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!

Montana Non Discrimination Bill Hearing Tomorrow

From MHRN:

Our Hearing on State-Wide Non-Discrimination Protection is TOMORROW!

The hearing for HB 481 to amend the Montana Human Rights Act to include protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression will be heard tomorrow morning! The bill is sponsored by Rep. Edie McClafferty of Butte, here are the details:

House Judiciary Committee
Room 137
Tuesday, February 19th
8:00 AM

We received less than 24 hours notice for this hearing. That means it is difficult for people who live outside of Helena to come and testify in support of the bill. We know this is frustrating, but we are asking people who live in Helena to help us have a significant presence at this hearing!  HB 481 will protect LGBT Montanans from discrimination in a number of key areas including housing, employment, and public accommodations.  Read the bill by clicking here.

Two ways you can help!
1)      Come to the Capitol tomorrow morning and show your support! We aren’t sure how much time we will have for testimony, so bring a written copy that you can submit to the committee! Scroll down for some notes on decorum at the Capitol.

2)      Contact the House Judiciary Committee right now and urge them to support HB 481! You can do this by calling the Capitol switchboard at 406-444-4800 and asking to leave a message for the House Judiciary Committee. You can also use the Legislature’s web-based form by clicking here and choosing to send your message to the entire committee.

Let us know if you can make the hearing by replying to Jamee@mhrn.org. We’re frustrated about the short notice, but we are going to make the best of it.

Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,
Kim

Kim Abbott

Montana Human Rights Network

Information and Reminders for Hearing on HB 481

Please do not engage opponents of LGBT equality.  Our efforts to achieve legal protections for LGBT Montanans are about dignity, fairness, and security.  We want to bring those values into the hearing room. Engaging our opponents outside, or inside, the committee room is not a good use of our collective energy!

Chairman Kerns has run a fair committee this session, but we know that our time for testimony will be limited and we want as many people as possible to be able to testify on the record. Please keep your remarks concise so that we can have as many supporters of LGBT legal protections as possible get up to the microphone. Try not to repeat testimony, be respectful, and talk about how this policy would affect you, your family, your friends, and your community. Our testimony is most effective when we stick to our values and talk about our lives!

We are asking all supporters of LGBT equality to respect decorum inside the committee room. This means no clapping, booing, or interrupting others. Lastly, we’d like to remind all our supporters to be smart, safe, take care of themselves, and to look out for one another.

Racing in the Wrong Direction on Gun Issues

The most common type of gun confiscated by pol...

The most common type of gun confiscated by police and traced by the ATF are .38 special revolvers, such as this Smith and Wesson Model 60 .38 Special revolver with a 3-inch barrel. LaPierre, Wayne (1994). Guns, Crime, and Freedom . Regnery Publishing. p. 58. ISBN 0895264773. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The terrible events in Newtown sent my mind racing this weekend. I kept coming back to where we in Montana stand on preventing gun violence in our state. It was clear that we’re not just moving in the wrong direction on preventing gun violence in Montana we’re racing in the wrong direction.

The best way to illustrate this point is by looking at the work of Sen. Dave Lewis (R-Helena). Last session, Sen. Lewis chaired the Senate Finance & Claims Committee (the primary Senate budget committee), and, as chair, he slashed funding for crucial services- including mental health services. He and his Republican colleagues maintained that the state didn’t have enough money to pay for treating and providing support for those with mental illness (and some other issues as well).

While Lewis was busy slashing services for Montanans, he sponsored a bill that would have given tax cuts to gun ammunition manufacturers to “ensure availability.”

So in Sen. Dave Lewis’ world, we have enough money to give ammunition manufacturers tax cuts, but we don’t have the money to provide mental health counselling for Montana’s most vulnerable people.

While I do find Lewis to be one of the most detestable political figures in Montana history, this post isn’t about him. It’s about the fact that through their decisions, Montana’s elected officials are making our communities more vulnerable to the types of gun violence we’ve seen throughout the country over the past few years.

In the 2011 legislative session, there were 13 bills introduced related to guns and firearms. Only 2 of these bills could be construed as gun control measures. The rest would have done things to allow guns in banks, bars and other buildings. These bills would have allowed people to carry concealed weapons (simply by telling themselves they were allowed to), and would have even allowed students in public schools to bring guns on campus.

We as a state, much like the country, have to get beyond partisan dogfights over guns and gun violence, and have an honest effort to pass policies that will keep our communities safer. These policies must deal with not only rules about who, when, and where you can carry guns, but they must also deal with ensuring adequate mental health services for all Montanans.

I’ll be honest, I don’t expect our elected officials to display the courage to push responsible gun control laws. But I do think we have an opportunity to tackle the mental health aspect of the puzzle.

The Medicaid expansion that is part of the Affordable Care Act is our best chance to expand mental health coverage to tens of thousands of currently uninsured Montanans. This expansion is the part of the Affordable Care Act(ACA) that the US Supreme Court ruled states had the option of whether or no to implement.

Unfortunately, this expansion is sure to get marred by political games by Republicans who refuse to vote in support of anything related to the ACA. While Republicans may hold majorities in the legislature, Democrat Steve Bullock will hold the Governor’s office, and its bully pulpit and veto pen. He should use this bully pulpit and veto pen to ensure the Medicaid expansion is implemented in our state.

Governor Schweitzer accounted for the expansion in his final budget proposal, but thus far Bullock hasn’t said whether or not he’ll push for the expansion.

I hope that the horrible events of Friday will provide Bullock with a little more incentive to champion the expansion of Medicaid as a means of preventing gun violence in our state, without taking on a battle over gun control laws that he almost certainly cannot win with the legislature. If Bullock does this, we’ll begin to finally take small steps towards preventing gun violence in Montana.

Political Candidates Respond To “Big Gay Invitation”

You may have read about the Openly Gay Elected Officials and Candidates Breakfast being hosted by the Pride Foundation and Women Vote during Montana Pride.

If you haven’t,  it’s here.

We’ve gotten some amazing responses so far. I wanted to highlight a few:

AG candidate Jim Shockley let us know through his assistant that he can’t attend due to the Montana Republican Convention that same weekend.

Legislative candidate from the Flathead Reservation Tom Camel declined because Bozeman is “too far,” but says he “supports Pride in the ways I can.”

“Dear Caitlin,  I would love to come to your breakfast mixer but I work on Saturdays.   I absolutely support equality for ALL and wish I could be there to support you and meet potential collaborators.  If you have any questions of me, please ask.  Keep me up on other events and I’ll try and make it.  Sincerely,  Jessie Nichols for House Distict 14 (Alberton)

“My wife and I would like to join you for the breakfast mixer.  I’m running for Senate District 36 (Beaverhead and Madison counties).  We’re also the proud parents of a gay daughter. My campaign website is at www.turnerforsenatedistrict36.com. – Richard Turner, Dillon

“I received your invitation to the festivities in Bozeman, unfortunately my husband and I will be in Germany visiting our son who is stationed there with the Air Force.  I’m sorry to miss meeting all the legislators and many supporters.  Will you be having any events in Billings?  Thank you again for the invitation and I hope the events of that week go well. Best, Debbie Willis Candidate, HD 50 (Billings).

“You can count me in as a supporter of the Gay Community and Women everywhere! – Norma Duffy,  Democratic Candidate of HD72 – Beaverhead County

“Thank you for your invitation to the June 16th event. Due to the distances I will be unable to attend. Please know that I am a huge supporter of all rights for women. They by the way seem to be more treated then ever.”
Sincerely, Peggy Steffes Candidate for HD 89 representative” (Bitterroot Valley)

I received your invitation to this breakfast and I would like to attend.  I left a message on your cell phone.  I need to know what exit gets off highway 90.  I’ve got a map.  Maybe you’ll be able to point me in the right direction for the parade too.  (I don’t know my way around Bozeman as well as I should).  So this is my RSVP and I look forward to meeting you all.  Marla Clark for House District 83 (Helena)

Awesome support for LGBT’s in Montana! Still time to make it if you’d like- donations accepted but never required!

Please RSVP by Thursday, June 14 by texting or calling Pride Foundation’s Regional Development Organizer in Montana, Caitlin Copple at 546.7017 or by emailing caitlin@pridefoundation.org.

Disturbed? Run For Office!

A friend recently drew my attention to some of the similarities between the recently announced KKK GOP Congressional candidate in Montana and some of the extremist members of the Republican Party in the Montana Legislature. I thought I’d share a few with you. So, just to catch you up:

John Abarr, a former organizer for the KKK, filed to run in the Republican primary for Montana’s congressional seat on May 25, 2011. (More info here: http://helenair.com/news/article_613dd194-8cdc-11e0-9dfc-001cc4c002e0.html)

Abarr’s ties to the KKK have been well documented. Of his affiliation with the Klan, he has said:

“It’s not any different than the NAACP,” he says. “The Klan is basically a civil rights organization that stands up for the rights of white people. The Montana Human Rights Network likes to blow everything out of proportion.”

Gotta love the logic. Republicans, such as gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill have tried to distance themselves from this guy.  However, after this legislative session in Montana, it’s hard to deny the fact that he is well within the extremist wing of the Republican party.

LGBT Issues

Abarr has also called for the deportation of gays, lesbians and Jewish people: http://missoulanews.bigskypress.com/missoula/etc/Content?oid=1133942 And, as I’ve reported numerous times, the Montana Republican Party Platform calls for the re-criminalization of gay people in the state:

“We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal.”

During the Legislative session, Republicans refused to remove language that had been ruled unconstitutional by both the state and federal supreme courts calling for the criminalization of gays and lesbians from Montana law. And they made  disgusting comments on the bill :

 Some Republicans even denied that the courts had struck down the statute

HIV/AIDS

According to the Human Rights Network, Abarr sent a flier to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle in 2007, urging Bozeman residents to stay inside to avoid contracting HIV during the Montana Pride Celebration. He claimed that HIV could be transmitted by air. 

During the most recent legislative session, Republican House Speaker Pro Tempe, Rep. Janna Taylor claimed people in prison were spreading HIV by blowdarts: http://www.youtube.com/watchv=igYKflAdzjo&feature=channel_video_title

Racial Minorities

Abarr said of his choice to move to Montana:

“I’ve pretty much decided since I spent some time in California that it (a pure white Christian nation) is just not gonna be. I mean there’s so many of them (racial minorities),” Abarr says, adding that in Montana it’s easier to achieve an all-white society.”

Republican Rep. James Knox introduced a bill that would redefine what a citizen of Montana is and essentially ignore the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. This bill would have likely removed citizenship from Native Americans and the children of immigrants in the state.

Convinced? I’ll bet there’s more if you look.

The key to redefining politics in this state is to redefine politicians. We effectively tied the hands of the most effective tool (building relationships) by enacting term limits. There is no longer any reason for any of our state legislators to cultivate relationships for the good of the people of the State of Montana- instead, people are just interested in ramming their own crazy-ass agendas through the legislative process.

Reason will only prevail when we elect reasonable people- people who are interested in communicating, are not threatened by differences and will work to guarantee a future in this state for all its people- not just a few…

Flathead News Alert!

Cowgirl reports that Frank Miele, editor of the Flathead Daily Interlake is a vitriolic birther, who’s defending Billy Bob Wagner’s bill to require presidential birth certificates to be on the ballot in Montana. Miele also goes after Anderson Cooper, on whose show Wagner was completely unmasked as a redneck jackass (apologies to Democrats).

Must be seen to be believed. Read it here.

 

Stand Up Against Discrimination!

HB 516, which seeks to overturn the Missoula Ordinance and ban further ordinances of its kind, is coming up in the House Judiciary this Friday at 8 am. Also coming up that session will be HB 514, which seeks to add gender identity and sexual orientation to the Montana Human Rights Act.

Let’s show the legislators how important equality is to Montanans.

For those of you in Missoula, there will be carpooling  to Helena. Meet at the Eastgate Parking Lot at 6 am.

Facebook page here.

Spread the word- PFLAG chapters, parents, siblings, children, allies, come together!