Montanans from across the state are gathering in Helena to oppose TEA Party Sen. Jennifer Fielder’s plans to takeover our public lands with SB 215 and a “package” of other such bills.
It’s ridiculous that the Lee Newspaper story on the land grab doesn’t even mention where Fielder got the idea, which is copied from a Utah state legislator named Ken Ivory and his “group” the American Lands Council.
Ivory has been touring around pushing the idea that states should condemn and sell of public land. He says this will help pay off the national debt. This is an ALEC boilerplate bill, of which there are several this session, and Ken Ivory, basically Utah’s Derek Skees, has been pushing it at ALEC conferences. Montanans rejected the idea, which was among the infamous nutjob bills of the 2011 legislature ridiculed across the U.S. The Utah legislature’s own legal staff has said the idea is unconstitutional.
But that doesn’t stop those looking for ways to become the next Cliven Bundy or Robert. E. Lee–and since Fielder can’t figure out how to secede, she is hoping to spark a new sagebrush rebellion in the Montana legislature.
It’s also troubling that the Lee Newspapers article on this nonsense didn’t mention how the republican party distanced itself from the land grab during the 2014 elections, since the scheme is obviously extremely unpopular with Montanans.
The rally is expected to be one of the largest in recent memory. Fielder isn’t pushing this because it’s the right thing for Montana. She’s creating more TEA Party circus theatrics like the Bozeman Chronicle has already pointed out Rep. Art Wittich and Rep. Tom Burnett are guilty of:
Somewhere along the line, our state Legislature — or at least certain members of it — stopped deliberating on what is best for the state and turned the whole process into a stage for politicians to preen and prance in front of their base with absurd proposals that consume valuable time and money…..
We get it, Reps. Wittich and Burnett: Some of your constituents dislike and distrust the federal government. But is it really necessary to turn the Legislature into a circus sideshow to keep them happy? These measures aren’t going to be enacted, and even if they were, they are utterly unenforceable.
Let’s drop the theatrics and get to the state’s real business.
Another glaringly ludicrous ALEC bill this session is Cary Smith’s SB 148, which is an almost verbatim version of the ALEC bill found here. The Florida ALEC “State Policy Network” affiliate Floridians for Government Accountability is also pushing a slew of boilerplate legislation designed to defeat medicaid expansion and crack down on the poor.