The greatest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think. ― David Icke
Hey – it’s March! Welcome to the big column to end the week “Caught My Eye” (CME)!
If you are a first-time visitor, welcome! CME is the once a week column that 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. There may be some sarcasm and pointed independent commentary so be warned!
Here are the topics that “Caught My Eye” this week:
The Montana State Senate’s Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs committee finally held a hearing on House Bill 579 (HB 579) yesterday.
In case you don’t have all the bills in the Montana Legislature memorized by now, House Bill 579 is (take a breath):
An Act establishing a military strategic and economic impact task force concerning retention and development of military installations and force structures to provide economic development opportunities in Montana; allocating the task force to the department of commerce for administrative purposes; providing for task force membership, expense reimbursement, and duties; providing appropriations; and providing an effective date.
The Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs committee should pass the bill out of their committee quickly, and HB 579 should be brought to the floor of the Montana State Senate and receive the Senate’s full support. It passed out of the Montana House with an impressive 74-25 vote. I’ll have more on that vote later in this commentary.
Montana is pretty unique in regards to their state legislature. Montanans send 150 people to Helena every two years for 90 days to take part in the legislature. They come from all corners of the state and from varied backgrounds. For example, we see farmers, ranchers, small business owners, attorneys, and educators representing their constituents. It’s a citizen legislature hip hip hooray!
But for some reason when these people of good intentions arrive in Helena for the legislative session and start drinking the partisan water, many start acting like clowns.
My apologies to people who actually work as clowns.
Friday (April 5) turned into a circus when the Democrats (who are in the minority) tried to use a parliamentary tactic to prevent action on two Republican bills. The Republicans were trying to pass the bills before a deadline. One Democratic state senator, Shannon Augare, was missing.
My moderate heart was beating proudly yesterday while I was following the actions in the Montana Senate about Medicaid expansion.
Why? Five Republicans told the far-righties in the Montana Senate to take a long walk off a short pier.
It’s not that I am fully in favor of Medicaid expansion or fully against expansion – it was exciting to see that some of the GOP senators in this Montana Legislature are individual thinkers – that Reagan Republicans still have a heartbeat. I thought the Montana Reagan Republicans were probably dead and buried along a dirt road in a golden triangle wheat field (and they went the way of Joe Pesci in “Casino”).
But for at least one day and one vote there’s a heartbeat for moderates. There’s hope that the wackos on the far right are losing ground. Maybe a little less tea will be consumed in the coming months and they will act a little less cocky. Hope is a good thing.
So who are these brave men who have boldly gone where few have gone before? They are State Senators Llew Jones, Ed Buttrey, Jim Peterson, Bruce Tutvedt, and Taylor Brown.