Archive for the ‘Montana Policy Center’ Category

MTSSA’s Gary Marbut: Statement On The Newtown Mass Murders

December 18, 2012 2 comments

Montana Shooting Sports Association leader decries gun-free zones

By GWEN FLORIO of the Missoulian

Gary Marbut’s phone is ringing all the time these days with calls from national news organizations, along with lawmakers and citizens.

As some gun rights advocates call for increased firearms control, and others clam up entirely, Marbut is the go-to guy for quotes about maintaining the status quo or – better yet, he’d say – loosening gun regulations.

“I hear people say there needs to be a national dialogue about these bad guns,” said Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association. “I would respond to them to say I think there needs to be a national dialogue about the horrible public policy failure of the alleged gun-free zones. That’s the dialogue.”

Marbut is hardly alone in opposing gun-free zones. But for the past few days he’s been largely on his own as a gun advocate speaking openly about his positions in the aftermath of the shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school that took the lives of 20 children and six adults.

The National Rifle Association took down its Facebook page after the shooting. The page went back up Tuesday, with a statement from NRA President Wayne LaPierre saying “we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting,” and adding that the NRA will offer “meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.” Pierre promised a “major” news conference Friday.

The Newtown-headquartered National Shooting Sports Foundation (not affiliated with Marbut’s group) posted a short statement on its website Friday, the day of the shooting:

“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of this horrible tragedy in our community. Out of respect for the families, the community and the ongoing police investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment or participate in media requests at this time.”

On Tuesday, it expanded upon that, pointing out that in a small community like Newtown, “not suprisingly, we had family, friends and acquaintances that were affected. We are weighed down by their heartbreaking stories and the sorrow that has blanketed our community.” That statement reiterated the group’s decision not to publicly discuss the issue.


Marbut said Tuesday that three issues require focus in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre: Perspective. Armed teachers. And gun-free zones.

He’s strongly in favor of the first two, and just as vehemently opposed to the last.

In terms of perspective, he likened the odds of a child being injured by “an insane active shooter” to being hit by lightning. In 2011, 240 people were injured by lightning and 39 died, according to the National Weather Service.

This year, the shootings in Newtown, at a Christian college in California and at a school cafeteria in Oregon killed a total of 36 people.

Marbut suggested that people concerned about protecting children might, “in a more rational world,” want to focus on the far greater risks posed by automobiles and water, he said. The Centers for Disease Control lists accidents as the leading cause of death for people ages 5 to 24. The second-leading cause for those ages 5 to 14 is cancer; for 15- through 24-year-olds, it’s homicide, according to the CDC.

As for arming teachers – and Marbut stressed that should be on a volunteer basis only – “if we believe that the potential for crazy people to shoot up schools is a genuine risk we need to address, then the rational way to do that … is to allow, through public policy, teachers who are willing to undertake the responsibility” to carry.

On Monday, Virginia Gov. Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va., told a local radio station that a discussion is needed on arming teachers.

One school district in Texas has been allowing teachers to carry for years. Superintendent David Thweatt told Fox News in 2008 that “we are seeing a lot of anger in society. … When you make schools gun-free zones, it’s like inviting people to come in and take advantage.”

Marbut said such zones defy logic, requiring the belief that “some madman who will ignore the most profound prohibition for any society, the prohibition against taking innocent life … somebody who has crossed all those stark lines would get to the edge of a gun-free zone and think to himself, ‘They have a policy against guns here, so I’d better go home and play computer games.’ ”

“Anyone who believes that,” Marbut added, “needs help.”

When it comes to the Newtown shootings, Marbut said that “like everybody else, I was stunned that a human being could be so crazy as to do something like that.”

That was his first reaction. His second?

“I wish I could’ve been there. If I had been there, it would have been one (victim) and done.”

Reporter Gwen Florio can be reached at 523-5268, or @CopsAndCourts.


Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer Stands By Second Amendment

December 18, 2012 1 comment

TWG:  I’m not a fan of Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, but at least he’s taking a stand for our Second Amendment and pointing out the dangers of video games in creating these mass murdering monsters that slaughter innocent school children.  I still dislike  Schweitzer, but I’ll thank him for this.


As Dems Cave, Gov Stands by 2nd Amendment

Aaron Flint posted on December 18, 2012 11:46

In the wake of the horrific school violence in Newtown, Connecticut, the few prominent Democratic politicians who back the 2nd Amendment, like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. John Warner (D-VA), appear to be backtracking from their prior defense of gun rights.

Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana, a rumored 2014 US Senate or 2016 presidential candidate; however, is standing firm in his support of gun rights.

“I don’t want to sound like a terrorist here, but you give me 20 gallons of propane- I can do a lot of damage in a very short period of time,” said Schweitzer during Tuesday morning’s Voices of Montana statewide radio talk show. “If there are evil people they can use guns, or as we’ve seen in Russia, they can also use things like propane.  You can use natural gas.  Five gallons of gasoline and imagine what can happen.”

Schweitzer added that he continues to oppose efforts by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to reinstate an assault weapons ban, and aimed his ire in the direction of video game manufacturers:

SCHWEITZER: “They plan to bring that legislation back, but that actually wouldn’t change anything thing that happened back there in Connecticut in terms of what gun was used and what types of guns could be used.”

“This is evil and it has everything to do with mental illness and look I’m gonna pick on somebody right now.  You wanna pick on somebody?  How about those video game manufacturers, where an entire generation are glued to a screen for 6 or 8 hours a day while they are poking buttons and blowing other people up and shooting them in the face.”



Will State Lawmakers Stand Against Voters And Impose Obamacare?

November 16, 2012 2 comments


By Dana Loesch

Source: DanaLoeschRadio.Com


Going solely on the remarks of Missouri State Rep. Jay Barnes, that answer is yes.

Yesterday I promised to assist in the primarying of any Republican lawmaker who refused to stand with the people who have twice voted against Obamacare. I disagreed on Twitter with Rep. Barnes’s assessment of our options where it concerns state exchanges and asked him about his quote in the St. Louis’s daily. His reasoning is that it’s better for us to implement Obamacare exchanges at the state level because that way we retain some sort of control, a premise that I and a frillion other conservatives who have followed this topic closely strongly dispute — along with Governors Perry, Jindal, Walker, Kasich, Snyder, Scott, and others, plus voters in Alabama, Montana, Wyoming, my state of Missouri, Ohio, Arizona, and Oklahoma who have voted for or amended their state constitutions to exclude Obamacare, and the 27 states suing over Obamacare — Barnes’s assessment. But apparently, we’re all uninformed and it’s a good thing we have state lawmakers with imperialistic complexes to guide us through the difficulties of self government.

I figured that we would end up agreeing to disagree but what I did not expect was to be yelled at, grotesquely condescended to, and have my intelligence questioned on live air by a sitting state representative simply because I disagreed with his opinion. I was shocked, to say the least. I want better for my listeners than a conversation where one party constantly interrupts and talks over the other one as she tries to ask a question. I wished it had gone better.



One question I tried to ask, to which Rep. Barnes responded with straw man and immediately convoluted, concerned how the Supreme Court gave states an opt out where it concerns Medicaid. Specifically:

By upholding the mandate as a constitutional exercise of Congress’s taxing power in June, the U.S. Supreme Court maintained the provision that helped hold the law together. But if the mandate is the cement, the law’s expansion of Medicaid and establishment of subsidized health insurance exchanges is the house itself. It’s these two provisions that will be responsible for $1.7 trillion of spending over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.




One of the silver linings of the Supreme Court decision is that it gave states the ability to opt out of the Medicaid expansion. Medicaid is one of the programs that is crushing state budgets and if implemented as intended, Obamacare will add 18 million beneficiaries to the program’s rolls. Though the federal government lures states with a honey pot in the short term – covering all of the expansion through 2016, by 2020 the states will be asked to kick in 10 percent of the cost, amounting to billions of dollars of spending imposed on states nationwide each year. It would be to the long-term benefit of governors to opt of the expansion.

How are states going to cope with this added cost?

My colleague Jagadeesh Gokhale estimates that expanding Medicaid will cost individual states up to $53 billion over the first ten years. That’s before an emboldened President Obama follows through on his threats to shift more Medicaid costs to states.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to fully ask this question at it relates to Missouri as Barnes interrupted and stated that Obamacare has nothing to do with this. Obamacare has nothing to do with increasing Medicaid costs for the states?

The law requires states to offer Medicaid to everyone making less than 138 percent of the poverty line — just over $30,000 for a family of four. In exchange, the federal government covers the cost of the expansion for the first three years — and 90 percent thereafter.


Sounds like a great deal for the states. But the administrative expenses involved in expanding the program will increase Medicaid costs for most states — even during the period when the government foots the bill, according to a new survey conducted by the Government Accountability Office.

Oooook. I’m not sure if Rep. Barnes understood what I was trying to ask or if he was excited and heard something else. I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt even if his manners today have shown he doesn’t deserve such a courtesy; there’s simply no way possible that one can separate Obamacare from the increased costs states are going to assume with Medicaid in addition to the costs associated with operating the health exchanges estimated to be anywhere from $10 million to $100 million per year.

Furthermore, there is only the appearance of state control. As Phillip Klein notes:

Though the law creates the veneer of providing states with flexibility on the exchanges, the reality is that all of the major decisions – from the broad structure of the exchanges to the details of what kind of health care plans will be offered in the exchanges and how they will be marketed – will be made from Washington. A careful reading of the law finds that all of the sections about state “flexibility” are filled with caveats that render them useless in practice, because Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius will be running the show. For instance, Obamacare specifies that, “The Secretary shall, by regulation, establish criteria for the certification of health plans as qualified health plans.” And later orders that “An Exchange may not make available any health plan that is not a qualified health plan.” In other words, Sebelius will get to decide what type of health care plans can be offered on these state exchanges.


The law dictates that states must “assign a rating to each qualified health plan offered through such Exchange in accordance with the criteria developed by the Secretary” and “utilize a standardized format for presenting health benefits plan options in the Exchange.” The law also specifies that health plans must disclose certain information in plain language. Who determines what constitutes plain language? Well: “The Secretary and the Secretary of Labor shall jointly develop and issue guidance on best practices of plain language writing.” Then, there’s this dandy: “An Exchange may not establish rules that conflict with or prevent the application of regulations promulgated by the Secretary under this subtitle.”


Given that governors will have no real control over the exchanges anyway, they may as well let Obama administration officials sleep in the bed they made for themselves.

Rep. Barnes’s claims, and the claims of any Missouri Republican who say that these exchanges will be free of HHS oversight, simply don’t make sense, especially as the law itself dictates otherwise.

Barnes’s argument is that because Prop E says “legislature,” the will of the voters can be overlooked, emphasis mine:

Shall Missouri Law be amended to prohibit the Governor or any state agency, from establishing or operating state-based health insurance exchanges unless authorized by a vote of the people or by the legislature?


No direct costs or savings for state and local governmental entities are expected from this proposal. Indirect costs or savings related to enforcement actions, missed federal funding, avoided implementation costs, and other issues are unknown.

Reminder: the people of Missouri have twice rejected the supremely unpopular law. Being elected to office isn’t a free pass to supplant voters’ will with that of your own.

I want to help the Republican party become more constitutionally-focused and see them win more elections. It’s really difficult to do that when voters feel undermined after twice making their wishes known to lawmakers only to find them falling upon deaf ears.

Help me help you. 

Please keep the pressure on.

Montana HD 3 Legislator Jerry O’Neil Requests Salary Paid In Gold and Silver

November 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Montana House District 3 Legislator Jerry O’Neil has made a request that, considering the monetary policy of the obama regime and the federal reserve,  he be paid in gold and silver currency.  In the letter, he  notes that the U.S. Constitution  prohibits the payment of debts in anything but gold and silver, and says that his oath to the Constitution and the people he represents can only be honored if the government pays his legislative salary to him  “in gold and silver coins that will still have value when the U.S. dollar is reduced to junk status.”

The full copy of the letter (pdf) is available below:

November 12, 2012
State of Montana Legislative Services
Central Services Office
Post Office Box 201706
Helena, Montana 59620-1706

Re: Legislator Compensation

Dear Legislative Services:

Last week I was re-elected to serve the people of House District 3 as their Representative in the Montana Legislature. Once again it will be my privilege to take the oath of office, promising to obey and protect the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Montana.

When campaigning, some of my constituents informed me I was not honoring my duty to uphold and defend the United States Constitution. The area of their concern is the prohibition, contained in Article I, Section 10, that states, “No state shall – – make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts – -.” They ask me how I, a policy maker for the State of Montana, can ignore this clear constitutional prohibition.

Over the 10 years I have previously served in the legislature I have considered this a trivial matter that would show me to be out of step with our national rulers if I made an issue out of it. I did not want to be branded as a fanatic over an issue of no consequence.

Today I am looking at this issue in a new light. When I was going to my constituents homes I agreed with them the most important issue for the coming legislative session will be to protect them from the economic debacle hanging over our heads.

With just a cursory look at history we know a country that lives beyond its means faces dire consequences. Having a $16,000,000,000,000 national debt is a warning sign we can only ignore at our peril. Having such a debt and allowing it to increase unchecked is an invitation for national suicide.

It is very likely the bottom will fall out from under the U.S. dollar. Only so many dollars can be printed before they have no value. The Keynesian era of financing government with debt appears to be close to its demise. If and when that happens, how can we in the Montana Legislature protect our constituents?

The only answer I can come up with is to honor my oath to the U.S. Constitution and request that your debt to me be paid in gold and silver coins that will still have value when the U.S. dollar is reduced to junk status. I therefore request my legislative pay to be in gold and silver coins that are unadulterated with base metals.

I am not asking for you to give me gold and silver American Eagles at their face value of $50.00 and $1.00, but rather at their current market prices that today are $1,801.00 and $35.28.

Hopefully this will be an example for our Montana citizens and prompt them to also have some of their own wealth in money that has intrinsic value.

Yours truly,

Jerry O’Neil

Montana Conservatives WIN, Passing Several Key Initiatives

November 8, 2012 11 comments


LR-120 ( HB 627 )
Subject: Referendum to require parental notification prior to abortion for a minor, providing for judicial waiver of notification, repealing prior statutes, and providing penalties.

LR-121 ( HB 638 )
Subject: Referendum to deny certain state services to illegal aliens.

LR-122 ( SB 418 )
Subject: Referendum to prohibit the state or federal government from mandating the purchase of health insurance or imposing penalties for decisions related to purchasing health insurance.

Subject: Referendum on SB 423, a bill which repeals I-148 and enacts a new medical marijuana program.

Subject: Charge Montana elected and appointed officials, state and federal, with implementing a policy that corporations are not human beings with constitutional rights.


Montana 2012 Elections: Jon Testers Boomerang Campaign

September 24, 2012 Leave a comment


By Dustin Hurst |

HELENA – To the casual observer, Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester is running a solid re-election campaign. He’s casting himself as the humble Big Sandy farmer, while aggressively painting his opponent as an out-of-touch political insider.

Yet, a longer look at Tester’s attacks on Republican U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, the senator’s November foe, reveals an uncomfortable pattern.

Many of the attacks lobbed from Tester’s side of the aisle could be heaved right back at the first-term incumbent – call them boomerang shots.

Some of the attacks and ads are simply misleading or omitting key information.

To examine Tester’s attacks and the counter stories, suggests a few musical tracks to endure.

Jackson: Tester needs to look at the Man in the Mirror on debt.

Tester track: Michael Jackson – Man in the mirror

Since his 2009 passing, the King of Pop has amassed more than $400 million in musical royalties. Keep that quiet though, because Tester might try to spend it all and more.

Less than two months ago, Tester’s campaign smacked Rebherg for voting several times to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. It was a Man in the Mirror moment for Tester, who, since he took office, supported increasing the nation’s credit card load several times.

In fact, through six years of service before Tester took office, Rehberg supported $3 trillion in debt limit hikes. Tester, on the other hand, backed adding $7.4 trillion to the nation’s debt ceiling.

Key lyrics: “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways.”

Tester track: Notorious B.I.G – Mo’ Money, Mo Problems

Like the great Michael Jackson, Biggie rests in a better place now, but his message lives on: The more money you have, the more problems you’ll see.

Tester’s made money a central rallying cry of his race. Conservative outside spending groups pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the state seeking his defeat and the senator plays the victim card, bellyaching about secret corporate money.

Notorious BIG: Mo’ money, mo’ problems.

Tester never mentions, however, the secret union money flowing to his aid through at least three outside spending groups – Patriot Majority, Montana Hunters and Anglers Action! and Citizens for Strength and Security.

For its share, Patriot Majority, a front for American labor unions, has pitched in more than $800,000 on Tester’s behalf.

Key lyrics: “I don’t know what they want from me, it’s like the more money we come across,
the more problems we see.”

Jepsen: Call me, maybe?

Tester track: Carly Rae Jepsen – Call me maybe

This surprising runaway hit, dropped in summer 2012, appropriately describes how Montana’s libertarians feel about Tester’s Senate term – naively jolted.

See, Tester boldly promised in a 2006 debate to seek repeal of the invasive Patriot Act, a move in stark contrast with Republican U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, who stood by the law.

Freedom-minded voters who trusted the senator and ushered him into office, but have exactly nothing to show for their innocent faithfulness.

While Tester blasts Rehberg for supporting the Patriot Act, the senator promised to seek the law’s repeal and it’s a pledge he’s yet to fulfill.

Key lyrics: “Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me, maybe?”

Tester track: Hall and Oates – Private Eyes

Hall & Oates: We’re watching you … with predator drones.

This year, Tester’s again feverishly working to peel libertarian-minded voters from Rehberg. To do that, the senator casts Rehberg as Big Brother’s chief enabler, the man solely and wholly responsible for all surveillance drone activity in American skies.

Yet, it was Tester who aided a pro-drone nonprofit here in Montana when it wanted to bring an unmanned aerial vehicle testing zone to the state.

Tester, like Rehberg, also supported the most recent Federal Aviation Authorization bill in Congress, paving the way for thousands of drones to hit the skies in the next few years.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit defending rights in the Brave New World, estimates the law could help fly more than 30,000 over the U.S. by 2020.

Key lyrics: “Why you try to put up a front for me, I’m a spy but on your side you see, Slip on, into any disguise, I’ll still know you, look into my private eyes.”

Eminem: I’ve got skeletons in the campaign closet.

Tester track: Eminem – Cleanin out my closet

Maybe this dark track is Eminem’s bout with his personal demons, but it gets something Tester might not understand: Honesty with self.

The senator’s first campaign ad touted Tester’s commitment to accountability, proper ethics and accountability. Yet, the senator couldn’t even provide full disclosure for those ads.

On a semi-regular basis through the past six years, Tester invited retired Montana judges to conduct ethics audits of his Senate office practices. The reports came back clean, as they should.

Tester failed to mention – on several occasions – two of the judges had clears ties to the Democratic Party. One was a former Democratic state legislator and the other’s wife donated to Tester’s 2006 campaign.

Key lyrics: “I got some skeletons in my closet and I don’t know if no one knows it, so before they throw me inside my coffin and close it, I’ma expose it.”

Tester track: Travie McCoy – Billionaire

McCoy: I want to be a billionaire. That, or take campaign cash from billionaires.

Remember that super-secret corporate money that Tester fights so hard?

Turns out, some of the richest companies in the country fill Tester’s campaign pockets, even while he blasts business bucks in politics.

The senator’s list of donors is possibly the finest for miles. It includes Wells FargoComcastBank of AmericaGoldman Sachs, AFLACCitigroupGlaxosmithKlein, FedEx and many, many more.

In fact, as points out, Tester is the No. 2 recipient for commercial bank and credit union cash in the 2012 election cycle. Through the more recent reporting period, Tester raked in more than $1.9 million from PACs, 66 percent of that amount from business-related groups.

Key lyrics: “I wanna be a billionaire so freaking bad, buy all the stuff I never had. I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine, smiling next to Oprah and the Queen.”

 Contact Dustin Hurs via or on Twitter with the @DustinHurst handle. 

The obama Regime Does NOT Represent Rural America

August 27, 2012 Leave a comment


It’s no secret that things in Washington, D.C. are a mess. What’s less commonly understood is that, while the gridlock between Republicans and Democrats grabs headlines, for Montana the bigger conflicts arise between rural and urban interests.

President Obama is from Chicago. Meanwhile, some of his key Cabinet posts were filled by other big-city nominees. Hilda Solis, for example, took the helm at the Department of Labor. She’s from Los Angeles. Lisa Jackson, is from New Orleans and worked in New Jersey before assuming the post as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


And this urban bias has reared its head in policy. Again and again, Washington, D.C. shows how out of touch it is with rural America, and we are forced to fight back to protect our way of life. Here are a few examples:

• Last month, the Senate voted to resurrect the old “Death Tax” and impose it on any family farm valued at more than $1 million. According to the Department of Agriculture, the average farm in Montana is worth more than $1.6 million. Fortunately, the House has passed legislation to prevent this tax, and many others, from going up.

• The Department of Labor proposed a so-called “Youth Ag Rule” to severely limit the type of work young people are allowed to do on farms and ranches. This rule was not only insulting to producers who make safety a way of life, but it was a threat to the future of the family farm in America. I led the fight to have this rule removed and included a provision in the Department of Labor funding bill to prevent them from taking any further action to advance it.

• The EPA wants to expand the authority of the Clean Water Act to include “non-navigable” water, giving them regulatory jurisdiction over just about any water anywhere, including melted snow, mud puddles and prairie potholes. I introduced and got passed an amendment to the Energy and Water spending bill to stop this power grab.

• EPA fuel-storage regulations would require producers with 1,320 gallons of total fuel storage to enact an oil spill prevention plan, and producers with more than 10,000 gallons aggregate storage would have to have that plan professionally certified. So, working with my colleagues in the House, we responded by passing the FUELS Act to protect farmers from this costly and unnecessary federal requirement.

• Grain bin “sweep auger” rules crafted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) were so poorly defined, they led to industry-wide confusion about what was needed to avoid costly fines. For example, OSHA warned that “an employee cannot work inside a bin while an unguarded sweep auger is in operation,” but failed to define “unguarded” (sweep augers cannot function properly if they are completely guarded).

So I added legislative language to the Labor Department appropriations bill to prevent OSHA from implementing these regulations in a way that is unworkable for Montana’s grain elevators.

These are just a few of the more egregious examples, and I share them to make an important point — under President Obama, rural representatives have our hands full.

Ideally, Congress would focus its time crafting a new Farm Bill to provide a critical safety net for Montana’s farming and ranching families and a level of certainty for all the small businesses that depend on our state’s agriculture industry.

Unfortunately, a significant amount of time is needed to serve our function as a check and balance to President Obama’s harmful anti-rural agenda and undo damage caused by his rubber-stamp Senate.

But as our ag industry struggles with everything from droughts to floods and wildfires, there is simply no excuse for further delay in passing a Farm Bill. House leaders have a responsibility to bring the Farm Bill to the floor to move the process forward in a timely manner. I told them as much in a letter I sent them, along with a handful of rural colleagues.

The feedback I’ve heard from Montanans at more than 100 public listening sessions could not be more urgent. I’m ready and eager to return to Washington, D.C. at any time to finish this important work.

Rep. Denny Rehberg is Montana’s lone Congressman and is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.

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