TEA Party Republican Art Wittich talks a big game when it comes to helping veterans but when the rubber meets the road, he used his position as Committee Chair to work against them.
The Bozeman Chronicle has the story of Rep. Rae Peppers effort to allow veterans with PTSD to be able to get medical marijuana. Here’s what happened.
Apparently, after discerning that a bill by Rep. Rae Peppers (D, Lame Deer) to add PTSD to the list of allowable conditions treatable with medical cannabis would fail in committee because two dems would vote against it, Rep. Wittich joined 5 Democrats in voting yes while 9 Republicans and 2 Dems voted no.
After the vote, Wittich said the bill would have passed if it had been amended to specify it was for veterans only. Two dems said Wittich was right–and that they would support the bill with that amendment. Except Wittich then used his chairmanship to refuse to allow the bill to be amended. Even though the sponsor requested the amendment and even though he himself stated he supported the amendment, so the bill failed. And here’s the kicker – Wittich now gets to place blame on the bill’s demise on his fellow Republicans–because the only way anyone would find out what really happened is to listen to the hearing online.
It looks like he’s trying to be pro-veteran publicly, but the truth shows he’s using a shell game to hide his anti-veteran actions. This is not the first time Rep. Wittich has used his position to block help for veterans. Wittich used procedural games to block House Bill 249, which would have helped 9,500 veterans and their family members with health coverage, from having a full and fair debate.
Rep. Rae Pepper’s bill is House Bill 456. The Bozeman Chronicle reports that Rep. Peppers is hoping to get the bill to a different committee–where it can have a fair hearing instead of a sham one.