Links: Gallup Shows Montana Political Leanings

Aaron Flint posted on February 21, 2011 16:21 :: 6983 Views

New Gallup Poll Shows MT Leaning Republican (h/t Politico Playbook), “Number of Solidly Democratic States Cut in Half From ’08 to ’10”: “[O]ne state moved from a Democratic positioning to a Republican positioning [based on annual state averages of party affiliation from Gallup Daily Tracking] — New Hampshire, which was solidly Democratic in 2008 but now is considered leaning Republican. Alabama, Kansas, Montana, and South Dakota moved from a competitive designation to solidly or leaning Republican … 12 states — Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin — shifted from solidly or leaning Democratic to competitive. No states have moved in a more Democratic direction since 2008.”

Billings Gazette: Trooper Hit on I90, Turn off Your Cruise Control

Trooper Toby Baukema was assisting a Colorado woman that lost control on the ramp just west of exit 434 near Laurel around 2 p.m. Sunday.

While Baukema was helping the woman, a Billings man driving eastbound, also with his cruise control on, lost control and hit the woman’s vehicle head on, then bounced to the opposite guardrail.

The impact with the woman’s stopped car caused it to hit Baukema in the back. Ayers said he was not seriously injured.

Helena IR: RPS Increase Shot Down

Legislative Republicans have quickly shot down an attempt by Democrats to increase the state’s renewable energy standard

The measure by Democratic Sen. Kendall Van Dyk of Billings would have increased that percentage to 25 percent.

GOP leaders tabled Van Dyk’s bill Thursday night just hours after he and his party proposed it.

Watchdog: Gov Accuses GOP of Withholding Info

Gov. Schweitzer: “They absolutely knew in November that revenues would be much higher,” he said and told the LFD to ignore facts so that when the Legislature came to town they would have a reason for cutting.

GOP leaders dismissed the governor’s comments, saying they were a “new low.”

Senate President Jim Peterson, R-Buffalo, said he was encouraged over the past few weeks with Schweitzer’s willingness to work with the Legislature on solutions.

“This morning, the governor unfortunately turned the Capitol into an arena for political theater,” he said in prepared remarks.  “The governor accusing the legislators of lying and pressuring our hardworking members of the non-partisan legislative staff is a new low for Gov. Schweitzer. The truth is the only one putting pressure on legislative fiscal analysts is the governor himself.”

GF Trib: Missoula Dem Beaten Back on Megaloads

A bill that would require more extensive public input and environmental analysis for so-called “megaload” shipments in Montana met adamant opposition Monday from industry and labor groups.

Rep. Bryce Bennett, D-Missoula, introduced a bill aimed at lessening the fiscal and environmental impacts on taxpayers and property owners from the transport of hundreds of oversized loads on Montana roads.

AP: Leg Punts on Physician Assisted Suicide

Montana legislators had been asked to choose between two proposed bills in creating a physician-assisted suicide law: Ban the practice altogether or create regulations for doctors and terminally ill patients to follow.

Now it appears they’ll do neither, leaving the state in the same legal limbo that has existed since a Montana Supreme Court ruling effectively legalized the practice more than a year ago.

Both bills were tabled in committee this week, all but killing the measures for the 2011 session — and likely for at least the next two years.

KXLH’s Marnee Banks: ESA, Health Care

The Montana House of Representative approved a a bill nullifying the federal Endangered Species Act in Montana.

MT State Representative Krayton Kerns (R-Laurel) says it’s about telling the federal government to back off so that Montana can manage its wolf population.

Also on Saturday, the Montana Senate green-lighted a bill which prohibits creating a state-based health insurance exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act.

MT State Senator Jason Priest (R-Red Lodge) says his bill is about prohibiting any implementation of the federal health reform law.

Daniel Person: Summarizing the Patriot Act

Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus, D-Mont., voted against extending certain provisions of the Patriot Act this week.

Senate leadership had shortened the extension from 10 months to three months in order to garner support for the provision, which passed the Senate easily 86-12.

The week prior, Patriot Act opponents in the House had managed to block a fast-track approval of the extension. That vote was considered by some a tea party uprising, as many freshman Republicans – as well as Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont. – went against party leadership in voting against the extension in a Feb. 9 vote. However, on Feb. 10, the House went ahead with extending the provisions for 10 months. In the Feb. 10 vote, Rehberg voted for the extension.

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