Just some quick thoughts on legislative action...
First off, for the legislature, 4&20 blackbirds is the place you want to be. Jhwygirl's been doing a swell job covering the doings in Helena -- yesterday she posted the hearings scheduled for this week.
Kendall Van Dyk's stream access bill made it out of committee, while its idiot stepsister version of the bill, sponsored by Ken Patterson, looks to have died. Jhwygirl's optimistic about HB190 -- and I think she should be...for the House vote. We'll see what happens to it in the Senate, where it would need Republican support.
Krayton Kerns' new gun bill -- HB228 -- is an odd duck to say the least. It appeared among some other bills that clarified Montana's castle doctrine, sponsored by Larry Jent and Kendall Van Dyk, which appear to have the support of...well...everybody.
Not so much Kerns' bill. In its original incarnation, it included a provision that said employees "have a right to carry a gun to their workplace." If the employer bans firearms, the employer "must provide similar protection to the employee" that a gun-packin' employee would have. Or something. Naturally the Montana CoC objected -- the idea of the Krayton Kerns of the world bringing heat to their offices no doubt put a few white hairs on employers, not to mention the law is a clear effort to put the power of the government over private property holders and business owners. (Why is it that some conservatives are so eager to use the power of government to force people to adhere to their ow, personal beliefs?)
You know the rest of the story. When the CoC says, "jump," a Republican's response is, "how high?" News came that the bring-your-gun-to-work provision would be removed at hearing that same day. Still, the bill would dictate to landlords and hotel owners that they don't have a right to make rules for tenant on their property. And it includes the right for citizens to use "reasonable force" to make a citizen's arrest -- which, I assume, means they can use a gun. Which sounds sketchy to me. On the other hand, if it passes, Dick Cheney better not show his face around Montana, eh?
Hearing is tomorrow on Kerns' bill. I'm curious to see who testifies.
John Adams has a blog! It's awesome. A couple of days ago, he ably summed up the dueling bills circulating in Helena surrounding medicinal marijuana, the worst of which is Verdell Jackson's SB212, which essentially singles out registered marijuana users for mandatory extra scrutiny if they're involved in a traffic accident or traffic stop. Which, if you think about it for like 30 seconds, seems like a terrible idea. Make it mandatory to give a guy a blood test if he's caught going 40 in a 35mph zone? Police officers are already empowered to take extra action if they think a driver is impaired: why do we need this bill, other than to terrorize registered marijuana users? Answer: we don't.
Oh, and incidentally, I agree with Adams here:
Can somebody explain the argument against medical marijuana? It seems illogical to condone the use of prescription pharmaceuticals--many of which are psychoactive and can cause serious and often life-threatening side effects--and at the same time be opposed to medical marijuana.
And finally, Dave Wanzenreid introduced SB 236, which would abolish the death penalty in Montana. In 2007, a death penalty ban passed the Senate with bipartisan support, but was quashed in the House. This year, the proposed ban hasn't made much of a splash in the media, despite being supported by the Montana Association of Churches.
The death penalty played an interesting role in the Democratic primary for state attorney general, but it seemed to have fallen off the map since then...