Caught My Eye…

It’s Friday and the first day of spring – congratulations!

By the way, my NCAA bracket is busted, too.

If you are a first-time visitor, “Caught My Eye” is posted here every Friday morning! This is when I take a look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. Sometimes I throw in a touch of sarcasm to make you smile – or to irritate you just a little – or maybe both.

Today I write about the Montana Legislature and their budget, Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Judge Richard Cebull’s emails, CQ Roll Call’s 50 State Project, Chainsaws in Big Sandy, the best Montana Legislature band names, and much more!

MT Legislature – HB 2:

We’ve got ourselves a showdown brewing so get your popcorn ready!

The Montana House of Representatives passed House Bill 2 (the budget bill) 59-41 on a party-line vote. This was after the Republicans defeated almost 100 amendments offered by the Democrats. Now the bill heads to the state Senate. Democratic Governor Steve Bullock has already threatened to veto the bill. (Source)

There was a lot of whining on Twitter about the rejection of amendments which mostly failed on party-line votes. They were fun to read. Here are a few of my independent observations about the budget battle:

-I am impressed (I don’t impress easily) that the House Republican leadership held the GOP ship together so well. Now we’ll see how the senate does.
-Many of these votes will provide great information to place on campaign fliers.
-When a bill or amendment fails or passes on a party-line vote, this is normally not a good thing.
-The Republicans will have to (at some point in this session) work with the Democratic governor.
-The Democratic Governor will have to (at some point in this session) work with the Republican leaders in the House and Senate.
-Montanans need to look at this session and decide if they want to have a Legislature that has no checks/balances. If so, they need to elect a Republican governor in 2016 so the legislature can basically go unchecked. If not, they need to keep Governor Bullock in office to be the check/balance.
-If the Democrats are tired of being the minority party, they need to work harder year-round to win more seats. The Democrats are having a hard time getting their message out. Maybe because it’s hard to hear it over the whining…

Little Shell Tribe Federal Recognition:

I’m all for the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians getting federally recognized. They deserve it.

It seems like almost every year (or at least during every Congress) the Montana Congressional delegation has introduced a bill in either the House or the Senate (or both) “To extend the Federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana.”

A quick check of the history of the bills (courtesy of thomas.loc.gov) being introduced to help the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians shows this:

Little Shell Bills

After the bill is introduced the delegation sends a press release announcing they are hard at work on the Federal recognition. The Montana media lets everyone know, but the journalists seldom check to see if we’ve been down this same road before, or maybe even ask why it’s taking so long.

With U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D) being the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs with U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R) being a member of the this committee, there is no reason why this latest attempt should not be successful.

It’s long past due.

Judge Richard Cebull’s Emails:

It was good to see that U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ordered the emails from former U.S. District Court Judge Richard Cebull be preserved until January 2019. (Source)

Readers may remember that Cebull was caught sending hundreds of racist and inappropriate emails. He stepped down.

While I am glad to see the emails being preserved, I think the public has a right to see each and every one of them.

This is “Sunshine Week” in the news world, so let the sun shine into the dark corners of the judiciary.

CQ Roll Call 50 State Project:

In this project, CQ Roll Call asked reporters in all 50 states and Washington DC to identify the top five issues in their corner of the country and to give them an update on each.

Aaron Flint of the Northern Broadcasting Network, whom I teasingly call the Sean Hannity of Montana radio, put together the five issues facing Montanans. Congrats to Flint for his work on this. Flint says the Montana issues are:

1. PRIVACY: More Privacy Laws Ahead
2. INFRASTRUCTURE: Fight Over Funding Will Continue
3. EDUCATION: Political Pressure Could Increase Support for School Choice
4. EDUCATION: Funding for Pre-K Programs is Unlikely
5. HEALTHCARE: Medicaid Expansion Still an Uphill Climb

You can download a copy of the report HERE. Flint’s report is on page 44.

On page seven, they put together “The Issues Overall” with education being by far the most pressing issue. Interestingly, two issues that cause a lot of arguments on the national stage, Guns and Same Sex Marriage, were at the bottom of “The Issues Overall.”

States handle the hot-button issues a lot better than the Feds. It seems on the national stage it is more about posturing and politics than at the state level.

Chainsaws in Big Sandy:

It was a headline that would catch anyone’s attention, “Chain saw-wielding brawlers clash in Big Sandy.”

If that wasn’t enough, the opening paragraph made me want to read more:

A wild street brawl at the center of Big Sandy’s small commercial district ended Monday with only minor injuries, but left many in the quiet farming town shocked by the sudden melee — which included a chain saw-wielding would-be assailant, a knife fight and ended with a stolen car racing out of town.

The story was posted on the national Associated Press wire, as well as in New York Post.

At first I thought they might be filming a version of “Ax Men” for the History Channel. That was not it. I then remembered back when my older sister took me to the drive-in to see the 1974 movie, “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” which I never fully recovered from viewing. It also made me want to stay far from Texas.

For your viewing pleasure, here are the “Top 10 Chainsaw Use Horror Movies.” Enjoy yourself.

I hope someone checks the signs at each end of town which proudly proclaims Big Sandy as the, “Home of U.S. Senator Jon Tester” to ensure they did not fall victim to a chainsaw attack…

Best #MTleg Band Name Tweets:

The Montana Cowgirl blog has compiled a list of the best Montana Legislature band names (#MTLegBands) from Twitter. Some of them are hilarious. Check out the list HERE.

One More Thing:

It’s clearly a budget. It’s got a lot of numbers in it. – George W. Bush

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