Montana Politics

Montana GOP To Citizens: Please Shut Up!

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How hard would it be for the Republican majority on the House Judiciary Committee to simply apologize for not listening to the voices of Montanans from all over the state who came to testify today in opposition to Representative Hansen’s terrible bill to strip local autonomy from communities to want to fight discrimination?

I’d say an apology for people who drove across icy roads simply to be listened to would be in order, but that’s not likely to happen.

The Montana GOP response today on Twitter was telling:

  • Rules for testimony: Witnesses “must be given a reasonable opportunity to do so, orally OR IN WRITING.”
  • Rules for testimony: “Restrictions on time available for testimony MAY BE ANNOUNCED. “
  • Rules for testimony: “Visitors may not speak unless called upon by the chairman”
  • There’s room for debate about how the rules were followed in House Judiciary, but it’s far from settled.

In other words, the position of the Montana GOP and its committee leaders in the Legislature seems to be that Montana citizens are “visitors” who may have the opportunity to speak, but only if they are discussing weighty matters like UN withdrawal or bullying hunters, not fundamental human rights.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

8 Comments

  • I've dealt with this kind of bologna in California. If the GOP doesn't give advocates the chance to speak then wait for them outside the hearing room door and just talk to them as they walk away. If they don't stop and listen then write op-eds about their failure as democratic representatives.

  • The MT constitution includes right to participate, right to know and right to privacy … article 2, sects 8,9 and 10, right in a row.

    For a party that keeps lauding the constitution, it would appear many of them haven't read it….

  • I would like to apologize to the People of Montana for not paying more attention to the candidates that Havre ended up sending to the legislature. My gut feelings should have given me a clue about how much of an embarrassment Warburton and Hansen would be to our community but these two have surpassed my wildest fears about what can go wrong with not taking our government serious.

  • I just hope that every Montana voter looks seriously at this session before he/she votes next time. Maybe Montana has become a Republican state, but certainly not this brand of Republican.

    We can let extremists takes over our state because they have Rs after their names on ballots.

  • Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your weblog. You have some really good posts and I think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please shoot me an e-mail if interested. Thanks!

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