Looking forward to a break
Last updated 2/28/2023 at 11:04am
Last week was the last week to get bills transferred over to the opposite legislative house in time to beat the bill cutoff known as transmittal. If the bill hasn’t moved by this week, unless it is a revenue bill, it is likely dead. With that deadline looming, it seems votes on certain bills are being leveraged for votes on other bills. This is too bad, as, in some cases, good bills can get lost in the fray. In order to meet transmittal cutoff, many Senate and House committees are running long in order to get public hearings completed and move bills. Fortunately for myself, the two afternoon committees I serve on have had only a couple prolonged meetings. After this push, the legislators are granted a few days for transmittal break; Judy and I are looking forward to being home for a few days.
As legislators, it’s imperative for us to carefully read the language in all bills that come across our committees and in session. Sometimes as I look at a bill, on the surface and with a clever title, it might seem to be a pretty good idea. However, as I read through the bill carefully, I try to think of what unintended consequences might happen if the bill were to pass or what perspective might be missing in the creation of the bill. That legislator’s “good idea” could be the start of their agenda, which may be leading to an end of something my local constituents would not support.
Case in point, a bill came through committee making a law that would supersede local bylaws or ordinances, a bill my constituents by-and-large would not support. Other issues I question that have come through committee are lot sizes, drain fields, access, school curriculum, on and on trying to take over local control.
There has been a push by a number of past and current legislators to use state tax dollars to fund private, home schools, and other types of schools. Prior to my election at the candidate forum in Havre, I was asked if I would support moving funds to private use. Just as I stated then, and during both school meetings and while visiting with individuals, my position on this issue has not changed. I will not support public school funds going to private schools.
A perennial issue at Legislature, and one that in my opinion is still happening, is the focus on fixes for larger cities like Billings, Bozeman, Missoula and the Flathead. I will continue to work on ensuring our rural cities and counties are not being ignored. Just a few thoughts.
As always, stay safe!
Sen Russ Tempel, R-Chester, can be emailed at [email protected] .