Kris Hansen: Dishonest Legislator?

That’s the question being raised over at Logicosity. The author seems to be onto some possibly very serious violations of ethics and law- which we’ve dealt with here.

You may remember Kris Hansen being vehemently opposed to equality in Montana- now it seems she’s tied into the Gianforte craziness.

It’s a three-parter totally worth checking out.

Enjoy!

Better Know a Legislator: Rep. Edie McClafferty and Rep. Kris Hansen

We’re less than a month away from the 2013 Montana Legislative Session. This session, much like the 2011 session, is sure to be a tough session for causes, issues and people that we value. It’s imperative that everyone who shares our values gets involved by either testifying, contacting your legislators, writing letters to your local paper or simply talking to your friends and neighbors about what is happening in the session.

As a primer for the session, I decided that I’d do a few short profiles on some of the legislators that are sure to be making news throughout the session–bot for good reasons and bad.

With that, I’m proud to bring you the first edition of From Eternity to Here’s “Better Know a Legislator” series, where I’ll profile one of my favorite legislators Rep. Edie McClafferty (D-Butte) and one of my least favorite legislators Rep. Kris Hansen (R-Havre).

Rep. Edie McClafferty, HD 75

Rep. McClaffertyRep. Edie McClafferty is serving her 3rd term representing the people of Butte and Silver-Bow County, and was recently elected as part of the leadership in the House, where she’ll serve as one of the Democratic Whips.

Rep. McClafferty is a Butte native, and is a public school teacher. Her commitment to a strong public education system is why I was thrilled when she was named vice-chair of the House Education Committee. In this committee she’ll almost certainly see attempts to divert public funds to private, unaccountable charter and religious schools. She’ll also serve on the House Tax and House Rules committees.

In addition to being a staunch advocate for Montana’s students, Rep. McClafferty has also been a strong ally to the LGBT community in Montana. In the 2013 session, as she did in the 2011 session, Rep. McClafferty will be sponsoring a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, hiring and public accommodations. While this bill faces long odds, Rep. McClafferty never backs down from an opportunity to stand up for her values.

Rep. Kris Hansen, HD 33

HansenI intentionally chose to profile Rep. McClafferty with Rep. Hansen because they are essentially polar opposites.

Hansen represents one of the two Havre House districts. She’s serving her second term, after barely winning her election.

Hansen formerly served as a deputy county attorney, but abruptly resigned last year in order to work on education policy. After resigning her job, Hansen promised to disclose who was paying her for her services, however she has never lived up to her promise.

The fact that we don’t know who is paying Hansen for her educational policy lobbying is especially troubling because she’s going to be the chair of the House Education Committee in 2013. As you watch her decisions and the bills that come out of the House Education Committee, it’s important to remember that she’s receiving her paychecks from an undisclosed educational policy group. This is corruption at its worst.

While writing this post I looked at Hansen’s financial disclosure form- something she’s required to fill out to run for office. Interestingly, she claims that her primary source of income is from a private law practice. However, when I looked at the Secretary of State’s database of registered businesses, it appears that Hansen’s private practice was established just two days before she filed to run for reelection. Not only that, Hansen’s private practice is registered out of her own house. It sounds to me like Hansen is trying to cover her tracks. It’ll be interesting to see if any reporters investigate this during the session.

However, if you’ve heard of Hansen, it’s probably not because of her corruption on education. It’s probably because Hansen sponsored a bill last legislative session that sought to prohibit municipalities from expanding protections beyond the state’s Human Rights Act. This bill essentially would have nullified the Missoula, and now Helena, nondiscrimination ordinance. Thus far Hansen has not requested a similar bill for the 2013 session.

Judy Martz: War On Women “Made Up”

Just when you thought it was safe to, well, do anything- Judy Martz starts doing what she does best: muddying the waters of Montana politics. And guess who’s helping her?

From Montana Cowgirl Blog:

The GOP’s War on Women is “something fictitious and made up,” former Governor Judy Martz told a group of Havre Republicans yesterday.  The Havre Daily News has the story on the latest  ludicrous statement from the former Republican governor.

Martz is infamous for diminishing the dangers of domestic violence and belittling the women who are its victims. In a January, 2001 speech to an audience of 650 people in Butte, Martz said:

“My husband has never battered me, but then again, I’ve never given him a reason to.”

Besides Martz, the dream team that Republicans assembed to convince us that there is no War on Women included: TEA Party legislators Rep. Wendy Warburton and Kris Hansen of Havre,  candidate for state school superintendent Sandy Welch, and Ronalee Skees. Ronalee is the wife of TEA Party poster boy Rep. Derek Skees, who is running for state auditor.

I can’t think of a worse group of women to make the claim that women’s rights aren’t under attack.  These GOPers exemplify the efforts to restrict women’s rights.  Each  has either introduced anti-women legislation or championed the War on Women through work with right-wing causes.

Definitely do not miss reading this entire article.  The Martz quotes alone are mind-bogglingly stupid. There’s even a reference to something Martz calls “meanness ears.”

But Martz’s loony, oddly-worded statements are only the beginning.  Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Sandy Welch, who is a transplant from California, told the Havre Republicans of her belief that there is no glass ceiling. Rather, says Welch, women just “weren’t going into positions that would advance them to leadership” by choice.  Even Welch’s idol Sarah Palin talked about the importance of breaking the glass ceiling. Perhaps Welch doesn’t read the paper.

And let’s not forget Wendy Warburton’s explanation for the lack of GOP women candidates. Warburton said a couple of years back, “the biggest reason that more women who are Republicans don’t get into politics is because we are the pro-family party” and are home raising kids like the women of the pro-family party should be.

Read the whole article here.

Havre Has It!

A kick-ass event, that is.

The Havre Daily News had a great write-up about today’s event with Jamee Greer of the Montana Human Rights Network and the Pride Foundation’s Montana Organizer, Caitlin Copple. The meeting will be held in the Crowley Room, on the second floor of MSU Northern’s Student Union tonight from 6-8pm. It’s purpose is

 “to hear the inside scoop on the 2011 Legislature and its implications” for civil rights of Montana’s gay and lesbian community, according to an email from Pride Foundation Organizer Caitlin Copple.

Copple and MHRN lobbyist Jamee Greer are bringing their organizations together for this meeting, which Greer said made this event unique from others he has already held in Missoula, Bozeman and Whitefish.

Part of the reason that Havre will be receiving special treatment is because it is Hansen’s home district, after she sponsored House Bill 516, a bill that was intended to overturn a Missoula ordinance protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

We all remember Kris Hansen, don’t we? If not, try going here.

Good things being done by good people. Support them if you can.

HDN story here.

The Joke (on us) Has (at least for now) Ended.

Yes, folks, the circus that was the 62nd Legislature of the State of Montana has been officially closed.

It was one of the most contentious sessions in memory- and one of the most publicized. Sadly, for Republicans, it was mostly at their expense. Republican lawmakers introduced the most ridiculed and bigoted legislation in Montana history- giving the state its fair share of national media attention. Only some of it good.

Mostly it was about third-rate candidates such as Billy Bob Wagner, who introduced legislation to reinstate the gold standard, and was laughed at nationally on Anderson Cooper 360 for his ridiculous “birther” bill (but mostly for his stupidity). Then there was Kris Hansen, a “secret lesbian” who introduced one of the most pro-discrimination legislative actions to ever hit the aisles of the Capitol. Mary Cheney, anyone? And the Montana GOP, for no good reason other than to perpetuate hate and shame, voted to keep The Gays illegal- and we heard some of the most disgusting testimony to ever foul a Capitol microphone.

And don’t forget (as if I could) Janna Taylor’s ridiculous, ignorant and dangerous comments about HIV in the Montana prison system. In my opinion, the defining moment of the session. And that is a short list of all the craziness perpetuated at the time and expense of the people of Montana-a better list is here.

But I want to take a minute to thank the legislators who spent a great deal of their time and energy standing up for the rights of Montanans. Diane Sands, Carol Williams, Christine Kaufmann and Bryce Bennett all spent a lot of time defending equality and testifying against discrimination, bigotry and homophobia in this session. If you see any of them, thank them. Buy them a drink.

Hell, give them a kidney if they need one.

It is folks such as these- and all who testified, protested, blogged and wrote letters-, who keep our freedoms alive- and who stand in the face of political bigotry and chicanery.  And let’s not forget Jamee Greer, Mike Wessler, Niki Zupanic and all the representatives of groups who lobbied for human equality- they get all the abuse, ridicule and sleepless nights, but not enough recognition. Drinks and kidneys for them, too.

Let’s give Carol Williams the last word (for now):

“I’m proud of our work.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I will wish you luck in the next session probably trying to fix a lot of the things we broke this time.”

Displaced Anger And Civility

Yesterday’s post ended rather snarkily on my part.

I dismissed the abuse suffered by Rep Kris Hansen (R) Havre with:

That’s nothing- we LGBT people have been putting up with this all our lives.  Wimp.

I admit, I was angered by her lack of understanding of the abuse this bill attempts to codify into law and her whining about some answering machine obscenities and impassioned people in public. That kind of stuff seems to be a part of a controversial person living a public life, and the deep reality of the anger that this bill provokes.

However, I don’t ever want to convey the impression that I believe that this kind of incivility is something that I condone. No human being should ever be subjected to threats because of a political position- even when that position infringes on the rights of other human beings to pursue safety, happiness and well-being.

Having said that, the anger and other strong emotions  elicited by this legislation should not be suppressed. That’s part of the process, too. But those strong emotions should never be used to intimidate, coerce and threaten. That’s fascism.

And we’re better than that.

HB 516 “Probably” Dead

The Associated Press:

A Republican senator says a measure to overturn a Missoula city ordinance that protects gay people from discrimination lacks support from GOP leadership.

The Senate Local Government Committee passed House Bill 516 last week. But the bill was returned to the committee Tuesday and chairman Sen. Jon Sonju says it is doubtful the measure will go to the Senate floor.

Sonju says he moved the measure back to committee because it doesn’t have the support of Senate leaders.

The proposal, carried by Republican Rep. Kristin Hansen, drew lengthy testimony during its hearings in the House and Senate.

Supporters said the bill would overturn an unconstitutional ordinance that infringes on the state’s authority.

Opponents said the measure is targeted against the gay community and interferes with local governments’ ability to govern.

And from the Billings Gazette, the travails of poor Rep Kris Hansen:

Hansen told reporters Wednesday that she intends to ask that the bill be brought back to the full Senate for a debate.

Also on Wednesday, at a meeting of House Republicans, Hansen played a threatening voice mail she had received regarding HB516. She said she turned it over to the Helena Police Department, which is subpoenaing the phone records. If they find who left the message, the lawmaker said she would ask that charges be brought against the caller.

The voice mail, from what appeared to be a male caller, said:

“Here are some of my thoughts for you. If I were you, I would stop spreading hate and intolerance and bigotry against people and their loved ones. The Bible says you reap what you sow, and you and your loved ones are going to get that hate back and then who knows what might happen to you.”

It ended with an insult against her that contained with some obscenities.

“That’s not isolated,” Hansen said. “I get regularly, sometimes daily. I’ve also been accosted twice in Helena by members in opposition to 516 in my face, shaking their fingers in public places, in restaurants, calling me all of these names and more.”

That’s nothing- we LGBT people have been putting up with this all our lives. Wimp.