Guest Opinion: Legislative Report
March 17, 2021 | View PDF
Greetings from Helena!
We started the 2nd half of the Legislative session on Monday, March 8. After doing a marathon day with almost 100 floor bills on March 1 it was nice to be back on a regular schedule.
There is a lot of concern in the legislature and from our constituents about how judges legislate from the bench. However, the thinking of judges and lawyers and liberals is that judges are nonpartisan and unbiased. So, this is the root of some of the debate that has been around the legislature and evident in Judiciary committee this week with HB 325. This bill allows us to elect our Supreme Court Justices by district. The thought behind this bill is that we would have values represented from every part of the state. For those who don’t think there is biases in judges just look at the heartburn liberals had when President Trump appointed judges to the United States Supreme Court.
Also, in Judiciary we heard several bills concerning landowners and renters. One of the bills, HB541, would take away the authority of the governor that allows renters to not pay their rent during a state of emergency.
One bill we heard in Health and Human Services committee, SB312, would allow DPHHS to try to regulate a legitimate church that had a home for troubled children. In my opinion, whenever the government regulates anything, they generally wreck it. We tabled the bill.
There is always an underlying idea to allow for free roaming buffalo. SB255, which we heard recently in Fish and Game committee, would set up a fundraiser to raise money to fund a bison management plan. I think the bill is in trouble.
Cutting taxes is always high on my agenda. There is a big appetite in the Republican Caucus and with Governor Gianforte to cut taxes. We always hear from the other side of the aisle how cutting taxes will hurt Montana. However, remember it is the President and their party that discontinued the Keystone XL Pipeline that would give Montana approximately $63 million in taxes every year. We should all remember that Montana’s Senior United States Senator, Jon Tester, voted to discontinue Keystone. It seems the Democrats don’t want to expand the tax base they just want those of us who are producing to pay more.
If you are in Helena be sure to stop and see us. If you want to look up the text of a bill you can find it at https.leg.mt.gov.