Tagged: Cary Smith

Posted: May 2, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Family Foundation Says “God Governs the Affairs of Men”…but had trouble passing bills

by Cowgirl

The leader of the religious right group called the Montana Family Foundation proclaimed in a recent podcast that “God still today actively governs in the affairs of men.”

If it was the will of God that Jeff Laszloffy introduced such right-wing bills this session— as opposed to the will of the people the legislature is elected to represent — how does Laszloffy explain the fact that so many of his bills failed?  Especially when the session was overwhelmingly dominated by members of the Republican Party.

Here’s a sampling of bills Laszloffy was backing which failed to pass.

Clayton Fiscus’s bill to require the teaching of creationism alongside evolution in all Montana schools failed.

Kris Hansen’s private sectarian school voucher bill HB 357

Mary Caferro’s bill to legalize religious ponzi insurance schemes, which was vetoed by both Schweitzer and Bullock. SB 181

Cary Smith’s anti-science sex-education bill. HB 239

 Krayton Kerns bill to take away the right to death with dignity. HB 505

But it wasn’t just that his pro-active bills failed, bills that he had hoped to defeat were passed and became law.

Tom Facey’s bill to remove from the books Montana’s law that made being gay an imprisonable felony.  SB 107

And Laszloffy had tried to defeat Llew Jones’s SB 175, which made major investments in public schools.

To be sure, Laszloffy did get his way on one very prominent national issue.  He allowed religious boarding schools in Montana like Pinehaven Ranch to remain unregulated. These religious schools, which have no licenses, no accreditation and employ teachers who are not certified,  are now dealing with allegations that staff used violence to discipline students. And yet the Montana GOP has voted, on a party line, to allow such schools to continue to go unregulated. CNN ran a big story about it  on the Anderson Cooper 360 show.  Ellie Hill’s HB 236 would have addressed the problem. Laszloffy lobbied hard against Hill’s bill.

Before you start questioning God and his plan in light of this new information, make quick review of Laszloffy’s failed agenda–and how out-of-touch these bills make their sponsors appear. Sure enough, Laszloffy will prove to be the answer to the prayers of local Democrats next fall.

 

Posted: March 18, 2013 at 9:50 pm

ALEC Legislator Pushes Idea That Has Already Failed 22 Times

Wendy Warburton should not be conducting political campaigns with taxpayer dollars.
Wendy Warburton, R-ALEC

by Cowgirl

If you want to appreciate the failure that marks GOP ideas, consider the latest from Wendy Warburton.  This TEA Party Republican has brought back a bill to legalize discrimination in insurance pricing that has previous failed to pass no fewer than 22 times.

This will be the 23rd attempt.  What’s new this year is that the insurance industry now has the audacity to get a woman sponsor the discrimination bill–and of course the growing influence of ALEC.   ALEC junketer Wendy Warburton is carrying the bill at the behest of Big Insurance – the industry that spent more than any other on lobbying during the last legislative session.   Continue reading

Posted: March 7, 2013 at 7:16 am

Arkansas Passes Unconstitutional 12 Week Abortion Ban

by Cowgirl

What does it mean for Montana?

The Arkansas legislature has voted to outlaw abortion wherever a fetus’s heartbeat can be detected, which is usualy around 12 weeks. The governor of Arkansas, Mike Beebee, a Democrat, had vetoed the bill. But the Arkansas legislature overrode the veto.

To give you an idea of what Arkansas politics are like, not a single state senator, Republican or Democrat, spoke against the bill on the day the governor’s veto was debated on the senate floor. Continue reading

Posted: March 6, 2013 at 9:05 pm

GUEST POST: The Truth Always Comes Out

by  Nancy de Pastino, Co-Leader, Montana Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Control in America

There’s something I like to say to my daughter when she struggles to tell me what really happened. “The truth always comes out.” I’m hoping it will become a mantra in the back of her mind as she’s debating between sharing the story she wishes were true and what really happened. The country’s dialogue on guns sits at a similar impasse. One side of the argument is that guns should be regulated and background checks be universal so we have less incidences of gun violence. The other side insists that we need more guns to protect ourselves from the bad guys with guns. They propose arming teachers and college students. Who is right? Who knows? Continue reading

Posted: February 17, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Reforming Gun Laws, Montana Republican Style

by Cowgirl

It might surprise you to hear this, but right-wing Republicans actually agree with President Obama that America needs a radical change in our gun laws.  It’s just that they have a different idea of what those changes should be.

In the Montana Legislature this month, in the wake of the Newtown tragedy and a scourge of national gun violence, Montana Republicans have moved quickly to introduce a series of bills to deal with what they believe is society’s most pressing gun problem: it’s not easy enough to shoot someone.

There are dozens of proposals, each one stupider and sillier and more childish than the next. Here are few of my favorites:

First is a bill to change our concealed weapons laws. In Montana, concealed weapons may not be carried in churches, schools, banks, bars, colleges, hospitals and a few other specified areas.  Republicans have proposed a bill to eliminate these restrictions completely.

The author of the bill, House Bill 304, is none other than the state chair of the House Judiciary Committee.  A police officer showed up to a hearing to testify against it, saying he’d “never seen a bar fight that ended well with a concealed weapon.” The Republicans were unfazed by this testimony and are moving forward with the legislation. There’s also a companion bill, House Bill 384, that specifically addresses the injustice suffered by high school students who are denied the right to bring rifles and shotguns onto school grounds. The bill would forbid school officials from punishing such students.

Keep in mind that these are the same lawmakers who proposed Senate Bill 279 which was a bill to allow legislators to carry guns–both concealed and open–in the state capitol building last session.  Apparently they think that this will make the capitol a safer place.  I’m sure the many government employees who work in the Capitol will feel secure in knowing that a few crusty old Republican men–who start drinking at 10 am and spend the rest of the day snoozing at hearings or ogling high school pages–will serve as a security force in the event the building is attacked.

And if you think Republicans do not believe in guaranteed access to healthcare, think again.  A few GOP legislators have just introduced House Bill 459, a bill to guarantee the provision of medical care–to anyone who is armed.  The bill makes it a felony to deny someone health care if the denial is based in any way on the fact that the person is in possession of a weapon, and refuses to answer the doctor’s question about said possession.  Said another way, this bill ensures that you can bring a weapon to your doctors office, and the doctor may not ask you to leave the premises if you refuse to answer the doctor when you are asked “is that bulge under you clothing a concealed weapon?” It also forbids pediatricians from asking other questions about guns that they routinely ask, about whether the parent owns weapons and, if so, whether the parent is safely storing them in the house, out of reach of the child.

These legislators should themselves seek out a pediatrician, because they are overgrown children who somehow became legislators.

There are many more such bills, including:

HB 302 by Rep. Krayton Kerns would prohibit state enforcement of any federal ban on semi-auto firearms/magazines

 HB 215 by Rep. Edward Greef declares the Winchester rifle “The gun that won the west.”

HJ 5 by Rep. Jerry O’Neil amends the U.S. Constitution to prevent President from entering into any arms treaties that infringe on gun rights.

LC1639 by Rep. Scott Reichner would prevent local governments from restricting firearms.

HB 27 by Rep. Ted Washburn would allow the use of silencers when hunting “large predators,” while

HB 205 by Krayton Kerns would eliminate the prohibition on firearm sound reduction devices in the field altogether.

HB 240 by Rep. Cary Smith seeks to allow guns on college campuses.

HB 468 by Rep. Alan Doane would encourage manufacture of ammunition in Montana to ensure availability.

HJ 3 by Rep. Jerry O’Neil calls for an amendment to the US Constitution which “gives the states the right to make whatever guns they want so long as [firearms] stay inside the[sic] own borders.”

SB 304 by Rep. Roger Webb would establish a “firearm protection act.”

HB 292 by Rep. Randy Brodehl would revise laws related to pawn shop stolen gun procedures

 

Posted: November 27, 2012 at 9:57 pm

GOP Legislator Junkets Exposed

Today, new evidence of the extent to which Montana’s legislature has been corrupted by out-of-state corporate interests has come to light.  Citizen advocates have released documents showing that several Montana legislators received all-expense paid junkets where they were wined and dined by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  The latest ALEC extravaganza kicks off tomorrow in Washington D.C.

As Cowgirl readers know, ALEC is the bane of workaday Montanans’ existence. It’s corporate America’s mainline to corrupting the lawmaking process.  At lavish, closed-door “summits” they write “model bills” and instruct GOP state legislators to force them through back home.

ALEC won’t say which Montana lawmakers are showing up for tomorrow’s posh retreat. However, documents released today reveal some of the state lawmakers who were in on these junkets from 2006-2008.

This influence-buying scheme is illegal in some states, and should be in Montana. Probably some smart democratic legislator is already coming up with a bill to this effect.

The list of the Montana junkateers who are still in office includes:

Elsie Arntzen R-Billings
David Howard R-Park City
Lee Randall R-Broadus
Llew Jones  R-Conrad
Cary Smith R-Billings
Wendy Warburton R-Havre
Scott Sales R-Gallatin County
Jesse O’Hara R-Great Falls
Tom McGillvray R-Billings
Roger Koopman (now on the PSC)
Verdell Jackson  R-Kalispell
Jeff Essmann  R-Billings
Debby Barrett R-Dillon
Rick Ripley R-Wolf Creek
Bob Lake R-Hamilton
Krayton Kerns R-Laurel

Besides those listed above there are many other legislators who are members of ALEC.  Some have already been busted directly introducing ALEC bills, including: Mark Blasdel, Jason Priest, Ted Washburn, Scott Reichner, Pat Connell, Tom Berry, Jeff Welborn, and Jon Sonju.

What kind of laws is ALEC pushing this year?  Lots.  One way to find out if a bill is ALEC boilerplate is to compare it to the lists of the latest model legislation from the various corporations which can be found here.  Examples of new model ALEC bills include:

  • a law to require Attorneys General to do the legislature’s bidding,
  • requirement that all public employees must personally pay the costs of producing public documents unless the printed item does not display the publication’s printing cost,
  • a resolution for a constitutional convention to eliminate consumer protections,
  • repeal of voting access laws,
  • and ironically, a bill to create a new government commission to identify ways to cut to state government–at taxpayer expense,

and dozens more.  Some of the bills are designed to enhance corporate profits by stripping consumer protections from the laws, while others are “message” bills designed to enhance GOP chances in upcoming elections by forcing democrats to vote on controversial, if impractical, bills.

 

Posted: October 17, 2012 at 6:58 am

The Foul 57

Republican candidates across the county have tried to distance themselves from Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who believes that rape victims should be forced to give birth and said that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

That’s been much more difficult for GOPers in Montana.

A whopping 57 candidates for the Montana legislature actually voted for an amendment to the Montana Constitution to ban abortion, under all circumstances, with no exception for rape or incest.  Sen. Debby Barrett (R-Dillon) was one of them, as democratic challenger Richard Turner of Dillan smartly points out in a mail piece (pictured).

The forced birth for rape victims amendment  cleared the house and the senate with 96 votes. All Republicans voted for it except Lila Evans.  However, because it takes a 2/3 vote of 150 legislators to amend the constitution,  the amendment failed by only four votes.

Below the fold is the list of current legislative candidates who voted in favor of forced births for victims of rape and incest.  Check it out to see if your legislator is on it–I’ve alphabetized the list by town.

Shamefully, Jonathan Windy Boy and Gene Vuckovich also made the list. To be sure, there are many more GOP candidates for legislature who share these beliefs but weren’t in the 2011 session–like Scott Sales. There are also many more Republican legislators who voted for this but aren’t up for re-election this year.

 Rick Hill, Steve Daines, and Tim Fox all support Akin’s position.  Rehberg was an early major donor to Akin.

Continue reading

Posted: March 3, 2012 at 7:48 am

We’ve Got a Screamer

Anti-intelligence candidate Jon Arnold has filed for office on the Republican ticket.  He says he wants voters to send him “kicking and screaming” to Helena.

 I will go kicking and screaming into Helena, pushing our leaders to try to take back our powers that have been restrained from us by the federal government.

I think Arnold is confused about what “going kicking and screaming” means.  But that’s no surprise, considering that he’ll tell you straight up: ”intellectuals” are the problem:

We have a despotic, unconstitutional fourth branch of government, comprised of a small army of two million bureaucrats….Many of these people are considered to be “intellectuals.”  The problem with intellectuals is that they are not smart enough to know the things that they don’t know.  This was the brilliance of our founders.

Well, it is “the brilliance” of Jon Arnold anyway.

Jon Arnold is running for legislatureIt used to be that being smart and getting an education was viewed as important in America. But now, it’s the dumb that we put on a pedestal.   And to what do we owe this gift of dumb? Right-wing fundamentalism, both religious and political. We have a Presidential candidate who is worried that Satan is attacking America.  Rick Santorum says, in public, that college is all part of Obama’s evil plan to corrupt the nation’s youth.

Arnold further demonstrates his aversion to smart when he asks voters to:

Imagine if ten years from now there is a “sin tax” (such as those for alcohol and tobacco) for the purchase of a cheeseburger…The only protection against such injustices is to not grant the government this power to begin with.

What Arnold doesn’t know is that there is already a gaggle of Montana politicians clamoring for policies that would require a massive food police bureaucracy–at an enormous expense.  However, they are all members of his own party.  Here is a list of legislators (all Republicans) that signed an op-ed in favor of the idiotic boondoggle. The “evidence” for the claims made in the op-ed comes from TEA Party Republican Tom Burnett’s own blog and “research” paper.

Representatives: Tom Burnett, Janna Taylor,  Salomon, Wayne Stahl, Jonathan McNiven, Pat  Ingraham, Tom McGillvray, Ken Peterson, Jeff Wellborn,  Cary Smith, Jerry O’Neil, Bob Wagner, James Knox,  Dan Skattum, Wendy  Warburton, David Howard, Jerry Bennett, Jesse O’Hara, Christy Clark, Kris Hansen, Champ Edmunds, Krayton Kerns, Ron Ehli, Mark  Blasdel, Doug Kary, Austin  Knudsen, Kelly Flynn, Walt McNutt, John Esp, Pat Connell, Matt Rosendale, Cleve Loney, Mike Cuffe

Senators: Debby Barrett, Ed Walker, Ryan Zinke, Bob Lake

Arnold is a Republican candidate Montana Senate District 43, which includes Anaconda and surrounding communities.

Posted: September 2, 2011 at 7:01 am

Inside the Bad Idea Factory

The bad ideas and nutty legislation proposed in the Montana legislature certainly did not come from Montana constituents, and  did not even (always) originate in the muddled minds of TEA Party Republicans. Instead, many of the bad bills came from an out-of-state hard right strategy group known as the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC.

Much research has already been done into the connections between ALEC and its corporate backers from Big Tobacco, PHARMA, and Big Oil, and there are several good sources of information out there about these connections. But that’s not the whole story.

This summer, Center for Media and Democracy posted some 800 ALEC “model” bills and resolutions on a new website, ALECexposed.org.     Now, internet savvy Montanans have an intriguing and largely untapped resource to compare ALEC bills to proposals in the Montana legislature and to see how and where they overlap. It would be interesting if people who find things post them  in the comments. Then we could all see what patterns emerge, if there are certain legislators who were the worst offenders, or if certain policy areas appear to dominate the list.

Even the briefest look at the ALEC documents shows that its goals appear to be much broader than enacting pro-corporate policy.

In some instances, the model legislation is designed to advance the agenda of far-right religious fundamentalists to steer public funds to religious/private schools. Here’s the model ALEC bill on special education vouchers–a type of “gateway” proposal to lead the way to full private/religious school vouchers later–and here is the Montana legislative version, for comparison.

In many cases however, the greater goals appear to be electoral.  Take the voter suppression proposal, a bill that (if it wasn’t vetoed) would have helped Republicans keep more young Montanans, seniors, and low-income people living in isolated areas from voting.  Here’s the model ALEC Model bill to require a current photo ID to vote, and  here’s the Montana legislative bill.

The other way ALEC advances the GOP electoral strategy is by forcing dems to take tough votes on issues that the republicans will then use to campaign against them.  Take for example, the ALEC bill to opt out of health care reform.  Here is the model ALEC bill for a constitutional amendment to allow states to opt-out and here’s the Montana legislative version.

Republicans don’t like to talk about how they are using the legislative process for partisan electioneering with assistance from out-of-state groups.  Instead, they claim that ALEC is no more than a non partisan source of policy materials and even bragged about their attempts to pass ALEC legislation.

Here is a list of current legislators with ALEC task force positions (below the fold).  Like the TEA Party, the ALEC crew appears to be concentrated in the House with a few notable exceptions, like State Senator and Gubernatorial run considerer Jeff Essmann.   The list also seems heavy on Republicans from the Flathead area.

Continue reading

Posted: March 14, 2011 at 7:30 am

Wrong Turn

The Montana GOP’s war on local governments will be a boon to Democrats in 2012, and is in direct contradiction with the national GOP message.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, rising star in the national GOP base making the case for his bill to end collective bargaining, repeatedly repeatedly argued that it would give local governments more and much-needed flexibility . As Walker and his backers had been planning this for some time, and as long as it took WI to pass this bill, they likely had multiple polls showing that increasing flexibility for local governments was such a widely popular message that they could use it to pass something so controversial.

And who could forget the two years of protests around the health care bill that created the TEA Party movement and the drum beat against the overreaching federal government into areas that conservatives say states should have the powers to decide.

TEA Partiers claimed that by passing federal laws that weren’t popular at the state level, they were engaging in nothing short of tyranny. Now, these very same people, now elected to positions at the state level are turning around and doing the same thing to local governments.

First, the House of Representatives voted to take away the right of localities to protect their own residents when it approved House Bill 516 by Havre Republican Rep. Kris Hansen. Cities have the authority to establish ordinances and policies that protect and value members of their communities that have faced a history of discrimination.  House Bill 516 would not only repeal the Missoula nondiscrimination ordinance, but also existing policies and resolutions that other cities have passed to protect their residents, and would prevent any future nondiscrimination ordinances on the city level.

Senate Bill 309, by Dillion Republican Rep. Jeff Welborn, the stream access bill, and House Bill, 456 the  unconstitutional bill to repeal local control for school districts in sex education and health curricula, complete the package of the GOP’s war on local governments. Montanans believe so strongly  that local officials, who are closest to the people in their communities, are the best people to make school decisions that we put it in out state Constitution.

Republicans who vote for these bills are bestowing a great gift on their 2012 challengers–the ability to campaign against them by telling voters how these Republicans voted on legislation to strip local control and power from local government.

UPDATE: Read Seeing red: 71% say MT Legislature is terrible for another take on the political implications of the behavior of the Montana Legislature.