Guest Opinion: Legislative Report
March 29, 2023 | View PDF
Greetings from Helena!
It seems like things are picking up again as deadlines are getting closer. We just have four weeks to finish our work for the year. We haven’t even started on HB2 and other spending bills. Every committee has been full of bills which made long days every day this week.
There is a lot of conversation in the Ranger Review about HB234 by Representative Phalen. The conversation mentions two meetings, one in the Glendive Public Library, which Representative Phalen and I attended, and one in the DCHS library. So, I thought I would do a review of HB234, which I am in favor of. All HB234 does is cross out three words that are already Montana Code Annotated. What this does is put public schools and colleges on par with any business in town. Businesses in town cannot sell or display obscene materials to minors. The thought in the legislature and Montana is that kids are not mature enough to do certain things, such as going to an R or X rated movie, drink, smoke, vote, join the military, donate blood, work full time, play the lottery, establish a bank account or apply for a loan, get piercings or tattoos, get married, buy spray paint, fireworks or adult videos, and the list goes on and on. When we have pro-gun legislation the anti-gun lobby says a person is not mature enough to buy a gun until they are 25. Representative Phalen and I don’t think kids are mature enough to see books like “Gender Queer” and the like. Google it and see what you think. From the correspondence we get, there is a very small percentage of people in SD18 who are against HB234. And, by the way, no Ranger Review reporter talked to me about this bill, nor did I see any of them at the meeting. I think, for the most part, the children in SD18, as far as we can tell don’t have access to these materials. However, there is a good portion of Montana children who do. The other takeaway from the article in the Ranger Review is that libraries are being used very little. We should all remember that when there is funding to be voted on.
The Senate bills with appropriations tied to them have to be transmitted to the House by April 3. So, we will hear quite a few Senate bills this week in committee. I have a bill dealing with animal health drugs that is brought on by federal regulations that needs to be transmitted this week (LC2269). In Judiciary committee we heard bills concerning judges, guns, and child protective services. In Public Health and Human Services committee, we heard the ICWA Act, several bills about hospitals, bills that would allow midwives and physician assistants more independence. We have been busy in Fish and Game committee with a lot of bills, many about non-resident hunters.
If you are ever in Helena, be sure to look us up. If you want to look up the text of a bill you can find it at https.leg.mt.gov.