While Cascade County residents are watching in horror the complete trainwreck of elections under newly elected Clerk and Recorder Sandra Merchant, how are things going in the Montana Legislature?

First the good news.

Ha! I kid, there is no good news. We elected clowns so now we get clownery.

Ok, fine I take that back. There is some good news. A big thank you to the people speaking up and testifying against hateful legislation. Democrats and members of the public are still pointing out illegal and thoughtless aspects of these bills. I’m thankful that people are trying to defend Montana’s citizens from our extremist Republicans legislators.

The latest stupidity from our Great Falls Legislators

The good news is that thanks to the efforts of passionate testimony, we have managed to reject some ultra stupid bills by Great Falls legislators. Like SB 235 by Senator Daniel Emrich — an effort to ban teachers from teaching scientific theory and SB 497 by Senator Steve Fitzpatrick — an effort to destroy stream access for Montana anglers. Buh-bye bad bills.

There’s another from Great Falls Senator Jeremy Trebas to highlight. Trebas wanted to prohibit Montana state employees from having to take classes about diversity, equity, or inclusion with his bill SB 222. “The proposed law would make it illegal to teach concepts that might make employees feel “guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress.” The bill is based on a Florida “Stop WOKE Act” showing the complete lack of originality for these bigots. Trebas said a twitter user told him, “soon we’ll be subjected to almost 50 trainings before June.” Sounds legit Jeremy. You definitely should shit on the teaching of anything that makes people uncomfortable like actual truth and history based on some rando twitter exchange. The bill passed out of the State Senate but got tabled in a House committee. Hopefully it stays tabled.

So, what’s the bad news?

Well. I’m sorry. It continues to be very bad. Shocking no one, Republicans continue to attack abortion rights, LGBTQ rights and pass bills to benefit the uber rich.

I can’t list all of the bad bills here, so I’ll just mention some of the worst and point out where our Great Falls delegation is failing us.

Abortion Rights

Great Falls Representative Lola Sheldon Galloway, our local delegation’s best handmaiden to the patriarchy, has two disgusting bills to highlight. The bills both passed out of committee based solely on Republican votes. HB 937 forces more onerous licenses for providers and facilities that perform abortions. HB 786 adds more burdens on abortion medication providers. The goal of this legislation is not to protect people with uteruses or keep us safer. (Despite the gibberish Lola likes to spout.) The real goal is to dissuade patients and medical providers from providing necessary healthcare. Wow Lola, why do you hate people with uteruses so much?

View of Lola Sheldon-Galloway's bench ad with her slogan "Leave our liberties alone" and an added speech bubble with the words "Unless you have a uterus!"
Lola Sheldon-Galloways’s bitterly ironic campaign bench ads from 2022

More Stupidity on Healthcare

Senator Daniel Emrich, R-Great Falls continues to fight established medical knowledge and try to stop immunization requirements with his SB 450. SB 450 has now passed from the Montana Senate to the Montana House. Before widespread vaccination, measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year. But who cares if your child catches a preventable and potentially fatal disease? Isn’t it better to be them to be immunization-free and dead?

LGBTQ+ Bigotry

Even though our Great Falls delegation aren’t the primary sponsors on several hateful anti-LGBTQ+ bills, they sure are fine voting for them.

Horrifyingly, the Montana Senate passed SB 458 to adopt discriminatory definitions of sex in an effort to exclude LGBTQ+ people from protections of state law. The bill prohibits “LGBTQ+ people from bringing claims of sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination in areas like employment, housing, public accommodations, health care, credit, and education.” What a sign of the times. Our Great Falls’ Senators Jeremy Trebas, Daniel Emrich, and Steve Fitzpatrick voted yes, because of course they did.

Is there more LGBTQ+ hate to go around?

Yes! Because our state is run by a bunch of homophobic extremists. 

What about the hideous SB 99 that our blog mentioned before here and here? SB 99 would make it essentially impossible for healthcare practitioners to provide age-appropriate, best practice, gender affirming care. This bill is a far-right attack on transgendered children and their families. The Montana Medical Association, the state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Montana Primary Care Association all have spoken out against SB 99.

But why listen to an expert when you can listen to your bigoted impulses, right Montana Republicans? It has passed though the legislature and these Great Falls legislators voted for it:

  • Fred Anderson
  • Ed Buttrey
  • Steve Galloway
  • Steve Gist
  • Scot Kerns
  • George Nikolakakos
  • Lola Sheldon-Galloway
  • Daniel Emrich
  • Steve Fitzpatrick
  • Jeremy Trebas

Thank you to Senator Wendy McKamey for voting no on SB 99. Senator McKamey was the ONLY Great Falls legislator that didn’t vote to pass this hate.

Knowing the homophobia of our governor, SB 99 will be signed into law and then the taxpayers get to pay for the lawsuits. Meanwhile trans youth are treated as punching bags.

Where does that leave us?

I wish I could end on a lighter note, but our Great Falls delegation and other Montana Republicans continues to let down Montana’s citizens. Keep speaking up and let them know we are watching and disagree with their hateful attacks on our rights. You can send a message to a legislator using this form: https://leg.mt.gov/web-messaging/ or give them a call, they love it. The general switchboard is (406) 444-4800 and your message will be delivered to a legislator