The “This Has to Be Satire” Thirty: More Bad Bills from the Legislature

I have to give the Republicans at the Legislature one thing: they’re a determined bunch. Today, they were determined not to listen to people who traveled over icy roads to speak their minds to the people who “represent” them, and for the past (incredibly long) month and a half, they’ve been determined to write some of the most idiotic bills a Legislature has ever put together outside of the great state of South Dakota.

Earlier, the Montana Democratic Party prepared a press release detailing “The Terrible Ten,” listing some of the worst bills from the session. I followed with the Terrifically Stupid Twenty, exploring 10 additional bills that should never have seen the light of day. Because the Montana Republican Party is committed to working hard on everything but job creation, today I offer “This Has to Be Satire” Thirty. This is how the Republican majorities in the Legislature have been spending their time and your money.

HB 549: When all is said and done, this may end up being the most ridiculous (if least damaging) bill to come from the Republican caucus in this session. Despite acknowledging that he has done little to research climate change, Representative Read has proposed an actual law to state scientific point of view that is demonstrably false.   —Joe Read, R-Ronan

HB 558: The radical agenda of the far-right gun lobby has probably never overreached as far as they have in this bill, which would actually allow students to bring guns to school. In the wake of the school shootings across the nation and having experienced the dangers of guns right here in Helena in just the past few years, I can’t imagine how any reasonable person could support this bill.  —Jerry O’Neill, R-Columbia Falls

HB 161: When 62% of the public voted to allow the use of medical marijuana, one would have thought that the Republicans in the Legislature would have listened to those voters. There’s little doubt that the medical marijuana laws need revision, but to vote to eliminate its use for patients because the Legislature is too busy debating spear hunting and guns in schools to seriously look at this issue demonstrates just how irresponsible the GOP leadership is. Mike Milburn, R-Cascade

HB 205: Birther Bob Wagner embarrassed the state with his proposal to require that time travel devices be employed to determine without a doubt that Presidential candidates were born in American states (and not fake one like Hawaii.) —Bob Wagner, R-Harrison

HB 513: A double dose of Representative Wagner, as hours of watching the Glenn Beck program inspired him to pen this ode to gold and silver currency. To be fair, once President Obama imposes sharia law on the United States, gold and silver might be the only currency we can use to pay our Home Guards. —Bob Wagner, R-Harrison

HB 309: You’re a rich out of state landowner who can’t win in court? Get a friendly Republican legislator to write a bill that would strip Montanans of stream access rights that we have enjoyed since the founding of the state! Want to destroy the economic benefits that fishing and recreation bring the state? Get the Montana GOP to kill jobs and opportunities! —Jeffrey Welborn, Dillon

SB 306: Montana voters know that cyanide heal leaching is devastating to the environment and have twice supported restricting it, despite massive advertising in favor of it. Terry Muphy seems not to know that–or agree that the Legislature should respect the will of the voters. —Terry Murphy, R-Cardwell

HB 438: Another example of fighting tyrannical government intrusion into private family matters comes to us from Representative McGillvray, who wants to pass a law that would mandate ten hours of counselling over eight weeks before couple can file for divorce. It’s certainly interesting to see how little commitment to the principles of “small government” Republicans have, when the those values conflict with their own religious beliefs. The best part? When questioned about the unfair costs mandatory counselling could impose on the poor, McGillvray suggested they use free government services, the very services his party repeatedly votes to cut. —Tom McGillvray, R-Billings

HB 574: When you can’t pass your fringe anti-choice position past the governor and Legislature, what can a forward thinking leader from Havre do? Propose a constitutional amendment so poorly worded that it could criminalize miscarriages. –Wendy Warburton, R-Havre

HB 397/SB 282: I can understand the growing Republican opposition to public education. Given the conspiracy theories, half-baked science, and crazed economic beliefs their arguments rest on, the last thing they want is an educated populace capable of thinking for itself. As a result, the Dream Team of a Birther and Bircher have concocted a proposal to defund public schools by giving tax credits to affluent parents who want to send their children to private schools and other Montanans who want to send their children to schools with no accreditation standards at all. What could possibly go wrong with that? –James Knox, R-Billings and Dave Lewis, R-Helena


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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a 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.


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