Allright, as some students in Billings might say, hold on to your yoga pants. Some flack for Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) tried to start a “draft Bullock for president” group. NBC Montana even did a story on it. Let’s just say…it didn’t end well. Plus, Democratic US House Candidate John Lewis (D-MT) claims he had no role in Obamacare, even though he was a career staffer to the author of the law. (He claims he was just the super for the buildings or something) The marijuana business in Montana may be making a comeback. Plus, Michelle Malkin warns about the spread of “Rocky Mountain Jihad.” Congressman Daines votes to arm the Syrian rebels. And, State Sen. Eric Moore (R-Miles City) asks, where is Governor Bullock on energy?
All that and more is in this early edition of the Weekend Wrapup.
First up, the Super.
If Sen. Baucus (D-MT) didn’t trust him on his single most important train wreck…er-legislation…then what legislation should Montanans trust him with? Lewis claims he wasn’t involved in Obamacare. Instead, it sounds like he was the building super.
From The Missoulian:
Zinke accused Lewis of assisting his boss, former Sen. Max Baucus, the chief architect of the Affordable Health Care, and contributing to the higher costs. Zinke said Lewis helped burden seniors when Baucus took $716 billion out of Medicare to fund the Affordable Care Act.
Lewis has said he was Baucus’ state director, overseeing his Montana offices, and was not involved in the drafting of the Affordable Care Act.
Ouch. NBC Montana reported on the effort of some flack for Gov. Bullock to launch a “draft Bullock for president” campaign. Looks like it didn’t turn out so well.
State Sen. Eric Moore (R-Miles City) writes in The Hungry Horse News: Where is Governor Bullock on energy?
Why has Governor Bullock gone mute on the important issues facing Montana’s energy economy? Energy jobs are critically important to the economic well being of all parts of the state, east and west, and are a vital pillar to our tax base. Our vast energy resources hold the potential for an economic boost in our state that no other sector can currently replicate.
Democratic governors from coal-producing states, like Governor Tomblin of West Virginia and Governor Beshear of Kentucky, have been among the most effective critics of the EPA’s proposed regulations aimed at decimating the coal industry.
Governor Bullock has been deafeningly silent. Even with a deadline looming for states to comment, Bullock’s administration has not even asked industry experts for their advice or input on what the rule will do to Montana’s economy.
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) September 17, 2014
Roll Call: Michele Bachmann and the Right to Bare Arms (h/t The Western Word)
When Michele Bachmann came to the floor Wednesday afternoon to preside over the House chamber, there was one problem: She was wearing a dress — without sleeves.
Bare shoulders are not allowed on the House floor.
While Bachmann waited roughly five minutes for her staff to bring over a jacket, Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., stepped in to pinch-hit as the presiding officer.
So, who voted aye?
Everybody in competitive races. Georgia Rep. John Barrow, Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, and West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall are among the very last Democrats in districts that voted for the Romney-Ryan ticket in 2012. They went “aye.” So did Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley and Michigan Rep. Gary Peters, both Senate candidates in tough races. On the Republican side, Senate candidates Tom Cotton and Steve Daines voted “aye,” as did Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman and Florida Rep. Steve Southerland. They’re the only two Republicans in seats that appear now to be toss-ups, with strong Democratic challengers cutting through the headwind.
ABC-Fox Montana: Pro-Hillary Clinton group helping Senate Democrats
A pro-Hillary Rodham Clinton super PAC is dispatching staffers to key states before the fall elections and helping Senate candidates with fundraising, laying the foundation for a potential Clinton presidential bid in 2016.
Ready for Hillary said Wednesday it would send more than two dozen staffers to 14 states key to Democrats’ prospects in the November mid-term elections. The states include Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina, home to competitive Senate campaigns, and the early presidential voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
And you thought I was just joking about the yoga pants…
Missoula Independent: Medical marijuana businesses make a cautious return in Montana
Brian Chaszar stands in an antiseptically clean room full of flowering marijuana plants, each one soaking up high-sodium light beamed from industrial fixtures hanging above. The plants are two to three weeks from completing their eight-month grow cycle. When done, Chaszar will harvest their huge, sticky buds, then weigh and trim them before they’re delivered, sold and consumed by his patients.
Chaszar’s not the only one willing to live with the risk. As of this August, he was one of 355 providers and one of 8,956 patients enrolled in Montana’s medical marijuana program. Those numbers are less than a third of what they were in 2011, when the industry was at its peak before a wave of federal crackdowns and criminal prosecutions demonstrated the true danger of running this type of business. But even so, patient, provider and doctor participation in the state program has been steadily increasing over the past year. Enrollment has climbed, with more than 60 new providers and nearly 2,000 new patients added to the registry since last June. Storefront dispensaries, including at least three in Missoula, have also started to open up again.
Kelly McCarthy spent 23 years “in and around the U.S. military,” including stints with the National Security Agency, the CIA and Air Force intelligence, where his work included drug interdiction. Now he owns a consulting firm in Billings, serves as a Democratic state representative and is leading the legislative effort to reform the state’s medical marijuana program.
During the last session of the state legislature, McCarthy sought to introduce a bill that would make permanent the changes Judge Reynolds has made to the Montana Marijuana Act through his injunction.
Though his bill never even made it out of committee, McCarthy says he’s going to renew his effort during the 2015 session. And he’s optimistic the outcome will be different this time. For one thing, he says, society in general is becoming ever more comfortable with marijuana. For another, the current state of the program, which is decidedly tame and contained compared to 2011, is convincing evidence that the state can run a medical marijuana program that isn’t merely a means of legitimizing recreational use. And finally, McCarthy says he has found support for a new marijuana reform bill from “people on both sides of the aisle,” though he’s reluctant to be too specific about who’s joining the effort.
Heard through 4&20 Blackbirds:
Without changes at the federal level, it doesn’t really matter what happens next year with the legislative session. Still, it will be interesting to watch what happens, and how it’s reported. Stay tuned…