Weekend Wrap: Common Core Combated in State House

Aaron Flint posted on February 23, 2015 13:07 :: 635 Views

Conservative Montana legislator Sarah Laszloffy (R-Laurel) is featured by the liberal Huffington Post in a piece highlighting the youngest legislators in the country- “Thanks! Now I have to go run six miles up a mountain.”  Are Giuliani’s critics misplaying the race card?  Is the president getting the veto pen ready for the Keystone pipeline this week?  The Montana Legislature looks at right-to-work laws.  Five days left, and Senate Democrats keep up their blockade for President Obama’s amnesty for illegal immigrants.   And, as our highways run short on cash, a new report shows how government control of land is hurting oil production and job growth.  Those stories and more are below in the Weekend Wrap. 

But first…        


The Montana House endorsed a bill on Saturday to revoke the Common Core standards by a vote of 55-45. All but four Republicans voted for the measure and all 41 Democrats opposed it.

Billings parent Kari Zeier, however, said, “The fallacies within Common Core go beyond party lines. It is time to stop playing politics and work together to create new educational standards by Montanans for Montanans.”

AP: Montana Highway Needs Mount as Federal Dollars Run Short

Montana officials say federal highway money will cover less than a third of the state’s $15.8 billion in transportation needs over the next decade, but there are no plans to significantly boost state spending to cover the anticipated shortfall.

Money from the federal Highway Trust Fund declined in Montana by just over 2 percent during the past five years on an inflation-adjusted basis, to $722 million in 2013.

That’s a lesser decrease than the 11 percent reduction seen nationwide. Yet it occurred as the state’s population and needs have grown, particularly in the Bakken oil producing region along the Montana-North Dakota border.

Hey, if we’re running out of money for our roads…maybe someone should tell the government that there’s oil in them thar hills! 

The Daily Signal- Study: Government’s Control of Land Is Hurting Oil Production, Job Growth

Despite almost “43 percent of crude oil coming from federal lands,” government-owned lands have seen a 13-point drop in oil production, from 36 percent to 23 percent.

The report also examines the recent oil-related job boom.

“Job creation in the oil and gas industry bucked the slow economic recovery and grew by 40 percent from 2007 to 2012, in comparison to one percent in the private sector over the same period,” according to the report.

WSJ.com: Strike at U.S. Refineries Widens

Union workers walked out of three more U.S. refineries this weekend, including the nation’s largest fuel-making facility, expanding a nearly monthlong strike.

After the latest negotiations ended late Friday, workers at the Motiva Port Arthur Refinery in Texas, the nation’s largest, walked off the job just after midnight. They were followed a day later by workers at the Motiva Convent, Motiva Norco, and Shell Chemicals Norco plants. Motiva Enterprises LLC is co-owned by Shell and a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco.

More than 6,500 United Steelworkers members are now on strike at 15 petrochemical facilities, the union confirmed Sunday, including 12 refineries that account for 19% of U.S. refining capacity.

Five Days Left…. 


With just days left to avoid a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security, Senate Democrats are expected to block a fourth attempt to start debate on a House-passed bill that would fund DHS while rolling back President Obama’s temporary amnesty for illegal immigrants. The impasse continues amid reports that Senate Republicans are considering a plan in which they would split off legislation attacking the president’s executive actions, but it’s unclear whether conservative Republicans would go along with de-coupling it from DHS funding. “‘We would try to have a vote on just that issue,’ a Republican aide told the Hill. ‘Does it have to be addressed as part of DHS, or can it be addressed separately? If we can get to that issue and have a vote on that issue, then you come back to DHS appropriations.’” With the House returning Tuesday evening, just three days remain for Congress to work out a legislative solution.

Government worker unions reeling under Walker rulesWaPo: “The anti-union law passed here four years ago, which made Gov. Scott Walker a national Republican star and a possible presidential candidate, has turned out to be even more transformative than many had predicted. Walker had vowed that union power would shrink, workers would be judged on their merits, and local governments would save money. Unions had warned that workers would lose benefits and be forced to take on second jobs or find new careers. Many of those changes came to pass, but the once-thriving ­public-sector unions were not just shrunken, they were crippled. Unions representing teachers, professors, trash collectors and other government employees are struggling to stem plummeting membership rolls and retain relevance in the state where they got their start.”

Back in the Montana Legislature:

While the Montana AFL-CIO bosses are all aTwitter this morning about their ability to collect forced dues from union members…they don’t seem too concerned about union jobs like these:

Politico’s Morning Energy- FOR YOUR VETO PENS ONLY: Republicans are expected to finally send a bill approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline to the White House this week, where it faces its imminent demise at the hands of President Barack Obama and his veto. Obama would have 10 days, excluding Sundays, to act once the bill reaches his desk. This would be the third veto of Obama’s presidency. And once it’s vetoed, the pipeline’s boosters in Congress will have to decide whether they want to hold override votes even though neither GOP-held chamber is likely to garner the necessary two-thirds majority.

BostonHerald.com- Adriana Cohen: Rudy Giuliani’s critics misplay the race card

We’ve got a very serious problem in America when people, including a former mayor of New York, can’t criticize the president without being publicly condemned.

What is happening in America is that the Democratic machine — and the biased left-wing media that supports it — is using the race card to protect politicians in power that they support.

Funny, I don’t remember any backlash or accusations of racism against then-Sen. Barack Obama when he accused President George W. Bush of being unpatriotic in speeches while campaigning for president. Candidate Obama called President Bush “unpatriotic” for raising the national debt, but he got a pass.

Huffington Post: Meet The 12 Youngest Legislators In America (That We Could Find)

Sarah Laszloffy, born 1991: When Laszloffy introduced her first bill, she received some sarcastic comments from her largely middle-aged and older male colleagues. “‘Oh, human trafficking, I’ll bet that’s a big problem in Montana,'” the 23-year-old recalled them saying. “Actually it was a big problem, and it needed to be addressed. Some of these girls were as young as 11.” Among other provisions, her legislation now bars charging those under 18 with prostitution, instead treating those children as victims.

Laszloffy was inspired to run by her father’s tenure in the state legislature, although she said, “We made an agreement when I ran that I would be my own Rep. Laszloffy.” In only three years, she has risen to serve as chair of the House Education Committee and majority whip for the Republicans. Now she wants to rectify her party’s gender imbalance in the state legislature, where only six of the 59 Republicans are women — while female Democrats outnumber the males.

Yet Laszloffy still has energy to burn. She signed off her HuffPost interview with a cheery “Thanks! Now I have to go run six miles up a mountain.”

Pic below courtesy Sarah Laszloffy campaign website.

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