Legislative Asshattery

The crazy just keeps coming- and yes, that is a clinical opinion.

crazy

At Intelligent Discontent, Pogie reports on Ken Peterson and James Knox, two Montana Republican Legislators who seem to have some difficulty reining in their obsessions with sex. Peterson wants to keep The Gay illegal:

“Homosexuals can’t go out into the heterosexual community and try to recruit people, or try to enlist them in homosexual acts,” Peterson says. He provides an example: “’Here, young man, your hormones are raging. Let’s go in this bedroom, and we’ll engage in some homosexual acts. You’ll find you like it.’” Peterson hasn’t actually seen this happen, he says, because “I don’t associate with that group of people at all… I’ve associated with mainstream people all my life.”

Hmm. Sounds more like fascination than disgust…. And for the record, I’d like to come out in violent opposition against the term “homosexual acts”. It’s unenlightened, and ridiculous- implying an explicit absence of love, affection and tenderness.

Like I said, ridiculous.

And Knox? Well, we might know more soon:

I’m told that Knox chose not only to make a fool of himself at a legislative event last night (with pictures and video floating around the Internet), but his remarks about and behavior towards high school pages have been incredibly inappropriate. At least two reporters were looking into the story and interviewing today, and the Billings Gazette was fishing for more information…

Uh oh. “Inappropriate”, for those of you who are new to this, is code for “disturbing”.

Full story here.

Progress, But Still Disappointing

March 29th, from Diane Sands:

Friends…

Today I attempted to “blast” SB 276 out of hostile Judiciary Committee and onto the Floor for a vote. This is Senator Facey’s bill to remove offensive language about “Deviate Sexual Conduct”….the law was ruled unconstitutional in 1997 but the legislature insists on keeping it on the books as part of sentence in the Sex Crimes part of MCA that includes bestiality.

Rep. Ken Peterson still claims that the Court didn’t address this issue entirely and that the crime should stay on the books, including the FELONY status with a penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine up to$50,000 or both.

While we didn’t get the 60 votes required, we did get 51, including a number of Republicans who believe it is a privacy issue.

THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IN THE 20 PLUS YEARS I HAVE WORKED ON THIS TOPIC THAT WE HAVE EVER WON THE MAJORITY OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE!!!!

I view this a great progress, especially with the ultra conservative make up of the current legislature.

Sands, the first openly gay member of the Montana Legislature, is a force of nature and a champion of human rights. The words she chose to introduce her motion are powerful and deserve a look/listen:

The words of the opposition also need to be heard- the ignorance and intolerance are epic, an embarrassment to the State of Montana and, indeed the whole country.

Dirty Dancing Exposed

Hot on the heels of my Dirty Dancing post yesterday, Charles Johnson of the Lee State Bureau (Billings Gazette, Missoulian, Independent Record, Montana Standard, Ravalli Republic) has posted an article outlining the complaints against House Judiciary Chair Ken Peterson, R-Billings. Excerpt:

Advocates for civil rights, human rights and abortion rights say they aren’t getting a fair shake from House Judiciary Chairman Ken Peterson, R-Billings, at public hearings.

They are critical of Peterson’s fairness in scheduling and running hearings, his limiting the ability of people to testify or at least state their names, and his failing to stop representatives or witnesses from making inflammatory comments such as calling abortion providers murderers and homosexuality an abomination.

For his part, Peterson, serving his fourth term in the Montana House of Representatives, defended how he runs the committee and dismissed the criticisms.

“I would say they’re absolutely wrong,” he said. “I try to be fair to everybody. That’s my goal. I’m an attorney. I know it’s very important that all parties be treated the same.”

Au contraire!

Johnson’s article continues with numerous examples complaints of unfair treatment from Planned Parenthood,  Civil Liberties Union of Montana and the Montana Human Rights Network- all known organizations that Republicans fear and despise. The shenanigans on display by the Judiciary leadership provides an opportunity for Republicans to use code words to invoke a familiar response to their followers, making over  these human rights groups into bogeymen, conjuring up terror in the hearts of the ignorant and easily led. More:

“The chair is shutting down public comment, he’s shutting down hearings on bills that are life-and-death situations for Montanans,” (Stacy) Anderson (of Planned Parenthood of Montana) said, adding, “I think the civility has degraded, and I think some of the questions to people are degrading.”

…One committee member, Rep. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, said she believes Peterson violated House rules by not allowing people to come to the podium and at least state their name and their positions on four bills. She said she couldn’t recall this happening before, but figured out a way around it by reading to the committee the names on the sign-in sheet and having people stand as she called their names.

“It only takes a few minutes for people to stand and say their name,” Sands said. By not allowing people that courtesy, she said, “it shows disrespect to those people and to the legislative process.”

Diane Sands- a giant in Montana human rights as far as I’m concerned, is a shrewd and yet firmly convicted politician who has served this state- well beyond her constituency-with passion, distinction and strength. She’s well worth listening to. And Johnson’s article is worth reading in its entirety.

Maybe twice.

And Carol Williams, D-Missoula’s response for those of you who haven’t seen it: