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Montana Legislature Montana Politics

If they only had a brain (or a heart or courage)

Montana Republicans have failed at every attempt to do the right thing. We’ll start with the brain although that’s not at the heart of the matter.

The nearsighted Montana GOP wants to slash tax credits for solar, wind and other clean energy sources while bailing out failing coal-fired power plants at ratepayer expense.*

Montana is falling behind other states. Particularly West Coast states but South Dakota, Nevada, Iowa and even Idaho are surpassing Montana in renewable energy resources. Where will smart businesses locate that want longterm, renewable energy availability instead of energy from old, dirty, sketchy power plants? At this rate, it won’t be Montana.

But it’s the heartless votes which should enrage us. Rejecting Hannah’s Act, a bill to coordinate law enforcement efforts on missing and murdered Indigenous women, is but one callous GOP action.

Blocking suicide prevention programs in a state with the highest suicide rate in the nation is another reprehensible act.    

A bill increasing the minimum wage died in committee.

Dying with dignity, on your own terms, is off the table.

Kicking nearly half — estimated at 46,000+ Montanans — off Medicaid certainly counts as cruel and unusual.

There are Medicaid deadbeats, for sure, as Republicans claim — healthy young people who take advantage of the system. They are vastly outnumbered by working, deserving Montanans. It’s a trade off but Republicans, if they have any compassion, should err on the side of the deserving. And with caveats like a person who owns “more than one light vehicle” or lives on “agricultural land with a taxable value in excess of $1,500 a year,” there are going to be many deserving Montanans who will be dropped from the rolls.

As for courage, the so-called “responsible Republicans” assuredly lack it. Afraid of being called “Rinos” (Republicans in name only) and scared of being primaried by candidates even further to the right, they’re more often than not voting lockstep with these same sort of far-right legislators who kill every forward-thinking bill that comes down the pike.

There is no Wizard of Oz to give Republicans a brain, heart or courage. The 2020 voting booth might be Montana’s only Yellow Brick Road to bring smart, compassionate and brave legislation to the people.


*It should be noted the Sen. Jon Sesso (D-Butte) and Sen. Gene Vuckovich (D-Anaconda) voted for SB 331, the bill I have titled “let’s buy a failing Colstrip unit and stick Montana ratepayers with the bill.”



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About the author

Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.

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  • Excellent summary of what is missing in Montana Republicans’ anatomy! I have said it before – the R in Republican stands for Regressive, which is what all of their bills and policies clearly illustrate.

    Wake up voters! They don’t care about people’s needs – only other people’s money.

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