Tag Archives: Cary Smith

GOP Legislature Releases Mandatory Dress Code, Modesty Standard for Women

GOP also decrees:  Don’t get caught in fleece, jersey, or open-toed sandals

The TEA Party House Republican leadership of the 2015 legislature has issued a new edict, the first of its kind that I have seen.

Because they love freedom and personal liberty, they’ve issued a formal mandatory dress code for anyone who seeks to be allowed into the House floor.  Besides demanding “business formal” dress, the new decree calls on women to mind their necklines and skirt lengths.   House GOP leadership are empowered to police the new edict.

This important policy is written in all capital letters, of course, because what else would you  expect from world-class leaders.

Since this new dress code is not particularly clear, the Cowgirl Blog has provided a handy guide below.   After all, the dress code is not just for legislators but also for “LEGISLATIVE STAFF, MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA, INTERNS AND AIDES” who  “MUST ALSO ABIDE BY THIS POLICY IF ON THE FLOOR WHILE THE BODIES ARE GAVELED INTO SESSION.”

Once you see what’s in the dress code, it’s clear it is targeted at women–and probably reporters.  After all, reporters are really the only people who can access the house floor besides the legislators’ own staff–and a handful of high school “pages.”  Last session, reporters were required for the first time to get special permission or “passes” to be on the House Floor at all.  Then the next thing we know, the senate president is looking into evicting the Associated Press from its capital office. Now this. But let’s get right to the dress code. There are eight rules in the edict, however, rule #6 was not released and we must presume it is being kept secret for some reason.

UPDATE:  GOP Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen is now  blaming his staffer for the dresscode, as you can see in the Bozeman Chronicle article that just came out.

First,  women are ordered to be “SENSITIVE TO SKIRT LENGTHS AND NECKLINES.”

(No similar guidance was provided to men to be mindful of tight or sagging pants and hideously short eagle-carrying-an-assault-rifle-in-its-beak neckties.)

The dress code also bans leggings. The legging ban may be a dig at the young women of Skyview High School who are fighting a dress code policy that unfairly targets young women in Billings.

So leggings are out, as are open toed sandals.  However, under this dress code concealed carry holsters under beige suits with bolo ties would definitely be okay –at least once the legislature passes the obligatory “concealed carry for everyone” bill the TEA Party introduces every year. 

17tb0mow47d7fjpg

Next, I see that “FLEECE AND JERSEY (SWEATSHIRT) MATERIAL ARE NOT CONSIDERED “BUSINESS FORMAL.”  Somebody needs to tell the dudes that wrote this that jersey and sweatshirt material are two entirely different things, but alas until then the rule stands.  Jersey tops like this are banned:

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 9.33.45 PM

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 9.33.41 PM

 

While this polyester number as shown on former TEA Party Sen. Joe Balyeat is just dandy:

balyeat

 

It also appears that men and women are required to wear suits, or suit jackets at all times or, for women  “a suit-like dress” may be worn, whatever that is.  Unfortunately, that means some of the clothing worn by GOP lawmakers in their own official legislative photos does not meet the new code.

This attire on GOP Rep. Christie Clark is now banned:

christy clark 2

Rep. Christy Clark (R-Choteau)

Also banned would be any reporter who showed up to help inform the public dressed like this – as cardigans have been nixed:

882d2eccddcf3205b7c44bceee9217ab

While this garb (the closest thing I could find that might resemble the item supposedly known as a “suit-like dress,” and which ceased to be made 30 years ago) would be allowed:

vintage-80s-purple-grey-check-pattern-double-breasted-pleat-dress-10

suit-like dress

 

The dress code also specifies that “JEANS OR DENIM MATERIAL, INCLUDING COLORED DENIM, IS NOT ALLOWED.”  Which means the apparel worn by TEA Party Rep. Nancy Ballance would be banned:

Nancy Ballance

 

No mention is made of Colonel Sanders ties, but this must be an oversight and I expect further guidance on this Montana Legislature wardrobe staple soon (shown on former TEA Party Rep. Alan Hale).

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 8.44.49 PM

GOP leaders state that legislators must “COMPORT THEMSELVES IN A MANNER THAT RESPECTS THE LEGISLATIVE INSTITUTION AND THAT INCLUDES THE FORMALITY OF DRESS EXPECTED IN THE CHAMBER.”

But it when it comes to requiring respectful behavior, there are some who would say this dress code appears to be geared more toward cracking down on women than on respectful behavior from men.

(I mean, it certainly would make everyone happier if men were more sensitive about the length of athletic shorts worn at the house/senate basketball game and if all Looney Tunes and Tasmanian devil ties were burned – but the dress code makes no mention of these.)

Instead of forcing backward modesty standards on women, here are some guidelines that the 64th Legislature would do better to adopt:

1. Legislators shall not refer to women as livestock, farm equipment, or household pets – and when debating a bill on breast cancer prevention, shall not berate their colleagues for supporting the “boob bill.”

2. Legislators shall take a breathalyzer test before they are allowed a vote, since they seem to think drug tests should be mandated on poor families.

3. High school pages shall be allowed to learn about the legislative process and not relegated to fetching 57 ice-cream sandwiches a day while being ogled creepily.

4. Legislators shall stop trying trying to hide their actions and true plans from the public and the press.

Bozeman Chronicle reporter Troy Carter tweeted a reaction from House minority whip Rep. Jenny Eck (D-Helena) this morning.  Eck said dems had nothing to do with the dress code.

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 8.19.44 AM

 

Twelve MT Lawmakers Call for Rounding Up and Arresting Federal Officials

by Cowgirl

Twelve Montana lawmakers are backing a bill to arrest any federal officials who try to implement the Affordable Care Act in Montana. The state legislators voiced their support for such a scheme in a survey from Ron Paul’s “Campaign for Liberty” TEA Party, on which they indicated they will either vote for or sponsor such a bill.

And what a group of legislators they are. Gordon Vance, Nancy Ballance, Cary Smith, David Howard, Kerry White, Sarah Lazloffy, Nicholas Schwaderer, Daniel Zolnikov,  Jerry O’Neil, Art Wittich and Mike Miller are all on record backing legislation to declare the Affordable Care Act illegal and to allow police to arrest federal officials who take steps to implement it in Montana.

These TEA partiers also say they support a nonsensical and unconstitutional dogma called “nullification” that holds that states can ignore the federal health care law–and other federal laws–if they choose. Two sitting lawmakers, Rep. Jerry O’Neil (RTEA-Columbia Falls) and Rep. David Howard (RTEA-Park City), both known imbeciles, were foolish enough to admit they would actually sponsor such legislation.

David Howard

Rep. David Howard has called for a new, modern-day Civil War and dedicated his entire Facebook page to racist, bigoted, bizarre and anti-gay posts. Republicans elected him Chair of the House Human Services Committee of the Montana Legislature.  He is running this year for a four-year term in the Montana state senate.

As Time Magazine reported in 2011 after TEA Party poster boy and perennial candidate Derek Skees began pushing the concept of nullification in the 2011 Bat Crap Crazy Montana legislature,

[N]ullification also has a controversial history. It was invoked by South Carolina lawmakers seething over tariff laws in the antebellum South, and again during the civil-rights era, when states opposed to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954 used the idea of interposition, nullification’s kissing cousin, as a mechanism to resist integration.

Out of over 200 candidates and legislators running for office this year, 34 loons answered the Campaign for Liberty questionnaire, as you can see here. Besides the twelve sitting legislators who back the arrest and nullification bill, an additional 18 candidates for the Montana state house committed to support it. Meanwhile six candidates went on record saying they will sponsor the legislation. Only four legislative candidates refused to answer or admitted they oppose the manhunts for federal health care officials.

Rep. Kerry White (RTEA-Bozeman) says he had hoped to join Cliven Bundy in his armed stand-of public employees in Nevada.

Rep. Kerry White (RTEA-Bozeman) says he had hoped to join Cliven Bundy in his armed stand-off against public employees in Nevada.

Every single one of these legislators and candidates should now be asked for specific explanations of why they support arresting anyone for implementing federal laws.

After all, the list of those up for arrest would be rather large.  All of the state’s navigators and certified application counselors are actually federal officials who have been given grants paid with federal dollars to sign people up for the Affordable Care Act. The biggest chunk of these officials are community health center, tribal clinic, and hospital employees. Additionally there are hundreds of insurance agents who were were certified to offer Affordable Care Act policies through the exchange using official federal funds and resources, and there are hundreds more state public employees whose work to implement the federal health care law is paid for with federal funds and required under federal statute.

Jerry O'Neil

Rep. Jerry O’Neil, RTEA- Columbia Falls says public beatings will save taxpayer money.

As of this posting, the legislators have not said whether the penalty for these hospital and health care workers would be jail time and fines or “humane whippings,” as Rep. Jerry O’Neil as previously proposed.

 

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.

 

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

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

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

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

 

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.

 

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

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.