This week, we’ve got looks at the laughable TEA Party effort to derail Medicaid Expansion, the growing Republican effort to damage our legacy of public lands, and more. Enjoy!
Amateur Hour: TEA Party Republicans Get Desperate in Attempts to Defeat HELP Act | – “So one thing is clear, from what we saw from the Tea Party today: it’s no surprise that they are losing this battle. These laughable wing-nut tautologies, cherry-picked “arguments” and blatant lies are the best they’ve got. They were no match by Sen. Buttrey, who easily shot down every ludicrous statement–and clearly could have done so with one hand tied behind his back. It is amateur hour, and the amateurs are getting desperate.” MT Cowgirl
Our Outdoor Heritage in the Crosshairs | – “Some lawmakers are once again playing political games with our state lands and conservation programs, jeopardizing critical investments in habitat conservation and public access. We shouldn’t be surprised. Nearly every session the proponents of privatizing our public lands and wildlife attempt to dismantle state programs that Montana sportsmen and women have built to sustain our outdoor heritage. As part of that effort, they also try to block the state from acquiring new lands. Ironically, many of these legislators are also pushing the agenda that would have the state take over management of 25 million acres of American public lands.” Montana Wilderness Association
Land grab – “In fact, it appears that a majority of Montanans view the transfer of public lands issue with either annoyance or disdain. And yet the conversation continues to be debated in the media, at the Capitol and in communities throughout the state, leaving many wondering where the support and drive on this issue lies. Deeper analysis shows Fielder and White—whose Gallatin Valley-based nonprofit Citizens for Balanced Use has advocated for studying the issue—are propelling a discussion that has attracted the attention and admiration of a particular subset of the right wing, one primarily incubated in the northwest reaches of Montana. “ Missoula Independent
School Board Committee Begins Discussions on Gender Identity Policy – “A subcommittee of the Kalispell School Board met on April 8 to begin discussions about potential changes to the school’s discrimination policies, with the question of whether the district should add language specifically protecting LGBT students.” Flathead Beacon
New Data Shows Medicaid Expansion Is a Solid Budget Decision for States | – “Seven out of eight states that expanded Medicaid witnessed savings from increased federal matching funds. Prior to expansion, states had to cover up to 50% of healthcare bills for “high need” individuals like those with disabilities. With expansion, these individuals can now receive full Medicaid coverage, which means the federal government will pick up the bill from 2015-2016, and at least 90% of the coverage costs after that. Since 2013, the state of Washington has saved $342 million as a result of enhanced federal matching funds.” Montana Budget and Policy Center
Water Rights and Wrongs – “Over the past few years I have heard sworn enemies of the CSKT compact trot out enough misinformation, mendacity, ignorance, paranoia, calumny, and illogic to last me a life time, and sometimes I wish there were a booby prize for the worst offender. If there were, I figure that Ken Miller would definitely be in the running, at least if his screed in the Missoulian last week is any indication. “ Barrett for SD 47