It’s been another wacky year if TEA Party nutjob antics. From voting to keep prison sentences for being gay to a slew of racist remarks and terrible ideas, Montana elected officials, TEA Party activists, and candidates brought the crackpot craziness to mainstream politics in an embarrassing way.
Interesting development in Idaho this week. A Republican state Representative was busted for lying about his criminal record and had his concealed weapons permit revoked. But he says he’s the victim – of a sheriff out for revenge after the legislator inquired about the sheriff’s office expenditures.
Idaho state Representative Mark Patterson (R-Boise) did jail time and pleaded guilty to a rape-related charge in Florida when he was 21. A few years later he was acquitted of rape at trial in another city.
Patterson was charged with forcible rape in May 1974. As the Idaho Statesman reports:
The victim, then a 46-year-old mother of five, told police that Patterson forced her to have sex twice and threatened to have his Doberman pinscher attack her if she refused, according to police reports.
He pleaded guilty in exchange for a lesser charge (assault with intent to rape).
But now, the Republican is trying to say not only that he didn’t commit the crime but that he didn’t lie about it either. He claims his memory has been wiped clean of any recollection of this whole affair by a chemotherapy treatment he received to treat a case of Hepatitis C he says he got at the dentist.
Patterson says he’s the victim of a local sheriff who by revoking his permit is really:
staging a political hit against him, trying to “shut me down and silence me and get me the hell out of the way,” because he has scrutinized the way Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney spends his department’s money, according to a detailed report in the Idaho Statesman.
Here’s the kicker – thanks to an Idaho law that automatically grants concealed weapons permits to legislators, legislators were able to make sure their own criminals were above the law.
Montana lawmakers tried to pass a similar law here. TEA Party Republican Verdell Jackson tried to pass Senate Bill 279 in 2011– a bill to allow legislators to carry guns–both concealed and open–in the state capitol building.Tweet
Birthers Undeterred by Montana Woman’s First Usurpathon Failure
It seems that yet another group of birthers are planning a coup to overthrow the government and arrest President Obama, or as birthers call the leader of the free world, “the Great Usurper.” The tea partiers say they’re taking the President and locking him up in a Florida prison because a “citizens grand jury” sentenced him to 10 years for having a fake birth certificate. Continue reading Tweet
Some Montana state Republican legislators and a TEA Party leader don’t want you to find out which companies are still standing their ground on “stand your ground.”
Rep. Dan Salomon and Sen. Verdell Jackson have signed a letter demanding that a U.S. Senate leader stop looking into the affairs of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The trio are outraged that labor leader Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, dared to ask a few ALEC members and donors for their views on “stand your ground” legislation.
Earlier this month, Durbin sent a letter to some of the corporations who are members of ALEC to ask whether they were still a supporter of ALEC and whether they backed “stand your ground” laws.
You see, Durbin, the Senate majority whip, is holding a subcommittee hearing to study “stand your ground” laws after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the trial for Trayvon Martin’s killing. The hearing is scheduled for next month.
Durbin says ALEC’s support was critical to Florida’s 2005 decision to pass the nation’s first stand your ground law, so he wanted to know whether ALEC’s members and funders changed their minds after the Trayvon Martin case.
This has apparently outraged these Republican legislators, who presumably don’t want you to have this information–even though several corporations have already made it known that they have withdrawn their support for ALEC after the Trayvon Martin case. As Mother Jones reports, Kraft, Intuit (Quicken), McDonald’s, Wendy’s Pepsi, and Coca-Cola are some of the companies that have dumped ALEC already.
ALEC the best known boilerplate bill factory in the U.S. It proliferates hundreds of right-wing bills for non-thinking legislators who take their orders from out-of-state think tanks instead of listening to their own constituents.Tweet
On Tuesday, the Montana Senate voted, finally, to erase our “anti-sodomy law” which makes it an imprisonable crime to be gay. Although invalidated by our state supreme court in 1997, the law has remained on our books because Republicans have always refused to go along with efforts to scrap it.
But yesterday, SB 107, a measure to strike the offensive language from our statutes finally passed the senate. That said, the vote was far from unanimous. Ten Republicans voted no. They are:
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.
New Political Blog
I’ve recently added a new blog to the blogroll here. Check it out. The Bitterroot Wire
One of Only 12 Coast to Coast
An interesting email is making the rounds this morning. Apparently there are 7,382 state legislators in the country. That makes for a lot of legislative races each cycle. One Alaska state senator found that in 2010, there were only 12 Democratic state legislative candidates that beat an incumbent Republican in the entire nation. One of them was the race of State Senator Kendall Van Dyk (D-Billings), who ousted incumbent Roy Brown.
Skees, Jackson, Blasdel, Brodehl Angry
During a presentation to one of the Flathead Valley’s most extreme-right groups, TEA Party Republican legislators blamed everyone but themselves for their legislative failures including the fact that, “fewer bills were drafted this year” and that “the legislature only meets every two years.” In other words, they claimed if they had been allowed more nutjobbery, they would have had more success.
For your reading pleasure, here are some of the major pieces of legislation that have been put forward by the Tea Party Republicans who are now in control of the legislature. This is not a joke. These are real bills, and they are currently taking priority in the Montana legislature. Enjoy.
1. Legalize hunting with hand-thrown spear (Senate Bill 112)
2. Create fully-armed militia in every town (House Bill 278)
3. Allow legislators to carry weapons in the Capitol (Senate Bill 279)
4. Create an 11 person panel with authority to nullify all federal laws (House Bill 382)
5 Allow guns in schools (House Bill 558)
6. Eliminate educational requirements for persons seeking job of State Superintendent of Schools (HB 154)
7. Lift nuclear ban for purpose of building a nuclear reactor in the Flathead Valley (House Bill 326)
8. Withdraw the United States of America from the United Nations (Senate Joint Resolution 2)
9. Eliminate all state incentives for developing wind power (House Bill 244)
11. Compulsory marriage counseling for people seeking a divorce (House Bill 438)
12. Give sheriffs authority over the federal government in terror investigations (Senate Bill 114)
13. Legalize hunting with silencers (House Bill 174)
14. Lift the prohibition on carrying concealed weapons in bars, churches and banks (House Bill 384)
15. Eliminate law that requires landlords to install carbon monoxide detectors (House Bill 354)
16. Require the federal government to prove in court that the National Parks were lawfully acquired. (House Bill 506)
17. Officially designate the “Code of the West” as the “Code of Montana” (Senate Bill 216)
So far, the right-wing has not disappointed us in the 2011 legislature. As part of a new feature called Nutwatch (please submit your own suggestions), here are three amusing and/or frightening bills that have been introduced by Tea Party members in the last few weeks.
First we have Verdell Jackson, who as the Billings Gazette reported today has introduced a bill to allow members of the legislature to carry firearms around the Capitol. Based on the amount of booze consumed in the legislature, (according to the state Department of Revenue, sales of liquor in Helena during the session increased by 14 percent over the same months in 2008. The rest of the state declined by two percent for these two months) perhaps his bill is not such a good idea. After all, you can’t bring arms into a bar. Why should the legislature be any different?
Next we have have Derek Skees, who is introducing legislation that, according to Mr. Skees, will make it easier to build a modest-sized nuclear reactor in the Flathead Valley. Just what the Flathead Valley needs, of course.
Finally, Representative Greg Hinkle has introduced a bill which (quoting from the bill) “would provide that hand-thrown spear is a lawful means of hunting.” Given what neanderthals some of these guys are, this last bill is probably a fair thing for them to request.Tweet