I stole most of the following from the "Montana Cowgirl Blog", where the writer is far more savvy about politics than I. Probably the biggest fight going on is the attempt to repeal the medical marijuana law that was passed by voter initiative a few years ago. On one side, you've got those who are "saving the youth of Montana" by using unsubstantiated claims, emotions, and outright fiction. On the other, you've got those using scientific data supporting its use. On the third side, you've got people who don't care one way or the other, but wonder why the legislature gets to overturn a voter's initiative (as opposed to a law passed by the legislature). No one disagrees that there are problems that need to be addressed and fixed, but the Republican's (and by Republican, I mean those wacky tea partiers) way of dealing with them is to scrap the law completely, rather than making the necessary repairs. Sort of like burning down the house because the faucet leaks.
Anyway...beyond the "repeal/reform" fight, our lawmakers have plenty of other bills on their plates. A small sampling (with my personal commentary in yellow):
- Legalize hunting with hand-thrown spear (Senate Bill 112) This will probably slow down the bison hunting near Yellowstone Park.
- Create fully-armed militia in every town (House Bill 278) Apparently the local high school football teams aren't defending their town's honor as well as some would like.
- Allow legislators to carry weapons in the Capitol (Senate Bill 279) But no smokin', dammit!
- Create an 11 person panel with authority to nullify all federal laws (House Bill 382) Really??
- Allow guns in schools (House Bill 558) Who would dare give a kid detention anymore?
- Eliminate educational requirements for persons seeking job of State Superintendent of Schools (House Bill 154) No need for the head of schools to be educated, is there?
- Lift nuclear ban for purpose of building a nuclear reactor in the Flathead Valley (House Bill 326) Ooh! That's where all the Californians move to when they come here! I like it! Ignore the fact that it's about the prettiest part of the state, and just a stone's throw away from Glacier National Park...
- Withdraw the United States of America from the United Nations (Senate Joint Resolution 2) But keep charging them rent for using the buildings.
- Eliminate all state incentives for developing wind power (House Bill 244) If they could only harness the hot air from chambers...
- Omit Barack Obama’s name from the 2012 ballot because his father was born outside of America (House Bill 205)(this guy was on CNN a week or so ago) This guy embarrassed the entire state on CNN...
- Compulsory marriage counseling for people seeking a divorce (House Bill 438) Good thing the government is looking out for us here.
- Give sheriffs authority over the federal government in terror investigations (Senate Bill 114) Can you imagine Andy and Barney taking care of terrorists?
- Legalize hunting with silencers (House Bill 174) Shhh...Be vewy quiet...I'm hunting wabbits!
- Lift the prohibition on carrying concealed weapons in bars, churches and banks (House Bill 384) In some Montana towns, that's all in the same building!
- Eliminate law that requires landlords to install carbon monoxide detectors (House Bill 354) The landlords will have to find another reason to jack up rental prices by another $100.
- Require the federal government to prove in court that the National Parks were lawfully acquired (House Bill 506) Not sure why this is necessary, exactly. Was there some sort of shenanigans going on when they were formed?
- Officially designate the “Code of the West” as the “Code of Montana” (Senate Bill 216) I have nothing. Click the link, find the HTML version and read. The "Code of Montana" would apply to all--except the MT GOP (at least it hasn't yet...).
- Declare that global warming is good (House Bill 549) After this winter, I'm not sure I disagree.
- Require state to back transactions of state business with gold & silver coin (House Bill 513) We're gonna need an awfully big piggy bank.
- Constitutional amendment to define person (House Bill 490) This is actually a bill to prohibit stem cell research.
Yes, it's fun being a Montanan!