Category Archives: Montana Legislature 2013

Backpedaling Underscores Land Transfer Problems

That didn’t take long.

Republican Party leaders are already trying to distance themselves from a costly land transfer boondoggle which was supported unanimously at the recent GOP platform convention. This after word is starting to get around about how the land transfer would increase our taxes by hundreds of millions, and inflict a major blow to Montana’s tourism economy especially in communities surrounding Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks like Kalispell, Bozeman, West Yellowstone and others.

Montana Republican Party Vice Chair Jennifer Fielder tried to tell a legislative panel Thursday that a report out-of-state land grab advocates are pushing “does not recommend transferring federal lands to state ownership or management” and that “None of the recommended legislation would transfer [land] either.”

Of course, the facts have already shown otherwise. Just last month Republicans unanimously supported including the land transfer in their party platform – without an exception even for national parks.  And then there’s the fact that not just two of  boondoggle’s biggest cheerleaders, Vice-Chair Jennifer Fielder herself (fast forward to about 45 min in) and Rep. Kerry White (TEA-Gallatin County) have been caught on video supporting the lands transfer.  And video evidence now exists of nearly every Flathead area conservative candidate supporting the transfer: Oops.

Fielder’s swift and very public backpedaling underscores the political difficulties facing this idea.

A recent University of Montana poll found that 2/3 of Montanans oppose the idea, which has already become a defining issue in Wyoming’s top 2014 races (and not in a way that helps TEA Party republicans.)  Utah’s own legislative legal council said the idea is likely unconstitutional (Utah passed a bill to do this which is already facing legal problems.)  The idea faces heavy political opposition a well. As Rep. Bill McChesney (D-Eastern Montana) pointed out during the legislative panel, “This state not for sale.”

This is the second time Republican leadership has had to try to distance themselves from the ideas surrounding this land transfer. At an event promoting the land transfer earlier this year the Missoula Independent reported that a speaker from Defend Rural America called the environmental movement “domestic terrorists.”

 

The Message the TEA Party Doesn’t Want You to Send

If you read this blog, you already know about the 70,000 hard-working Montanans cannot afford to wait for healthcare.  The TEA Party extremists in the last legislature voted to bar the federal funds to pay for this care from reaching Montana.

The Montana chapter of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network is doing something about that, and so should you.  It takes about 10 seconds.

TAKE ACTION:  Tell your legislator to support a Montana-made solution to provide health insurance for our hard-working neighbors

The federal government will pay 100% of the costs in the first three years and no less than 90% in the future, resulting in almost $4 billion in economic activity in our state.

By taking legislative action today, Montana will be able to:

  • Improve Access to Health Care Coverage → Nearly 70,000 uninsured Montanan’s will gain access to health care and this funding will protect access to rural hospitals
  • Detect Cancers Early → Benefits will include cancer screenings, such as mammograms, pap tests and colonoscopies
  • Save More Lives → Access to diagnostic and treatment services (regardless of the type of cancer), prescription drugs, and doctors’ visits
  • Protect Our Hospitals → Reducing the amount of uncompensated care and unneccessary use of emergency rooms, which drive up health care costs for all of us.

Providing more Montana families with access to affordable health insurance is good for patients, good for our state’s economy, and good for Montana.

You can also see and share the Cancer Society’s

 

TEA Party Wing Hijacks Annual Republican Fundraiser in Teton County

Dirty Tricks in Teton County

Choteau Republicans have indefinitely postponed their annual Shrimp Peel fundraiser due to party infighting over legislative primaries, but local TEA Party wing of the party has hijacked the event for its own.  Right-wingers says the event is still on and is using the popular annual get-together to feature TEA Party wing candidates and speakers instead of Republicans.

Dueling ads appeared in yesterday’s Choteau Acantha–one says the event is off, the other says it’s on.

The first ad is directly from the chair of the Teton County Central committee.  His ad states that the traditional Shrimp Peel fundraiser, which the local central committee has hosted year after year, will be postponed until after the primary elections in June.  GOP Chair Lew Clark’s ad explains that local Republicans voted 8-1 to postpone the event after it was revealed that a rightwing candidate “is trying to hijack our event.”  This man  “voted to cancel the Shrimp peel… and claim it as his own.”

In the same paper, the TEA Partier wing has their own ad, stating that the event is on for April 5, and that the event will feature angry TEA Party senator Art Wittich to bring fire and brimstone down upon the locals for daring to support their own popular elected Republicans.  What’s interesting about the phony shrimp peel ad is that it says it’s paid for by the “Teton County Republican Shrimp Peel LLC,”  which as far as I can tell doesn’t actually exist.  Cowgirl tipsters did a business entity search at the Secretary of State website and no such entity seems to be registered.

Here’s a pdf of the Teton Republican’s ad canceling the Shrimp Peel. The competing ad which claims the annual Shrimp Peel is on is below.

That candidate the GOP chair’s ad references is presumably Jim Anderson, the TEA Party right-wing challenger to Rep. Christy Clark. Clark is a pro-business legislator from Teton County. Both Clark and Teton County’s long-time state Senator, Llew Jones, face challenges from hard right-wingers who favor ideology over pragmatism and economic growth.   Anderson self-anointed former evangelical preacher who moved here from Red Lodge several years ago and operates a business called Grizzly Sports which sells guns, outdoor wear and espresso.

Anderson wrote his own angry screed in the Fairfield Sun Times this week [PDF], in which he seems to be claiming that his attempts to hijack the event were not well taken and places blame for the kerfuffle on local volunteers who didn’t want their event hijacked by TEA partiers.

The TEA insurrectionists are angry that some Republicans had the backbone to stand up to the TEA Party minority last session and vote based on what’s good for Montana’s economy rather than TEA Party ideology.  This horrifies TEA Partiers, but Montana voters expect rational thought. TEA partiers had hoped to hijack the government during the last legislative session. They succeeded on some things, like defeating a $6 billion infusion into Montana’s economy, but not on everything.

TEA Party Republican, Dark Money Group Leader Charged with Felony Assault on 4-year-old Daughter

As KTVQ Billings reports, court documents “filed in Carbon County District Court by Assistant Attorney General Mary E. Cochenour, show Priest is accused of grabbing his 4-year-old daughter and throwing her to the ground, causing an injury to her scalp.”

UPDATE: The Carbon County News has the most Continue reading

On claiming a bill is yours, without giving proper credit

Here we have a bill introduced by U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), which he introduced in 2011.  It was called the “Making Public Lands Public Access Act of 2011″ and uses funding from the Land and Water Conservation fund acquire lands around existing public lands that would also to improve access for hunters and anglers access to those existing public lands.

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