The people’s House at work
In Helena, the Legislature is just starting to gain some steam. Bills are beginning to move through the House. Of note last week was the K-12 school funding bill which had a hearing in the House education committee. It is a Republican goal this session to get this bill to the governor’s desk early. Local school districts are not able to finalize their budgets until the Legislature does its work. In previous Legislatures this bill has been used as a political football later in the session. The effect of this was that local school districts would be handcuffed finalizing their budgets until as late as May. The Republican leadership wanted to help out our local school districts and get this base budget out early in the process. Schools are not partisan. So putting politics aside, we hope to pass this bill out of the House next week.
In the mornings I sit on the House judiciary committee. During this past week we have listened to heart-wrenching testimony of victims of childhood sex abuse. The statue of limitations in both criminal and civil law have limited some victims from their cases being heard. Additionally, laws were proposed against “assisted masturbation” in massage parlors, a strange reality in downtown Billings and openly advertised on the internet. The main concern with these massage parlors is that they may be a conduit for human sex trafficking, a crime that we as a society must confront and eliminate.
If you have ever wondered what it is like at the state capitol during a legislative session, you should come and see. On Feb. 1, Republicans are hosting “Capitol Day.” There will be lots of activities for you to watch or participate in. On Feb. 1 there are hearings scheduled in both House and Senate committees from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m., come and testify or just observe. We are expecting some interesting bills that day on some diverse topics such as wolves, sanctuary cities, taxes, timber harvest and prescription drugs. You can find more information about the specific bills to be heard at www.leg.mt.gov.
Also, Senator Steve Daines will be here to address the legislature at 1 p.m. You can watch from the gallery above the House floor. At 1:30 p.m. both chambers will have a floor session. There will also be free lunch at noon.
Come to the “people’s House” on Feb. 1 and experience what a day at the legislature is like.
— Rep. David Dunn, R-Kalispell
Illegal immigration and the Dems
We know the Democrats are refusing to negotiate regarding the border wall because their party is now being built on the backs of politically naive people who illegally enter the U.S., and increasingly are the only groups supporting them other than felons and ideologues. Everyone else is rejecting their socialist/communist proposals as they have failed everywhere else in the world.
In 2013 every Democrat voted $46 billion for border security including fencing for 700 miles. Now you want a paltry $5 billion for 200 miles of fencing and they are refusing to negotiate. If they were serious they would submit legislation tearing down the walls and fencing they previously voted to fund. Incidentally, this $5 billion is only one tenth of 1 percent of the federal budget.
Worldwide billions of people are scheming how to get to Central American and thus into the U.S. They want what we achieved through capitalism and hard work and they are coming to take it away from us. They want free food, free health care, free housing, free education, and most importantly they want to be able to vote for Dems to continue the free gravy train in the form of a free annual wage without work requirements and to be able to bring all their relatives here to join them in the lap of luxury. They don’t realize they are about to kill off the greatest most successful political experiment in the history of mankind.
However, the Dems realize that swamping our country with illegal immigration will turn our country into a one-party system which will give them total domination of the U.S. They will then destroy our Constitution, seize our weapons, and in the coming civil war they will have numerical superiority with their imported foot soldiers from all over the world.
— Norm Johnson, Polson
Policy that appeals to both sides
So much of today’s politics and policies seem poorly thought out, shallow, or designed to be divisive. A letter to the editor on Jan. 14 describing an alternative to the politics-as-usual rhetoric around energy policy seemed to be something different, so I looked into it. Here’s some of what I found:
-The “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act” would put a $15-per-metric-ton fee on carbon, rising by $10 per year, with net revenue given back to households as a rebate.
-This really is a bipartisan solution. In the Senate it’s sponsored by Jeff Flake (R) and Chris Coons (D). In the House it has three Republican sponsors as well as several Democrats.
-It’s not a tax. The fee is collected from producers (or importers) of energy, which keeps the bureaucracy minimal. The proceeds are split and given back to every American monthly. A critical point is that most American households will get more money back than their amount of increased energy costs. This is especially true in the Flathead Valley where 97 percent of our electricity has a carbon zero footprint.
-This is a market-based solution rather than one based on regulation, such as a cap-and-trade scheme.
The way politics swings back and forth in Washington, it’s inevitable that some kind of carbon energy policy will eventually be put in place. Isn’t it better to have a policy that appeals to both sides rather than to wait for a hard swing one way or the other to force on us something one-sided? I was skeptical until I looked at the FAQ at CitizensClimateLobby.org.
— Walter Rowntree, Kalispell