Mike Milburn, Montana’s Republican Speaker of the House is reportedly angry with the Senate Judiciary Committee for killing his precious little bill, HB161 and has been clearly seeking retribution in a rather juvenile manner.
Friday morning, as many are aware, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Jeff Essmann’s anti-free market bill to destroy the medical cannabis industry and significantly increase the healthcare costs and risks of thousands of Montanans, in part by forcing patients to obtain expensive, frequent and unnecessary MRI and CT tests. Generally, hearings on medical marijuana are held in rooms on the first floor of the Capitol because it is significantly easier patients with debilitating medical conditions to access the room and many handicapped people typically testify at the hearings on this issue and accessing the third floor of the Capitol is rather difficult for many of them. These hearings have historically attracted hundreds of patients who want their voice heard and the first floor is better suited for an overflow crowd.
Some may have noticed that Friday’s hearing was on the 3rd floor, in the old Supreme Court Chambers though. Why? Milburn was asked if he would switch his house committee out of a first floor room to accommodate the hearing on Essmann’s draconian SB423. Milburn responded that he’d absolutely not be accommodating any of the Senate Judiciary hearings because they killed his bill that would repeal Montana’s citizen’s initiative allowing the medical use of cannabis. One wonders how this issue could be so important to Milburn that he is willing to partake in such childish behavior, perhaps he has some sort of undisclosed financial interest.
Sadly, this sort of petty behavior has become rather common at the legislature- Republicans from the House and Senate regularly poke each other on random issues, according to our source. Apparently, the House is angry that the Senate is killing some of the more extreme (and ridiculous) bills so the House seeks revenge by playing petty games and punishing patients in the process. The house has also killed some legislation Senate legislation that Republicans would, and should, typically support. Where are those compassionate conservatives we’ve heard about? Surely not in Montana.
Why are our elected officials playing playground games on our dime? This is abhorrent behavior and the Republican legislative leadership should be absolutely ashamed. Unfortunately it appears that our myopic GOP legislators feel they are beyond reproach as they blindly execute their “morally-superior” agenda, hopefully also executing their political futures in the process.
Montana deserves better leadership and legislation based in facts, not dramatizations or ignorant, maniacal talking points. Several US government health and cancer agencies have recently admitted marijuana is an effective medication for cancer and other debilitating diseases- whether you agree or not, these are real Montanans with legitimate medical conditions- not some faceless crowd of stoned hippies. The Montana voters decided, when legislators weren’t willing, to approve the medical use of cannabis, abolishing or severely restricting the industry should be a decision only voters make. Why should we allow the same people who were too lazy to address the issue in the past to now create legislation to regulate this industry after they’ve repeatedly refused education and clearly remain ignorant?