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.