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Havreite says she’s ‘embarrassed’ by legislative actions

 


Havreite says she's 'embarrassed' by legislative actions

Tim Leeds

A Havre woman asked the message be passed on to local legislators that they are not speaking for everyone and that she sometimes is embarrassed by what her lawmakers are doing.

Karen Sloan said during a weekly video conference in Havre with local lawmakers, which only Sen. Rowlie Hutton, R-Havre, was able to attend, that she recently watched a hearing on a bill to make Montana a sovereign nation.

Sloan said Rep. Walter McNutt, R-Sidney, said during the hearing, "'We're looking like a lot of fools, ' and I certainly see that in a lot of things as I perceive things going on in Helena. "

Hutton said he couldn't speak for Reps. Wendy Warburton and Kris Hansen, who were in session in the House and could not attend the meeting. But, he said, oftentimes the details are what can make the difference.

Hutton said some bills he agrees with on principle he votes against, because technicalities or details of the bills create problems. He said he often calls back to Havre and Hill County for advice, and recently changed a vote on a bill after the Hill County Commission members told him they were against it.

"It could be a bill that we totally disagree with, but in the confines of the law we may have to agree with the bill. Those are some of the dilemmas that I face …, " Hutton said. "It's not a perfect system, but it's the one we try to use. "

But Sloan said she has been following the bills closely.

"Unfortunately, now that I'm retired I have the privilege of watching all the House committee meetings and all of the other meetings, and I guess I'm pretty much in on the whole thing, and it's making me crazy, " she said.

One of her examples was a bill by Hansen that overturns a Missoula ordinance preventing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the community. Sloan said she watched the bill pass under the argument that because the Montana Human Rights Act, which governs discrimination claims, does not protect that group local communities can't protect them.

Hansen then helped defeat a bill that would have added protection for that group under the Human Rights Act, Sloan said. It was tabled in committee, then failed on a vote to bring it out of committee to the House floor, 36-60.

"I'm embarrassed sometimes when I see some of the things that are going on down there, " she said.

Sloan is not alone in her opinion. Previous video conferences with the legislators have included people commenting on bills being proposed in the Legislature that they believe are sidetracking the lawmakers or flat out wasting their time.

Some of the actions have raised attention out of the state. A proposal by Rep. Wendy Warburton, R-Havre, to change how the Home Guard portion of the state militia is created and regulated, was covered on the Internet media source Huffington Post at the start of the month.

A Havre woman asked the message be passed on to local legislators that they are not speaking for everyone and that she sometimes is embarrassed by what her lawmakers are doing.

Karen Sloan said during a weekly video conference in Havre with local lawmakers, which only Sen. Rowlie Hutton, R-Havre, was able to attend, that she recently watched a hearing on a bill to make Montana a sovereign nation.

Sloan said Rep. Walter McNutt, R-Sidney, said during the hearing, "'We're looking like a lot of fools, ' and I certainly see that in a lot of things as I perceive things going on in Helena. "

Hutton said he couldn't speak for Reps. Wendy Warburton and Kris Hansen, who were in session in the House and could not attend the meeting. But, he said, oftentimes the details are what can make the difference.

Hutton said some bills he agrees with on principle he votes against, because technicalities or details of the bills create problems. He said he often calls back to Havre and Hill County for advice, and recently changed a vote on a bill after the Hill County Commission members told him they were against it.

"It could be a bill that we totally disagree with, but in the confines of the law we may have to agree with the bill. Those are some of the dilemmas that I face …, " Hutton said. "It's not a perfect system, but it's the one we try to use. "

But Sloan said she has been following the bills closely.

"Unfortunately, now that I'm retired I have the privilege of watching all the House committee meetings and all of the other meetings, and I guess I'm pretty much in on the whole thing, and it's making me crazy, " she said.

One of her examples was a bill by Hansen that overturns a Missoula ordinance preventing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the community. Sloan said she watched the bill pass under the argument that because the Montana Human Rights Act, which governs discrimination claims, does not protect that group local communities can't protect them.

Hansen then helped defeat a bill that would have added protection for that group under the Human Rights Act, Sloan said. It was tabled in committee, then failed on a vote to bring it out of committee to the House floor, 36-60.

"I'm embarrassed sometimes when I see some of the things that are going on down there, " she said.

Sloan is not alone in her opinion. Previous video conferences with the legislators have included people commenting on bills being proposed in the Legislature that they believe are sidetracking the lawmakers or flat out wasting their time.

Some of the actions have raised attention out of the state. A proposal by Rep. Wendy Warburton, R-Havre, to change how the Home Guard portion of the state militia is created and regulated, was covered on the Internet media source Huffington Post at the start of the month.

 

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