I heard the government is putting chips inside of people. I hope I get Doritos. – Unknown
Today’s independent commentary deals with these people/issues:
- Montana Legislature
- Gianforte & Judges
- CPAC & Trump
There was some good news from the Montana Legislature on Friday.
MTN News reported that the House Business and Labor Committee held a hearing Friday morning on House Bill 457, sponsored by Rep. Bill Mercer, a Republican from Billings. The bill would delay the implementation of the state’s recreational marijuana system. Several hours later, committee members voted 11-9 to table the proposal.
Additionally, MTN News reported that the committee voted 18-2 to table House Bill 568, sponsored by Republican Rep. Lola Sheldon-Galloway of Great Falls. That bill would have limited the number of recreational marijuana dispensaries in each county to one for every 10,000 residents.
Although these are victories for folks like me who support the sale of recreational marijuana, I doubt these are the last roadblocks we’ll see from those on the far right who seem to be hell-bent on going against the will of the voters who approved recreational marijuana. It’s like reefer madness!
On Friday while following the debate about HB 457 and HB 568, I tweeted the following quote that I heard a few years ago from somebody:
Hey right-wingers in #mtleg –
“The difference in booze and weed? Five drunk guys will start a fight…five stoned guys will start a band.” #mtpol
I’d much rather have a few more marijuana dispensaries in my town and fewer casinos and bars.
GIANFORTE & JUDGES:
About a month ago I wrote about Lee Newspapers reporting about a bill (SB 140) in the Montana Legislature that would give the Governor immediate power to directly appoint state district court judges and state Supreme Court judges. The bill would eliminate the Judicial Nominating Commission and give the governor direct appointment power. Judges appointed by the governor still need to run in the next election, all of which are nonpartisan races.
Lee Newspapers reported on Friday that the bill was headed for passage.
One of the more amusing lines in the story was about the argument from Lt. Governor Kristen Juras:
In advocating for the bill, Juras argued the existing appointment process is partisan, and said Gianforte has pledged to select judges without partisanship.
That’s absurd. Gianforte will appoint the judges who he thinks believe the same things he does. A Democrat would do the same thing. It’s called politics for a reason.
Last month I wrote that I’ve never been a fan of Montana Supreme Court justices and State District court judges being politicians. I think it lowers the respect people have for them. It has that effect on me. It’s like they prostitute themselves every few years raising money and campaigning and then they go back to acting all professional and a notch above us commoners.
I also said that maybe Gianforte was on to something – they just need to make it where the judges are appointed for a certain length (four years/eight years) and then they go on their merry way and we get a fresh face.
CPAC & TRUMP:
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) wrapped up Sunday with Donald Trump giving the keynote address.
Before Sunday, we saw a golden Trump statue on display that garnered a lot of attention like it was an idol or something. It was reportedly made in Mexico. Exodus 20 was trending on Twitter – probably people remembered the part about, “You must not worship or serve any idol, because I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.”
It seemed that the only folks getting speaking roles at the event were Trump supporters. It also seems that Republicans better support Trump or he will call you out by name and maybe campaign against you.
Trump spoke for around 90 minutes. After a few minutes, I tweeted:
I don’t think Trump has gotten over losing yet.
Trump went after President Joe Biden for about everything and teased about running for President in 2024, saying, “I may even decide to beat them for a third time.”
Reuters reported, “Trump targets disloyal Republicans, repeats election lies and hints at 2024 run.”
The Associated Press reported, “Trump calls for GOP unity, repeats lies about election loss.”
You can read the transcript of Trump’s speech HERE.
A Washington Times/CPAC poll released Sunday showed that 68% want Trump to run again.