It’s called a “Super Majority.” And Republicans are just two legislative seats away from having it. It means that, in addition to the crappy bills they pass in the legislature, they will be able to change the foundation of our government that protects citizen rights. . . the Montana Constitution. And they just can’t wait to do it.
First, they will be able to propose constitutional amendments by referring them to the ballot, if they garner the support of two-thirds of legislators. That means that 100 politicians in Helena can put amendments to our constitution on the ballot. Currently, amendments can only be proposed by gathering enough citizen signatures. It’s hard to do, meaning that lots of amendments are proposed, but few actually make it to the ballot.
Second, a super majority can call for an unlimited constitutional convention by referring a convention call to the ballot. If approved, a convention can propose changes to virtually anything in the constitution by a vote of the delegates. At a time when large swaths of the Republican Party support the January 6th insurrection and believe the hocus pocus dished out by the likes of Donald Trump, it is scary to think about what they would do to our constitution.
We encourage everyone to look at our constitution. It is an amazing document. https://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca_toc/index.htm We thought it would be good to list a few of the rights we stand to lose if the Republicans achieve their super majority in this election.
Section 4. Individual dignity. The dignity of the human being is inviolable. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws. Neither the state nor any person, firm, corporation, or institution shall discriminate against any person in the exercise of his civil or political rights on account of race, color, sex, culture, social origin or condition, or political or religious ideas.
Section 8. Right of participation. The public has the right to expect governmental agencies to afford such reasonable opportunity for citizen participation in the operation of the agencies prior to the final decision as may be provided by law.
Section 9. Right to know. No person shall be deprived of the right to examine documents or to observe the deliberations of all public bodies or agencies of state government and its subdivisions, except in cases in which the demand of individual privacy clearly exceeds the merits of public disclosure.
Section 10. Right of privacy. The right of individual privacy is essential to the well-being of a free society and shall not be infringed without the showing of a compelling state interest.
Article IX (1) The state and each person shall maintain and improve a clean and healthful environment in Montana for present and future generations.
Article X, (2) The state recognizes the distinct and unique cultural heritage of the American Indians and is committed in its educational goals to the preservation of their cultural integrity.
Of course these are just words on paper (or pixels on a screen). The constitution comes alive over time and primarily through actions in the court system. Here in Montana and nationally conservative Republicans believe they have lost many of their goals in the courts. One result is that they have made it a priority to replace judges who don’t share their views. This is probably the reason so many evangelicals supported Trump. . .and he delivered for them by appointing three Conservative Supreme Court justices. Here in Montana, Supreme Court candidate Jim Brown is the epitome of a judge with a Republican agenda.
Changing our constitution would be the Holy Grail for the far right in Montana. And they are very close to being able to do it in the Montana Legislature. The stakes in this election are very high. If you care about protecting our constitution, vote for Democrats.