blast the bill to the house floor for a full hearing.

Where it failed, 52-45. (See how the vote broke down)

Reasoning behind the vote against the regulation was a discussion of religious freedom and protecting it from government intruding on the rights of Montana citizens. Break this down into simple terms and it goes something like this: The Montana GOP believes that the “freedoms” of an institution who claims religious affiliation and has been accused of the abuse of the children it was created to assist outweigh the impacts of protecting at-risk-young adults from becoming victims once again.

It’s hard to even fathom the kind of side-winding, bat-crap logic that it takes to get to a conclusion like that, but then you remember why the bill had to be blasted out of committee in the first place. Because it was tabled there. The House Judiciary committee tabled a bill. That was written to regulate an institution. Accused of abusing children.

But it’s not the first time that the House Judiciary made a decision that left the public questioning their understanding of what justice was. Let’s review some of their more…judicious decisions:

HB 104 – Prosecute pregnant women for crimes against unborn children passed
HB 237 – Address homelessness for those under Dept. of Corrections supervision tabled
HB 302 – Don’t let them take our guns passed
HB 285 – Criminalize leaving children under 8 unattended in motor vehicles tabled
HB 374 – Allowing standing legislators to intervene in certain civil matters passed
HB 269 – Criminalize assaulting healthcare or emergency medical personnel tabled
HB 304- Don’t let them take our guns: part 2 passed
HB 370 – Abolish the death penalty tabled
HB 205 – Don’t let them take our guns: the prequel passed
HB 432 – Revise laws in child abuse and neglect cases tabled
HB 391 – Parental notification for abortions: the re-mix of the prequel to part 1 of the original series passed
AND
HB 543 – Creating a statewide child sexual abuse prevention campaign tabled

Looking back at the list of passes, failures, and tables it the floor vote today starts to make sense. It’s horrible. It’s wrong. But it shouldn’t be surprising.

For spouting family values, defense of freedoms, and protection from those out to cause us harm, the MT GOP and the House Judiciary Committee leave it pretty hard to believe that they’ll ever see the light.

Posted: March 13, 2013 at 6:29 pm

This post was written by Lash

12 thoughts on “Montana GOP once again shows where their values lie, and it isn’t with public interest

  1. Havre Voter

    Voting with the Dems were: Champ Edmunds (running for U.S. Senate) Tom Berry, Steve Gibson, Brian Howard and Jesse O’Hara. Wendy Warburton of Havre was rolling her eyes throughout the motion. Despicable.

  2. Havre Voter

    Also let’s not forget that for a group of legislators that claim to be so in favor of protecting kids from child abuse, they have actually gutted the funding for Montana’s child abuse protection program. Chew on that reporters (but be sure not to do any reporting on it, as that would actually be “news.”)

  3. Publius II

    Wendy just can’t wait till she’s on horseback leading her 1st ‘provisional TeaBag’ Militia Regiment that will be marchin’
    on those evil Bison believers at Fort Belknap and elsewhere…

  4. JohnC

    So, when did they close MDC in Boulder and send them all to the “legislature” as Republicans?

  5. Patrick Fisher

    I thank you for your clear analysis of the GOP legislative agenda in Montana. It seems their claim to be the party of “family values” (whatever that really means) does not hold out well when their legislative “accomplishments” are tallied.
    In my view, a society that fails to protect the weakest members of that society is failing in its most basic functions–not to mention that the failure to protect our children is contemptible beyond words.

  6. rebcon

    This is disgusting. Freedom of religion cannot be construed to permit child abuse or deprive minors of their Montana constitutional right to safety and health. The Montana DPHHS office covering the region in which Pinehaven is located should conduct an investigation of the facility and institute a monitoring program of the children at the ranch so that its personnel can act to remove any children who are abused.

    Shame on Great Falls legislator Steve Fitzpatrick for voting against the bill; which is essentially a vote to support ongoing child abuse. Kudos to Helena Republican Liz Bangerter and Jesse O’Hara of Great Falls for getting it right.

    Also, one might think that those with significant legal and judicial system experience would be appointed to the Judiciary Committee. The Republican appointments to that committee are appallingly bad. Was House Judiciary deemed a good place to dump all of the crazies?

    1. Jeff Lynch

      The Montana DPHHS office has no jurisdiction to investigate under current law. That’s why the bill was needed. I called the office and asked them.

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