Military/Veterans Potpourri

Happy Tuesday! As a veteran I always enjoy writing about military and veterans issues! Today I write about the Montana Legislature and HB 49, Congressman Daines hires military/veterans staffers, the Montana GOP, Chuck Hagel, and much more!

House Bill (HB) 49:

Sometimes the Montana Legislature does something good, and when they do I like to write about it (I like to write about the stupid things, too).  A bill (HB 49) which is “An Act Exempting Military Pension or Retirement Income and Survivor Benefits from State Income Taxation” is making its way through the legislative process. The bill was introduced by Representative Pat Ingraham (R).

You can read the bill HERE.

What troubles me is the number of votes against the bill. In the House Taxation Committee it passed 12-8. On second reading it passed 57-43. If my tabulation is correct, 36 Democrats and seven Republicans voted against the bill (and against military retirees and military survivors).

These 43 legislators who voted against the bill get a “C’Mon Man” from The Western Word. They are welcome to e-mail with their reasoning for not supporting military retirees and survivors.

The Associated Press picked up the story about HB 49. You can read it HERE. They mentioned that supporters are saying the bill is “designed to encourage retired military veterans to relocate and invest in Montana.” Heck yes! By the way, the Commissary and Base Exchange at Malmstrom AFB helps to draw retirees to the state, too!

In these days with the lifetime medical benefits not being exactly as free for retirees as they should be, it would be nice to see the State of Montana reach out and provide some tax relief to the Patriots who served our country – and let them put more money in their pockets. The Montana Legislature needs to get this done – and I’ll be watching.

Daines Hires Military/Veterans Staffers:

I happened to catch a press release from U.S. Representative Steve Daines who announced that he had hired “two Montana veterans will join his Great Falls and Helena offices to help serve Montana’s veterans and military communities.” The new hires are Cari Kent who will serve as Central Montana Regional Director and lead Daines’ Great Falls office, and Denny Lenoir who will serve as Director of Veterans Affairs and will be based in Daines’ Helena office.

That is good news for veterans across Montana and for the military community around Great Falls – plus they have military experience. Congrats to Cari Kent and Denny Lenoir.

Another interesting thing was the part “join his Great Falls and Helena offices” as his website (as of this post) does not list an office in Great Falls. Maybe Daines press person can send me an e-mail with the address – or send a press release so it won’t be such a secret…

Montana GOP Chairman:

You are probably asking why I am writing about “Montana GOP Chairman” in a column about Military Potpourri. It’s because Lee Newspapers is reporting “Former congressional candidate Gary Carlson of Victor said Monday that he will run for chairman of the Montana Republican Party at its convention in June.” They also reported, “Carlson is a retired as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps.”

The current chair, Will Deschamps, also served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Thanks to both of them for their service.

It’s too bad that General George S. Patton isn’t around to help with the Republicans across Montana – it looks like the job of being Montana GOP chair is a lot like being in charge of herding cats…

Chuck Hagel:

It looks like President Obama’s pick for Secretary of Defense (SecDef) Chuck Hagel will finally get an up or down vote (maybe today). His nomination is on the senate calendar for today, and I’ve heard that several Republicans will vote for cloture (end debate) so it will get the 60 votes needed to proceed to that up or down vote. Several of the Republicans who vote for cloture will vote against Hagel in the up or down vote (they feel the President’s nominee should get an up or down vote, which I also agree with).

In the end, Hagel should get over 50 votes and be confirmed. Senate Republicans, especially Senators Cruz, McCain, and Graham all acted like jerks during this process.

By the way Republicans, Ted Cruz is not the answer…

My views on the Senate Republicans blocking the Hagel nomination can be found HERE and HERE.

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