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House Bill 218 Vetoed, Designed To Assist Oil-Impacted Areas

(Editor’s Note: This article is based on interviews with Senator Matt Rosendale and Representative Austin Knudsen and reflects their opinion on House Bill 218.)
House Bill 218 was to be a relief bill to oil- and gas-impacted areas. Its purpose was to create a funding mechanism for infrastructure projects in
oilfield-impacted areas of eastern Montana. The bill was going to provide $35 million over the next two years or set up a grant program whereby local governments could apply for grants for specific infrastructure projects such as water and sewer. Ten percent of that revenue would be reserved for emergency services like police or fire departments.
This money was only a fraction of what it will cost to provide these necessary improvements. However, by utilizing these funds and other loans, communities would be able to improve their infrastructure and accommodate the additional population and commercial activity.
However, this relief bill was vetoed by Governor Steve Bul-lock at the end of the 63rd Legislative session.
If House Bill 218 had not been vetoed, then oil- and gas- impacted towns in eastern Montana would have access to this money starting in August. There would have been $15 million put in the fund at the beginning and another $10 million added during the 2014 fiscal year and the last $10 million added during the 2015 fiscal year.
The Department of Commerce was to administer the funds and review the projects and applications from local governments to rate them based on need for infrastructure and current growth.
The veto can be overturned by a vote of two-thirds of the Legislature. However, when interviewing Sen. Rosendale and Rep. Knudsen, they commented that the odds of this happening are slim and very difficult.
Although only eight legislators of 150 voted against the bill, meaning 142 voted for it, Sen. Rosendale gave two reasons why the process of overturning the veto would be difficult.
First, it is a citizen legislature which means that most of them have returned home to their full-time jobs and families. Although a ballot will be mailed to the legislators, they might not see it due to their own busy lives. It is up to legislators such as Sen. Rosendale to remind them of the importance of the House bill and why they voted for it in the first place. This means many phone calls and personal contact to get the message through.
The second reason is that Gov. Bullock is Democratic and will be applying pressure to other Democratic legislators to vote against the bill. Rep. Knudsen stated that the Republicans have a 61-39 majority in the House and even if all 61 of them vote to overturn
(Editor’s Note: This article is based on interviews with Senator Matt Rosendale and Representative Austin Knudsen and reflects their opinion on House Bill 218.)

Read more: House Bill 218 Vetoed, Designed To Assist Oil-Impacted Areas

 

Daines Determined To Fight For Montana’s Rights

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By Samantha Stanich
I interviewed Steve Daines, the United States Representative for Montana's at-large congressional district, about the recent gun proposal issue that is sweeping our nation and the state of Montana. He was steadfast about protecting the rights of Montanans and not letting Washington dictate how they are supposed to live.
Daines is dedicated to making sure to stop the efforts of Washington, D.C., bureaucrats trying to infringe on Montanan’s rights to bear arms.
“I am committed to protecting and defending Montana’s Second Amendment rights and will stand firm against efforts to infringe upon those rights. I have serious concerns that the President’s plan infringes upon those constitutional rights of the thousands of Montanans who safely and lawfully exercise their Second Amendment rights every day.”
Daines has gotten more input on the issue of gun control from Montana citizens than any other issue at large. He is determined to make sure that the Second Amendment is not taken away from law-abiding citizens of Montana.
He believes that those working on gun proposals in Washington, D.C., are just misguided distractions to the actual issue. They don’t seem to be doing anything to address the core of violent crimes that are occurring in our country, but are just blaming the weapon that caused the harm instead of investigating why the harm was caused.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein proposed an upgrade on the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and outlawing ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Daines believe this talk is just filibuster. He wants Americans to retain their constitutional rights and knows that there are already existing prohibitions with limited exceptions to the acquiring of assault rifles. Lawmakers with the best intentions put a ban on assault rifles years ago and gun violence was not reduced.
Daines is aware that the ban made no noticeable difference in gun violence statistics when it went into effect and no distinguishable difference when it was allowed to expire ten years later, in 2003. Again, it was well meant but not well thought through. The term “assault rifles” was created by the law that banned the firearms in order to strike fear into those listening but did not involve any practicality of a gun.
Reinstituting the ban on assault rifles that President Obama wants to make is idolized by most and misunderstood by more. The ban made it illegal to purchase machine guns and outlawed the ownership or use of high-capacity magazines in the hope that would save billions, perhaps trillions, of lives. This law is almost laughable to those not blinded by its shiny exterior. It had nothing to do with machine guns and real military-issue assault rifles and did little to nothing to impact violent crimes.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida stated, “Nothing
the president is proposing would have stopped the massacre at Sandy Hook. President Obama is targeting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens instead of seriously addressing the real underlying causes of such violence.”
Since the purpose of the law was to ban the sale and importation of certain semi-automatic, meaning one bullet fired per trigger pull, firearms as well as a larger group of firearms that had an arbitrarily selected list of cosmetic features.
The cosmetics did not affect the rate of fire, accuracy or range of the firearms impacted. A firearm was determined to be an “assault weapon” if it had two or more of the features like a folding telescope or a pistol grip which is common among semi-automatic rifles that are able to accept detachable magazines. The law was construed by lawmakers who desired to do well but who didn’t have the knowledge or expertise to pass a law with meaning or measurable impact.
Daines is fighting to stop efforts that infringe on Montanan’s right to bear arms and believes that this reinstatement of laws that the President has planned is not what Montanan’s need. They do not need Washington, D.C., telling them what to do when they safely and lawfully exercise their Second Amendment rights daily.
When it comes to background checks for all gun sales, including private ones, Daines supports that law that is on the books today. Universal background checks are a prohibition of delay to sell to law abiding citizens of Montana.
Daines asked the question: “What if you want to sell the gun to a family member? Or to a longtime neighbor?” He makes one think that to give a background check to a boy of 12 who is getting his grandfather’s gun seems a little bit silly.
Firearms in the state of Montana are an upstanding tradition and the solutions to gun-control and gun safety should be Montana solutions for the Montana people. The congressman does not want to see the discussions driven by D.C. bureaucrats but by those who know the strong heritage of sportsmanship in the Big Sky State.
Daines told the story of how he received his first gun when he was 22 years old. It was given to him by his grandfather and was a firearm that had been in his family for generations. And, I’m guessing a background check wasn’t conducted.
Hunting with his father and grandfather was a family tradition that the congressman has cherished his whole life and has passed down to his own four children. He went to a hunter’s safety course that was given by the State of Montana when he was just 12 years old and has gone to the same course with all four of his own children. His parents made the decision to educate him on guns just as he is doing as a parent. Daines doesn’t want Washington putting regulations on what parents can teach or hand down to their children when it comes to firearms.
The National Rifle Association has a children’s program called “Eddie Eagle” that has taught over 25 million young children that if they see a gun they should do four things: “Stop. Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.” This program has helped children learn the dangerous aspects of firearms and has decreased the amount of fatal firearm accidents.
The NRA has over 80,000 certified instructors who teach our military personnel, law enforcement officers and hundreds of thousands of other American men and women how to safely use firearms.
Daines is aware that the Sandy Hook shooting was a tragedy that affected every American. Whether they are
I interviewed Steve Daines, the United States Representative for Montana's at-large congressional district, about the recent gun proposal issue that is sweeping our nation and the state of Montana. He was steadfast about protecting the rights of Montanans and not letting Washington dictate how they are supposed to live.

Read more: Daines Determined To Fight For Montana’s Rights

 

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