Here are some of the topics that caught my attention for today’s column:
- Montana Senate Bill 154
- Gianforte & Vaccines
- Military Voting
- Preventing Veteran Suicide
MONTANA SENATE BILL 154:
Leading off my commentary today at The Western Word is the abortion issue in Montana…
I am surprised it took this long for the Republicans in the Montana State Legislature to introduce an anti-abortion bill, but it happened yesterday (Tuesday).
The Daily Montanan reports that Senate Bill 154, sponsored by Sen. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell, seeks to add language to statute that declares that “the right of individual privacy … does not create, and may not be construed as creating or recognizing, a right to abortion or to governmental funding of abortion.”
If someone introduced a bill about the Second Amendment that said something like, “does not create, and may not be construed as creating or recognizing, a right to own a gun,” then those on the right would go off the deep end.
The Daily Montanan also reported that the Montana Supreme Court, in the 1999 Armstrong vs. State decision, found that the right to privacy means a woman can choose to have an abortion “unless the state can demonstrate a compelling interest for infringing the right,” according to a legal note added to the bill. It said the legislation “raises potential conformity issues” with the Montana Constitution.
Of course, it does. Legislators like Regier don’t seem to understand that there are boundaries on what they can do. This bill is already a waste of time and if it is passed and signed into law, will cost the state millions in court fees. Ultimately, I think it will be found unconstitutional.
GIANFORTE & VACCINES:
Earlier this week, I happened to read a tweet from Governor Greg Gianforte (R-MT) about the military COVID vaccine mandate being rescinded:
“President Biden’s military vaccine mandate created an unnecessary national security risk which severely impacted our defense capabilities abroad and our state readiness here at home.
I’m encouraged to see it ended once and for all, even if it’s woefully overdue.”
When I heard that the House and the Senate politicized the issue to gain votes to pass a bill I said it was a slippery slope.
The actual people who wear the uniform and lead our nation’s military thought that mandatory COVID vaccines were needed. They know more than members of the Senate/House and Gianforte.
Everyone should realize that vaccines save lives. It seems those who do not believe that are the MAGA folks, like Gianforte.
Many years ago, when I was on active duty in the military stationed overseas, I requested an absentee ballot through my squadron voting officer. The request was made several weeks, maybe a month, before the actual election day.
I received my ballot the day after the election.
Now it’s supposed to be easier for military members and their families to vote and have their vote count.
The Associated Press (AP) is reporting that in Ohio, the Republican legislature wants to cut the number of days that mail-in ballots can be accepted “from 10 days after Election Day to four.” The AP reported that critics say that could lead more ballots from Ohio’s military voters to miss the deadline and get tossed.
No kidding. That’s a terrible way to treat our military personnel and their families.
It appears this all stems from former President Donald Trump not understanding how the voting process goes – that votes trickle in from absentee and military voters days after election day.
I can see the MAGA crowd in the Montana legislature introducing a bill like this.
Read the complete AP story HERE.
PREVENTING VETERAN SUICIDE:
Starting Jan. 17, Veterans in acute suicidal crisis will be able to go to any VA or non-VA health care facility for emergency health care at no cost – including inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days. Veterans do not need to be enrolled in the VA system to use this benefit.
For more information, click HERE.