Notes of a freshman legislator

At the half way point of the Montana Legislature, and 60 days into Greg Gianforte’s four year term as governor, it is a painfully clear that beyond more conservative policies being implemented and radically conservative legislation well on its way through the Montana House and Senate, the Republicans in leadership are intent on locking in …

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notes of a freshman legislator

I watched history being made this week.  I sit on the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks committee, and on Feb. 16, the tribes of Montana came together to speak out against a bill, HB 241, that would have allowed non-tribal members to hunt on privately owned lands inside Montana’s seven Indian reservations while ignoring tribal …

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notes of a freshman legislator

No surprise here.  Democrats and our good positions on many pieces of legislation were pounded again this past week.  On the floor, and over the votes of every Democrat, the Republican majority passed anti-immigration legislation and ended same day voter registration while the Fish Wildlife and Parks Committee passed two anti-wolf, pro-trapping bills.  Fortunately, my …

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Notes of a freshman legislator

I’m into the daily routine now:  caucus, committee hearing, floor session, committee hearing, walk, dinner, bed.  Repeat.  That’s it, for the next 75 legislative days.  Each portion of the day is filled with bills, some that require a lot of thought to understand and many that will have real impact on peoples lives.  I’m tired …

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Notes of a freshman legislator

My days start at 7 a.m. with Democratic Caucus Zoom call, so I’m getting up a little before 6. This past Monday, when the alarm went off, my first thought was, “It’s really bad.” The politics of the Legislature, that is. This thought has stayed with me throughout the week.  With all of two legislative …

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notes of a freshman legislator

Two of the most damaging bills yet introduced in 2021 Montana Legislature would limit athletic opportunities for transgender young people and bar medical professionals from using their best judgement in advising and treating them. My colleague Rep. Kathy Kelker (D-Billings) and I teamed up on this op-ed opposing this legislation. The Montana Legislature Must Protect …

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notes of a freshman legislator

While my friends and I have certainly read the reports of the deep divide that exists between Democrats and Republican over COVID, it still came as a shock yesterday when confronted with so many real people who really found ways to dismiss health warnings that have been so much a part of our lives since …

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notes of a freshman legislator

The job description of a legislator involves two fundamental elements.  The first is about crafting legislation, debating bills and finally voting, yea or nay.  The second and equally important element concerns representing voters, listening to their concerns and educating them on the issues of the day.  One of the most important issues confronting the 2021 …

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notes of a freshman legislator

Thanksgiving Day!  My family and friends are healthy and looking forward to Joe Biden becoming our next president.  As this challenging year comes to a close, this more than enough to be thankful for. I received my seating assignment yesterday from the Chief Clerk of the House.  While seating assignments aren’t necessarily a matter of …

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notes of a freshman legislator

I’ve just heard the news that the Administrator of the Government Services Administration (GSA) has signed off on acknowledging Joe Biden is the President-Elect and officially allowing the presidential transition to begin.  What a relief!  For the last few weeks I’ve swung from celebrating Biden’s election and the end of Trump’s awful reign and worrying …

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notes of a freshman legislator

I ran for the legislature for many reasons but one of them was to take on the challenges of a new career after my many years of work for the National Wildlife Federation.  While the results of the elections in Montana were devastating for Democrats, and while every Democratic legislator expects an extremely difficult session …

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