To All Concerned Citizens,Protect your family, act now!
In 2004 Montana Citizens voted for the Medical Marijuana Act – Initiative 148, out of concern and compassion for those in chronic pain. The ballot stated, “For allowing the limited use of marijuana, under medicalsupervision, by patients with debilitating medical conditions to alleviate the symptoms of their conditions”.
No one could have foreseen the crisis that would ensue.
Here is our current situation:· 89 licenses have been issued as of Monday the 3rd of May. They are receiving 3-5 new applicants a day.· There are no zoning regulations as to where these marijuanabusinesses can be located. That means they can be put next to schools, places of worship, parks and neighborhoods. For some of you your neighbors are growing pot in their house.· In 2008 there were 1000 registered patients, today there are over 12,000 and growing.· There are currently 2,797 licensed caregivers. A “caregiver” is someone 18 yrs or older and has agreed to under take the responsibility for managing the well being of a person with respect to the medical use of marijuana. Caregivers are not required to have training or schooling of any kind.· Cards are issued to minors with parental permission.· Our kids are getting mixed signals. We don’t want them believingmarijuana is normal. In the eyes of the Federal Government, marijuanais still a schedule 1 illegal drug. We have the right and obligation to keep it away from our children.· Currently,it is legal for patients to vaporize,smoke marijuana,at the facility. Since these facilities can be any where,this raises concerns about them driving afterwards and the risk to the surrounding areas i.e… schools, parks, etc.· Billings is now attracting medical marijuana users from other states. They are moving here because of our relaxed laws. In addition there is nothing in place to keep felons from relocating to our state and establishing businesses. Do we really want this to be our calling card?
Montanans thought we were being compassionate, instead we voted in a poorly regulated big growth industry. The regulations around this industry are really loose, and are not well enforced. We have opened the flood gate and we need to work together to close it.
We need an immediate moratorium put on this industry for at least a year and an emergency zoning ordinance put in place. A moratorium would keep the city from issuing any new licenses and an emergency zoning ordinance would allow a 1000 ft buffer around our schools, places of worship, parks and neighborhoods.
What can you do? You can make a difference, we need you. Our kids need you.
· Email or call your council man immediately. Let him, or her, know where you stand. Ask them to vote for a moratorium and emergencyzoning that is as strict as possible.· Attend the City Council meeting on Monday the 10th and let your voice be heard. If we pack that meeting it will send a loud and clear message to the council where we stand. The meeting starts at 6:30, but please come early, seating will be limited.· Forward this email to everyone you know. Give them a chance to state their opinion.
You can find your council man’s email at the following link:If you don’t know what ward you are in or who your council member is check this site:If you would like to get more involved please, don’t hesitate to email me.
If you are unable to attend the meeting to voice your concerns for this issue please consider sending an email to the Mayor and all members of city council.Ed Ulledalen email@example.com
Jani McCall firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Ronquillo email@example.com
Vince Ruegamer firstname.lastname@example.org
Peggie Denney Gaghen GaghenP@ci.billings.mt.us
Angela Cimino CimminoA@ci.billings.mt.us
Mayor Tom Hanel HanelT@ci.billings.mt.us
Thank you everyone for your support and continued stance for FREEDOM and LIBERTY.
Founder -Montana Shrugged, Tea Party PatriotsPLEASE NOTE THAT OUR RALLY SCHEDULED FOR NEXT WEDNESDAY, MAY 12TH HAS BEEN CANCELLED. WE WILL GATHER AT 24TH AND KING SATURDAY MAY 15TH TO RALLY WITH THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO RALLY WITH US DURING THE WEEK.
While you are probably well aware of my stance on this issue, I must counter your arguments. I will admit that there IS indeed some abuse of the medical marijuana law- primarily this is because the law needs to be amended. The law itself is far too vague- allowing people to interpret components of it as they please. I agree with that and as a legitimate caregiver, I would prefer that the laws be more clear in order to protect us all. Unless dispensaries ONLY sell their products to their own patients, they are operating illegally- which hurts those who are legitimate- and most of us are. I must take issue with some of the other points though- I understand your reasoning but as someone who advocates for smaller government, it seems directly opposed to such.
· 89 licenses have been issued as of Monday the 3rd of May. They are receiving 3-5 new applicants a day.· There are no zoning regulations as to where these marijuana businesses can be located. That means they can be put next to schools, places of worship, parks and neighborhoods. For some of you your neighbors are growing pot in their house. Why is that our business what our neighbors are growing in their homes? What about liberty and personal freedom? 62% of our state voted to approve this measure. This should be considered MEDICINE. The people I’ve encountered in this business are experts in their fields- they know their products- they can tell you exactly which strains will help every type of pain. Do we trust the FDA and big Pharma to do a better job? You realize they are very involved in NWO. Since when do we prefer big government? The more regulations we have, the more government jobs, waste and expense. I would not be entirely opposed to some sort of tax- California receives $100 million/yr on only the SALES tax of medical marijuana.· In 2008 there were 1000 registered patients, today there are over 12,000 and growing. And rightfully so- although there are exceptions, these people have legitimate medical reasons for this.· There are currently 2,797 licensed caregivers. A “caregiver” is someone 18 yrs or older and has agreed to under take the responsibility for managing the well being of a person with respect to the medical use of marijuana. Caregivers are not required to have training or schooling of any kind. The caregivers may not be required to have training, but seriously, if they want to make any money, they have to learn much about marijuana or they will not be caregivers for long- the fact that it is available legally has reduced the street price by about half. The illegal drug dealers are having a hard time selling their marijuana at the prices they need…. they are actually moving out of Montana- I know this for a fact.· Cards are issued to minors with parental permission. Kids are only allowed cards if a physician approves them for it. Kids get prescriptions for pharmaceutical meth (adderall) like it is candy. I have not heard of one child with a card.· Our kids are getting mixed signals. We don’t want them believing marijuana is normal. In the eyes of the Federal Government, marijuana is still a schedule 1 illegal drug. We have the right and obligation to keep it away from our children. The reason this is happening now is that Obama said he will defect to the states regarding medical marijuana laws. Do you really think it should be classified as a schedule I when cocaine is a II? While it is not possible with existing data to determine conclusively that state medical marijuana laws caused the documented declines in adolescent marijuana use, the overwhelming downward trend strongly suggests that the effect of state medical marijuana laws on teen marijuana use has been either neutral or positive.· Currently,it is legal for patients to vaporize,smoke marijuana,at the facility. Since these facilities can be any where,this raises concerns about them driving afterwards and the risk to the surrounding areas i.e… schools, parks, etc. Have any of us witnessed any of these people using and driving at the facility? Just curious. There isn’t any way to quantify (like a breath test) whether someone is impaired.· Billings is now attracting medical marijuana users from other states. They are moving here because of our relaxed laws. In addition there is nothing in place to keep felons from relocating to our state and establishing businesses. Do we really want this to be our calling card Of the 14 states with medical marijuana laws, ours ties for most strict. Compare to Oregon for example: We can possess 6 plants and 1 oz usable. In Oregon, they can have 24 ounces usable and 24 plants. I highly doubt any medical users are moving here because they like our laws better than the ones in their own state. Think for a moment how much money is going into the economy- and putting illegalmarijuana dealers out of business. A set-up with lights, ballasts, nutrients, etc STARTS at $1000 for 6 plants. Not only that, but drug felons are NOT allowed to be caregivers, thus preventing them from setting up businesses.
[T]he Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Environmental Protection Agency-Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection-Border Patrol, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These federal agencies were assisted by the Montana Division of Criminal Investigations, and local High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task forces, the Northwest Drug Task Force, the Kalispell Police Department, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, the Missoula Police Department, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, the Missoula High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the Great Falls Police Department, the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, the Central Montana Drug Task Force, the Billings Police Department, the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office, the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the Dillon Police Department, the Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office, the Park County Sheriff’s Office, the Bozeman Police Department, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, the Missouri River Drug Task Force, the Helena Police Department, the Lewis & Clark Sheriff’s Office, and the Eastern Montana Drug Task Force – Miles City” (U.S. Department of Justice, Michael W. Cotter, United States Attorney, District of Montana,News Advisory, March 15, 2011).
HB 161, Speaker Milburn’s baby, is in poor health. With a terminal case of arrogance, the medical cannabis repeal bill will likely spend its last days surrounded by the Speaker’s ignorant minions who will passionately attempt to prop it up with prayers and lie-ridden sponge baths.
March 11, 2011, the Senate Judiciary committee will be hearing testimony on the bill and buses from all over the state will be delivering patients to the hearing. Here is a link to find information about buses in your area. UPDATE: Here is another. It is important that you attend if at all possible. Thus far, we have no buses scheduled for Billings, so if anyone knows of any Billings transportation to the hearing, please let me know and I will publicize the info. If you cannot attend the hearing, please contact the Senate members anyway, you can do so easily using this link.
These lazy politicians need to learn who is boss. They work for US after all, not the other way around and 2012 elections are the perfect time to inform them that they are FIRED. Speaker Milburn is at the top of my list.
Speaker Milburn’s anti-compassion presentation. His words in black, mine in red.
I was asked to do this quite awhile ago. Not proud enough to claim this as your own idea, huh? As we all know the medical marijuana initiative passed the voters by some sixty percent actually 62% Mike, you know that. Followed by several years of not much activity, then all of the sudden people understood that they could get away with abuse umm, actually, that isn’t what happened at all…and the flood gates opened. Calls came in from schools, the city, and the addiction center, what they told me was shocking and of course none of these calls came in prior to 2004 when Montana approved the medical use of cannabis, right?! I went to meetings and people which people, names please expressed that they understood what was happening to our society, to our kids and to our communities what exactly is “happening to our society, kids and communities”?
It’s no longer about the medical use of marijuana; it is now all about the marijuana itself and legalizing the drug, no, Mike…. it IS about medical use of the drug. Last I checked, there were no plans to legalize the drug.
People any specific people? No room for hearsay in the legislative process…. come on, Mike… let’s be professionals here asked, can we repeal the whole initiative? Yes, it is possible, of course it is possible, any law is possible to change, you can eliminate it, change it, and we do it everyday umm, actually, we don’t do it quite that often, Mike.
I have been getting a lot of support, more everyday, especially from the schools and their concern about the deteriorating effects they are seeing upon kids using marijuana. Kids are showing up at school under the influence or just not showing up at all and I suppose this NEVER happened prior to legalizing the medical use?
So I proceeded in this direction, seeing that there was a huge upswing in the use of marijuana by teens in our schools attributable only to our medical cannabis laws I assume? and communities and medical marijuana card numbers were going up.
We can’t keep up with the data; it’s going up so fast umm, actually, new numbers are released every month…. do you need them more frequently than monthly? The huge upswing of medical marijuana is a problem.
It is no longer an issue of medical marijuana; it’s an issue of marijuana. Actually, Mike…. we are only talking about the medical use of marijuana. We’ve already established that non-medical use of marijuana is illegal.
We’ve opened the floodgates. It’s like Hurricane Katrina. Great analogy. We’re not talking about the dikes holding back the water anymore. We’re talking about, how do you rebuild the city? That is where we are at. Of course you are only SAYING that though, Mike. You have no intentions of rebuilding the city, you are looking to condemn it entirely.
What I have found, and what I believe is the only way to handle this is to shut down the industry. And you are an expert on this subject I assume? We have got to shut it down. The money that is being made in this industry, and the drugs that are being sold, it’s staggering. Drugs, Mike? Or how about medicine?We have an industry that is out of control. So regulation is impossible? Because the industry isn’t what you would like it to be, it should be eliminated?
The numbers, 28,000 cards we have issued in Montana, we don’t have that many hurt people around. You are, I assume; a physician? Oh really? You aren’t. Hmmm. In Helena we have greenhouses full of marijuana plants, with 6 plants per person; we have a lot of hurt people. Again, you know how many “hurt people” are in the state? That’s as many people with marijuana cards as the population we have in the city of Helena. Although we are talking about an entire state, a population of nearly a million people.
I have been asked hearsay again, Mike, why undo something that Montanans wanted. And we will continue to ask that question. Well this is not what they wanted. You can speak for ALL of us? I do not hear from anyone that was not already a marijuana user themselves, that they wanted this. Not one person, huh? OK, Mike. We believe you. The widespread abuses of marijuana go far beyond the intent of the voters who approved the initiative nearly seven years ago. And because our legislature is so damned lazy and arrogant, we are going to tell those voters they made a big mistake.This is not what is wanted by voters. Speak for yourself. I don’t hear from any person that this is what they voted for. This is a lie. You’ve heard from me…. you just won’t admit it apparently. I noticed you haven’t ever responded to any of my messages.
We can’t fix it. Because our legislature is inept and has a religious agenda. We have got to shut it down. Because we are lazy. What are we doing to ourselves and our kids? What are we doing? Not “WE”, Mike… YOU. What are YOU doing to ourselves and our kids? You are perpetuating the most ridiculous stereotypes. You embarrass us! We need some breathing room. And as a person who doesn’t suffer from a debilitating illness, it is so easy for you to make that claim.
Reference is made to a chart and to the blue line increases in the chart. This is in months, not years, this is scary! This is huge. We are now #2 in the nation in teen usage of marijuana, a year ago we were 10th. This is the high end of the average in the U.S. This is serious! Oddly enough, we were also number one prior to legalizing medical use of cannabis in our state. We won’t mention that though…. we will just put it on a website without disclosing the fact that those numbers were from almost a decade ago.
We have changed our culture in Montana in just several months. Yes, Mike. Thanks to you and your minions, we have changed our culture to one of fear. Patients are afraid that you will take away a substance that has saved their lives and allowed them to become productive citizens. We used to be the rough and tough cowboys, loggers, miners, ranchers, farmers, the hard workers, ones who were proud of their families and their communities. Now we are a state governed by tyrants. We are changing our identity in just a few months. And we blame YOU. That is what we are doing. Tyranny at its best.
The money being made is staggering! Yes, the industry has put people to work! That is more than you can say for yourself. Growers are hiring people, previously vacant warehouses are suddenly filled with paying tenants, gardening supply stores are cropping up and hardware stores are benefiting. Contractors are busy, electricians are busy. Pain is the main reason for obtaining a medical marijuana card. This is odd, why? Lots of people have pain. What is the main reason for obtaining an oxycontin prescription? It is huge on the graph found in red. Usage among teenagers is so common they think it’s legal. Because they aren’t stupid. They are more informed than YOU are. They are shocked to find out it is illegal. Because it is such a safe substance, they see alcohol’s effects every day and they wonder why something like cannabis is considered so evil. Enough people are getting cards that students are supplying to students. And why have we not arrested these people? This is a travesty. That’s where we are at on that.
Another embarrassing thing happened. North Dakota’s initiative failed close to 70%. The Director of Criminal Investigation used us as a bad example. Which may be why it failed. North Dakotans believed your lies. Radio and TV ads said, “We don’t want to look like Montana!” “Do you want the mess Montana is in?” It failed because they used us as a bad example. That’s why it failed? Not because cannabis has no legitimate medical use? You don’t say. Thanks for making our argument for us.
Let’s look at the validity in the use of marijuana as a medicine. First of all the Department of Justice and Drug abuse administration stated, how our nation responds to drug abuse is one of the most important and dangerous issues facing American citizens, and especially for our youth today. United States drug enforcement administration under the US Department of Justice takes a firm stand and I quote “smoked marijuana is not a medicine and it is not safe”. Who said anything about smoking it? Have you ever heard of a vaporizer? Or how about edibles, tincture, or ointments?
Marijuana has been classified as a schedule 1 drug. Possession, distribution and manufacturing of it is illegal under federal law. Drugs have classification under accepted medicinal use and the potential for abuse and their psychological and physical effects on the body. Cocaine is a schedule II drug. Clearly because it is far safer and less prone to abuse than cannabis. Methamphetamine is a schedule II drug- prescribed in pharmaceutical form it is known as Desoxyn- and is prescribed to children for control of ADHD. Clearly, methamphetamine is far more safe than cannabis. You do realize how ridiculous you sound, right?
Schedule 1 drugs are categorized as such because of high potential for abuse and a lack of any accepted medical use and an absence of any accepted safety for use in medically supervised treatment. Oddly enough, the MAYO clinic PROVIDES cannabis to patients and GASP!!! even allows them to smoke it. Clearly an expert such as yourself knows more about the medical use of cannabis than anyone at that silly MAYO clinic. The DEA was challenged, the schedule 1 status so they could regulate and distribute it. The DEA Health and Human Services Department performed rigorous testing and found marijuana to be highly addictive with no medicinal value and refused to de list it. You may want to check the facts again here, Mike. That isn’t quite the reason….The US Supreme Court upheld that ruling.
FDA – has not approved smoked marijuana for any condition or disease. Again, who said anything about smoking it? FDA noted that they currently have sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful. As opposed to opiates which are so safe. That no sound scientific studies support the use of marijuana for medical treatment in the U.S. You are joking, right? I can name countless studies off the top of my head. Of course, my truth is inconvenient for you. Marijuana does not meet any standards of modern medicine for quality and safety. Because it is just that safe. Marijuana does not fall under any doctor’s management protocol of dosages, risk and side effects or drug interactions, indications and contradictions. Because it is impossible to overdose on it. The same cannot be said even for WATER. The same holds true for a pharmacist.
So you are going to hear from proponents today about glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, cancer and a number of diseases and conditions. God forbid you accept any testimony from actual patients who have a better quality of life because of this substance. But the following voices of the medical community do not accept smoked marijuana as a medicine. I notice you mentioned “smoked” marijuana again. Did we ever say anything about smoking it?
DEA – Health and Human Services You may want to check this link, Mike. It appears this has more to do with money and Big Pharma than safety or efficacy. Everyone wants a piece of the pie.
Sept. 6, 1988, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chief Administrative Law Judge, Francis L. Young said
“Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man,” he wrote. “By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care. … The evidence in this record clearly shows that marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.”
American Medical Association Hmmm, actually, Mike…. check out this link. The AMA in 2009 changed their 72 year long stance on marijuana. They now claim it clearly has medical benefits.
American Cancer Society The American Cancer Society has an issue with SMOKING marijuana. No mention of other methods of ingestion…. again, we aren’t necessarily talking about smoking it. The ACS members were among the first to recommend cannabis for regulation of pain, anorexia, and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
American Academics of Pediatrics Clearly they haven’t met one of Montana’s youngest medical cannabis users… 2 year old Cash Hyde whose parents claim wouldn’t be with them today without medical cannabis.
American Glaucoma Society Patients and physicians agree that marijuana is an effective treatment for relieving interocular pressure associated with glaucoma.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society MANY MS patients and their physicians believe medical cannabis has benefits in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
Institute of Medicine British Association Why we should care what any nanny-state entity believes is beyond me.
American Society of Addiction Medicine This entity exists only because of “addictions”. Why work themselves out of a job?
American Society of Addiction Medicine asserts that cannabis, cannabis-based products, and cannabis delivery devices should be subject to the same standards that are applicable to other prescription medications and medical devices and that these products should not be distributed or otherwise provided to patients unless and until such products or devices have received marketing approval from the Food and Drug Administration. ASAM rejects smoking as a means of drug delivery since it is not safe. So, we can use a vaporizer. It is settled.
All say if it is smoked it is harmful. All don’t accept marijuanaas a medicine. No, all don’t accept SMOKED marijuana as a medicine. Who said anything about smoking it? And if patients choose to ingest their medicine by smoking it as opposed to some other delivery mode, they are endangering themselves. Not our business.
Merinol in pill form is the only form that can be prescribed by a doctor. Marinol is SYNTHETIC THC. It is expensive, must be stored at specific temperatures, and is often thrown up before it ever has an opportunity to quell nausea associated with chemotherapy and disease.
At addiction centers nationally and locally there is more teen dependency than all other illicit drugs combined. We aren’t talking about the nation here…. are you really going to claim that locally we have more kids in treatment for marijuana than we do for alcohol?
We talk about forming a model of marijuana to look like Europe. Umm, no we aren’t. Who cares about nanny-state Europe. Socialism has failed. And who said Europe has liberal marijuana laws? Don’t tell me you are referring to Sweden again…. We find Europe is rethinking its liberal marijuana laws and use. They report significant mental and physical consequences that lead to higher crime rate and social costs. And they would know all about social costs considering they are all socialists. Let’s look at one of your own quotes.
America looked socialism in the eye and said they were scared”. Damn right we are scared Mike! One wouldn’t think you would use socialists as any sort of example. Since when does America follow another nation’s lead? We are the leaders of the free world…. nonsense like the propaganda you are producing makes a mockery of us. Who the hell cares about our “rough and tough cowboy image”? You guys want being gay to be a crime and your own judiciary chair (former) Sen. Shockley drinks while he drives. Can you say hypocrisy??
Australia – will fight to turn around an 8 year soft drug approach and it has left lives ruined lives ruined by medical cannabis specifically? If not, totally irrelevent.
Holland – same thing here, marijuana use is so dominate did you perhaps mean predominate or dominant? Dominate is a verb. Just sayin. that people don’t have space for other things in their lives, user’s crawl out of bed, smoke marijuana and don’t work, and then they don’t know what to do with their lives. And this is because of medical use? Please cite specific sources.
Switzerland – suffering again the same thing. Actually, the Swiss have advocated complete decriminalization. Although it didn’t pass parliament, they did ease marijuana laws in the past year.
California Chief of Police says that if you have drugs and money you are going to have crime. People think that by decriminalizing it that the Mexican and Asian gangs will go away. That’s not the world we live in. How do you know? Have we ever tried it? Clearly what we are doing is working so well.
Montana is known nationwide as a place to come for marijuana. I’m not criticizing the quality of Montana cannabis, but let’s be honest here. Connoisseurs aren’t flocking to our state. We are becoming known as a place where you CAN’T get marijuana because you sadistic bastards are on a power trip. It has created a multi-million dollar industry that’s largely unregulated and drawing criminals to the state. Actually, criminals are LEAVING the state in droves because they can no longer make enough money selling marijuana. Competition has improved quality and decreased prices. They are headed east. The ones who have stayed are now legally using cannabis and the ones illegally partaking are subject to criminal proceedings. Arrest them!!
It’s a problem. Certainly not one of our biggest problems however. Every day we hear about yet another person being arrested for their tenth or fourteenth DUI. Nobody is trying to criminalize alcohol though…. why? Because we know prohibition does not work.
We are dealing with the consequences of the initiative. Actually, this is happening because you chose NOT to deal with the consequences of the initiative in any of the prior sessions. Accept your portion of the blame, work with the industry and patients and move on. Shut the industry down. Shut the hell up, Mike Milburn. You have no credibility.
**special thanks to cannapropaganda who will be guest blogging in my absence.
Considering the mess Governor Schweitzer is likely to leave the next Montana Governor, each day that another candidate enters the GOP race for the seat, I’m a little surprised. Most recently, Neil Livingstone announced his official candidacy. Although Livingstone is a frequent terrorism analyst on cable news programs, he has little name recognition outside of the Republican party in Montana.
The list includes, in order of filing date:
- Corey Stapleton, former state senate minority leader. Former naval officer who was raised in Great Falls, currently a financial planner in Billings. Was instrumental in future development of Otter Creek Coal and seeks to build a medical school in Montana.
- Ken Miller, former state senator and chair of the Montana Republican Party. Lives in Laurel, owns furniture store. Believes we need to stand with AZ Governor Brewer to take a stand on illegal immigration and believes education is the most important issue facing our state currently.
- Rick Hill, former US Congressman who retired due to eye health problems, most recently working as a lobbyist. Believes he is a “fixer” and one of the original members of the tea party, before it had a name. His ability to “work a room” is legendary according to Mr Hill.
- James O’Hara, Chouteau County Commissioner, owns The Daily Grind bakery in Great Falls. Wants to develop wind and bio-based energy sources.
- Neil Livingstone, D.C. based international terrorism expert and former intelligence officer who was raised in Helena. Although his business will keep him in D.C., he will be in Montana frequently to campaign and elaborate upon his “novel approach” to spurring national resources.
It will remain to be seen how Livingstone fits into this group of candidates. Rick Hill spokesman Chuck Denowh already released a statement downplaying his potential. ““No one can match Rick Hill’s record of delivering for Montana,” he said. “There really is a differentiation there. Livingstone has an impressive resume, but I don’t see he has a lot of applicable experience to be a governor.”
We also have Ronald J Lassle, who hasn’t declared a party and Dave Wanzenried, the lone democrat in the race thus far. Ron Vandevender has a website listing himself as a liberatarian candidate, but he has not filed his intentions with the Montana political practices office at this time.
I’m headed on a much-needed vacation with my family in next few days, so I will be having guests blogging in my absence. I trust everyone will enjoy some new points of view.
Should Montana’s elections be conducted through the mail in an effort to save money? HB 130, which is sponsored by Pat Ingraham (R-Thompson Falls) calls for vote-by-mail elections in every local, state, and federal election in Montana beginning in 2012. According to Secretary of State Linda McColloch, a hand-picked member of the George Soros-funded Secretary of State Project:
“Vote-by-mail elections increase voter participation, enhance voter protection and save taxpayer money.”
Representatives from the Montana League of Rural Voters, Montana Disability Rights, Montana Conservation Voters, Montana Association of Clerks and Recorders, Forward Montana, Montana Women Vote and Montana’s sovereign Indian nations worked together to propose the legislation. Election administrators participating were from Blaine, Gallatin, Missoula, Pondera and Yellowstone counties.
Many opponents believe that all-mail voting is a way to increase dem turnout because it appeals to slackers and parasites who are too lazy to get off their duffs and vote in person while others think that voting should require some effort as a means of being certain of who is casting the votes. Personally, although I’ve often voted via absentee ballot, I believe the proposed switch would primarily benefit democrats and I question whether the financial savings created by all-mail voting would outweigh the potential for voter fraud.
“All-mail” is somewhat of a misnomer in other states, as completed ballots are often left at unofficial drop sites or picked up at doors by volunteers, most often sponsored by political groups and elected officials present this as a beneficial form of constituent service. Election officials in states where elections are conducted by mail (like WA and OR) admit that they have no way of knowing whether they received every single ballot that was handed over to someone other than an authorized election official. Voting by mail requires cooperation with universities, private mail services and group homes. Group homes present extraordinary opportunities for voter fraud as dozens of ailing patients can be easily manipulated by a corrupt worker or coerced by campaign workers in a GOTV effort. In universities, the high rate of turnover can be utilized to submit numerous fraudulent ballots.
On a local and state level, where elections are often won by a handful of votes (SD 25 for instance, where Democrat Kendall Van Dyk beat incumbent Republican Roy Brown by only 4 votes), just a few fraudulent votes could turn an election. The possibilities are truly endless. My primary reason for not voting early is more practical than legal, however. Much potential exists for decision-changing events or the exposure of scandalous information in the days prior to elections. I want to ensure I don’t vote early for a flawed candidate as there is no buyer’s remorse provision for the voter.
On the other hand, there is always potential for election fraud and it is estimated that counties could save up to $2 million every election cycle by switching to voting by mail. Your thoughts?
Montana’s GOP legislators, most of whom campaigned on a platform of fiscal responsibility and cutting government waste are now being labeled as hypocrites by Governor Schweitzer and many of the legislature’s Democrats. After proposing early budget cuts, nearly every move made by GOP lawmakers thus far has been criticized by the left.
- Approval of $1000 stipend (down from the previous $1500 allowance approved in 2007) for purchase of a laptop to be used by members of the legislature- Governor Schweitzer thinks they should use their own computers while the legislature argues that other state employees aren’t asked to supply their own equipment.
- Inclusion of provisions to increase health benefits for legislators in HB #1, the “feed bill” which pays for the biennial legislative session. Democrats say that it equates to “voting themselves a pay raise” while Republicans state that voting for increased compensation for themselves is constitutionally impossible.
- Intentions of repealing/nullifying exceedingly unpopular national health care reform mandates- Schweitzer and other Democrats are calling Republicans hypocrites for accepting health insurance from their employer, the state of Montana; while actively trying to thwart the implementation of Obamacare within the state.
- Schweitzer also recently stated publicly that the legislators are the “biggest boozers”. His accusation was most likely directed at the left as well as he didn’t distinguish between political parties.
What do you think?
Helena District Judge Kathy Seeley dismissed Governor Brian Schweitzer‘s lawsuit against the 2009 Montana legislature today due to a lack of legal standing. Claiming House Bill 676, a companion bill to HB2, was unconstitutional because it contained multiple subject matters (Montana’s constitution allows only the general appropriations act, House Bill 2 to contain multiple subject matters) and that as a result, Schweitzer’s veto powers were compromised. Schweitzer, instead of vetoing the bill, allowed it to become law without his signature in 2009. Lawyers for the legislature argued that he could have vetoed the bill if he had legal issues with it and Judge Seeley agreed as Schweitzer wasn’t able to identify any impairment of his veto power whatsoever. Judge Seeley’s decision can be found here.
Legislators on both sides of the political aisle praised the judge’s ruling, expressing hope that the litigation has come to an end to avoid wasting further taxpayer resources. Schweitzer has not yet decided if he will appeal the judge’s ruling to the Montana Supreme Court.
Last week, Governor Schweitzer took jabs at the legislature, claiming they were the “biggest boozers”. He cited Department of Revenue data that showed a spike in liquor sales in the Helena area during Montana’s biennial legislature. Ignoring the fact that the legislature brings literally thousands of people to Helena in lobbyists, legislative staff, and citizens testifying on bills, he instead chose to place the blame on Montana’s lawmakers.
“In politics, it doesn’t matter what the facts are, it matters what the perceptions are. It is the way you frame it.” Brian Schweitzer, Montana Governor
Governor Brian Schweitzer, well-known around Montana for his hard-drinking and overly flirtatious behavior recently used a tax revenue press conference to publicly criticize Montana’s legislators. Citing Department of Revenue data indicating that wholesale liquor sales increase in Helena during the biennial legislative session, Schweitzer appeared to place that blame solely on the legislators. “These are the ones who are the biggest boozers” said Schweitzer.
In a session already expected to be contentious, the comments aren’t sitting well with Montana’s lawmakers. “That is outrageous. We work very hard,” said Dave Lewis, a Helena Republican who has worked in one capacity or another around the Capitol for decades. Considering the number of lobbyists and legislative staff in Helena for the session, it is ridiculous to blame the liquor sales spike on only the 150 elected lawmakers. Legislators make significant sacrifices to serve in Montana’s 90 day session living away from their families and being paid only minimally.
Hallmark mechanisms of alcoholism and other addictions are the use of projection and a tendency to blame others. Recognizing and owning one’s problems is key to recovery. Perhaps Governor Schweitzer is hiding his own chemical dependency issues by projecting his faults on to his adversaries. I have personally witnessed on numerous occasions, excessive “boozing” by Brian Schweitzer himself and his behavior is certainly not becoming of the office he holds. In the past, Schweitzer has criticized legislators for eating “thick steaks and old whiskey” compliments of lobbyists. No word on who buys the beef and spirits for the governor.
Peaking at 78 folks, Rick Hill’s campaign Facebook group “A Lot of Folks for Rick Hill” has apparently folded only seven weeks after his announcement to run for Montana Governor in 2012, possibly due to a lack of folks. Lackluster support is proving to be a problem for the candidate who refers to himself as a “fixer” and “member of the Tea party before it even existed”. Younger conservatives are distancing themselves from Hill at a rapid pace.
A closed group with the same name, created a month ago by Beth Yount Ries, remains. She added another 24 people to the group, but only a handful of them are current members. Notably absent are former members Rick Hill and GOP candidate for US Senate Steve Daines.
In stark contrast, campaigns for Hill’s GOP opponents feature strong and passionate support. Ken Miller’s Facebook group, Ken Miller for Governor , has hundreds of people “liking” it. The group was created last summer. Corey Stapleton‘s Facebook group, Corey Stapleton for Montana’s Governor 2012, was created most recently-after Rick Hill’s- and has a couple hundred fans.
Rumors are plaguing the Rick Hill campaign, ranging from infidelity to scandals of Conrad Burns proportions and some hope he drops out of the campaign to avoid embarrassing reluctant supporters. Hill, a long-time lobbyist, has also faced criticism from Tea party leaders and members who don’t consider him conservative enough and don’t appreciate his comments implying he was endorsed by them. Mark French, former GOP candidate for Montana’s US House Representative harshly criticized Hill’s voting record on the blog PolyMontana.
Prior to Hill’s announcement, he confided in friends that many Democrats had encouraged him to run for Governor because he was more moderate than the other candidates. Democrat Dave Wanzenreid of Missoula apparently believes Hill isn’t moderate enough as he also recently filed to run for the position. Term limits prevent current Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer from running for reelection.
Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester have had few successes in recent years. Conservatives feel they have ignored the wishes of their constituency in pushing through national healthcare reform mandates and other unpopular legislation while progressives feel they haven’t done enough. Some liberals now refer to the Montana Senators as “blue dog democrats” and describe their political ideology as “right of center”.
You know things are really bad when your most vocal and loyal fans turn on you though. In a tragedy befitting a political Harlequin romance novel, Markos Moulitsas, the influential founder of the lefty website DailyKos, has broken up with Senator Jon Tester. After the desperate Senator expressed his intent to vote against the controversial DREAM act, Moulitsas took to publicly criticizing the man he’d once described as the “future of the Democratic party”. Moulitsas tweeted “Good luck getting reelected now A**hole” as well as a host other disparaging Twitter comments about the man he’d once loved.
The DREAM act is over, possibly forever; and with it ends the liberal dream of millions of new undocumented Democrats becoming legal voters. Moulitsas and other progressives have been betrayed by Tester’s desperation as he is facing a difficult reelection bid in 2012. Montana voters would not forgive the Senator’s support of the DREAM act on top of the national healthcare reform mandates so Tester caved. It remains to be seen whether liberals will forgive Tester or express their disappointment in the Senator by closing their checkbooks but it is certain they will not soon forget. Steve Daines, a Republican Montana businessman is thus far Tester’s only opponent in the 2012 election although there is speculation that Montana’s lone Congressman Republican Denny Rehberg will seek Tester’s seat in the US Senate.
Montana Republican legislators apparently didn’t get the message that we don’t really care about the legislators’ pet causes and social issues this session. Campaigning on platforms of fiscal responsibility and smaller government, it didn’t take long for them to start drafting hundreds of bills about issues Montanans aren’t currently concerned about. The Republicans have obviously been derailed from their promises of fiscal reform in favor of an all-star Jeff Lazloffy style dream team of legislative proposals from repealing medical marijuana to further restricting abortions.
November’s election wasn’t a GOP mandate. It was a GIFT. People didn’t vote for the GOP, they voted against everything progressivism represents. Unfortunately, the legislators seem more concerned with their own puritan religious agendas. In a lengthy recession, it seems blatantly hypocritical for Republican legislators to be so hell-bent on repealing the medical marijuana law which has provided employment for thousands (there are currently 5000 or so caregivers in MT) of people in Montana as well as adding substantially to our state’s economy.
Republicans need to decide whether they actually do support smaller government or if they support it only when it suits their morals. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of the murder of unborn babies, nor do I think medical marijuana dispensaries should be located next to schools, I just think that the Republicans better wake up before they are punished at the polls for ignoring their constituency. Many of us spent countless hours conducting voter ID surveys door to door throughout Montana. In our group, do you know how many of us encountered voters whose primary concern was medical marijuana or abortion? ZERO. Overwhelmingly, respondents declared that the economy and jobs were the concerns most pressing.
“We need to recognize why were elected as Republicans,” said Rep. Mike Milburn, House Speaker . “We need to all band together and head down that same road.”
Why then is Milburn proposing a repeal of the entire medical marijuana law? That is NOT why we elected Republicans in the 2010 elections. We elected them to create jobs and repair our struggling economy. Please tell me how eliminating 5000 caregiver jobs will be good for our economy? Does the law need some changes and clarifications? Certainly, I won’t disagree with that. Let’s listen to the Montana voters this time though, keep the focus on the economy.
Max Baucus has only been in our state for a few days in the last
thirty-five years year, but he has been making waves as he traveled across the state. Last Friday, he was in Malta to discuss a small business jobs bill. Prior to the meeting, the Montana Community Preservation Alliance encouraged droves of citizens to attend this event to ask that Max address leaked emails of plans to create a national monument from Fort Benton to Fort Peck. Concerned Montanans packed the Malta golf course cafe as a result. As expected, Max reassured everyone no one as he said:
“I saw a sign out here, gave me a big smile, that said ‘Max, you can stop the monument if you want to.’ Well, let me tell you this, I am going to stop the monument. There is going to be no monument. I’ll just do what it takes to stop it.”
Why aren’t Montanans buying Max’s promises? He claimed he’d ensure a Missouri Breaks Monument wouldn’t be created either. We all know how that turned out. The MCPA was disappointed in Max as evidenced by their statement:
MCPA was discouraged by his lack of interest in submitting a bill to the Senate which would exempt Montana from any future national monument designations through the Antiquities Act; he also seemed reluctant to commit time to the process to reform the Antiquities Act. Also discouraging was the lack of commitment from Baucus to remove land acquisition funds from the Land & Water Conservation Fund.
Montanans shouldn’t be surprised. After all, Max has been disappointing us for the last 35 years and some idiots keep electing him. Max lies to Montanans, cheated on his wife, wants to redistribute our wealth, appeared drunk on the Senate floor, …. it is truly embarrassing to hear the words “Max Baucus, Senator from Montana”.
Last night, at the Billings stop on the Montana Democrats GOTV “Jobs and Opportunity” tour (interesting title for the event) Max even snubbed a 12 year old girl who wanted to offer him her assistance in reading Senate bills. He was apparently very rude and the scene was caught on video. As soon as I obtain the footage, I will add a link. Poor Max,even his democrat buddies are upset with him, today Slate included him in a list of likely scapegoats to be used after the democrats are defeated across the nation later this evening.
Max’s actions require consequences. Montanans will not forget Max throwing us under the bus. I’m planning a big retirement bash for Max in 2014.
Montana Democrats to Vote Against “Big Government” Van Dyk
Although it is a key Montana race, I hate to continue to write about the Kendall Van Dyk campaign’s hypocrisy and mud-slinging. The Montana Cowgirl blog’s posts here and here today combined with breaking news that Democrats are tiring of their candidate have, however; warranted another post.
According to sources within the Montana left, Democratic leaders are panicking over a trend they have noticed in Billings voters. Apparently democrats in SD25 are seriously favoring conservative businessman Roy Brown over radical environmentalist community organizer, Kendall Van Dyk. Whether these voters fear big government, are tired of the deceptive ads by Van Dyk and his minions, or they simply realize the importance of this election, voters from all ends of the political spectrum are showing support for Republican incumbent senator Roy Brown.
Rumors swirling about Brown’s covert veganism have likely contributed to this trend (the PETA crowd surely approves) but many voters are simply saying that they simply cannot elect someone with a one-issue advocacy history. Thanks in part to Van Dyk, Montana stream access laws have been clarified, but he has accomplished little else in his time in the House. His reputation for ego-driven tirades and failure to be a team player is obviously a contributing factor in this important election.
Billings Gazette readers commenting online have mentioned with increasing frequency that although they are Democrats or they voted for Kendall Van Dyk in his last House election, they’ll be voting this time for Roy Brown. Roy’s accessibility has been lauded while Van Dyk frequently resorts to using uninformed youngsters carrying Droids to canvas neighborhoods in SD25. Roy has consistently campaigned with dignity, always on a platform of why he deserves your vote as opposed to why his opponent does not. His honorable tactics have been rewarded with attack ads filled with lies and distortions about his career and lifestyle. Although collaboration would be illegal, it seems like quite a coincidence that mailers sent by Values, Energy, & Growth PAC use the very same photo of Roy Brown in a long black coat and a red scarf as those sent by Van Dyk. Montanans, Democrats and Republicans alike want candidates to know that we are tired of malicious campaigns.
Montana’s economy has been struggling to keep up with the spending of the democrats in power and Montanans from the left and right of the political spectrum are realizing that we can’t spend our way out of this recession. The reality for most Americans is that our federal taxes are going to be skyrocketing. With Montana’s projected state budget shortfall of nearly a half BILLION dollars, increases on state taxes are almost certain. Van Dyk hasn’t ever met a tax hike he didn’t like while Roy Brown was listed by Legistats as the third most fiscally conservative member of our state’s senate.
Maybe voters have decided that voting for local and state legislators who support Obama’s destruction of our nation is a bad move….but whatever the reason, Billings voters will be sending clear messages to the big Montana government on November 2nd, 2010. Gutter politics should not be rewarded. Ask Kendall Van Dyk to stop being the political playground bully and to keep his campaign clean.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele and the shiny red “Fire Nancy Pelosi” bus made appearances in Billings last night for a lively crowd of several hundred energized Montanans unhappy with the current state of affairs in our nation.
The mood was positive and the momentum of local Republicans was evident as local party leaders delivered brief motivating speeches to the cheering crowd. Congressman Denny Rehberg joked about the absence of Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester as well as our governor. Betty Babcock, wife of former Montana governor Tim Babcock, who was also in attendance, said she hoped that November 3rd’s newspaper headlines declare a “Republican landslide”. If last night’s crowd is any indication of the election’s outcome, Montana Republicans will be smiling.