Weekend Wrap: Tear Down Confederate Symbols…Like the MT Democratic Party?

Natelson says the Montana polygamists who made national news have a clear Supreme Court case after the recent ruling on same-sex marriage.  Senate Democrats aren’t abandoning Obama on Iran nuke deal, at least not yet.  Even US Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) got hacked! And, the real numbers behind the maintenance backlog at our national parks.  Those stories and more are in the weekend wrap.    

But first…with all this talk in Helena about the monuments and men:

Did you get a letter from the federal government saying, “You’ve been hacked?”  Well, Daines got hacked too, according to Roll Call.

At least two current senators who were not federal employees were notified their information may have been compromised, signaling that retirement records for former House members may have been compromised in the first security breach, which the OPM announced on June 4.

Sens. John Boozman, R-Ark., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., received letters from the OPM saying their personal identifiable information such as dates of birth and Social Security numbers may have been compromised. “I don’t really know how I got caught up in it,” Boozman told CQ Roll Call Tuesday evening. Daines assumed his former House service was the cause.

“I think because I was in the House for one term, when you go to the Senate you have a break in service technically,” Daines recently told CQ Roll Call. “And I guess that’s part of the reason that there was that trigger.”

Washington Post: Senate Democrats not abandoning Obama on Iran deal — for now

As Republicans herald the latest extension of Iran negotiations as a sure sign President Obama’s administration is going to strike a bad deal, Senate Democrats are stuck between a diplomatic rock and a political hard place.

“If the extended talks get us to the point where we have an Iran that isn’t nuclear, that’s fine, extend them,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

“The important thing is to get a deal that’s going to be beneficial to the United States, to the P5+1, and will deny Iran the ability to get a nuclear weapon,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). “And if that takes a couple more weeks, I’m willing to wait that long.”

KGVO: Montana Polygamists Have “Clear” Supreme Court Case After Same-Sex Ruling

“[The Supreme Court justices] could have used the Full Faith and Credit Clause, they could have used the Equal Protection Clause, but they chose to use instead the Due Process Clause,” said Natelson. “The Due Process Clause offers a lot more opportunity of the constitutionalization of plural marriage than the Full Faith and Credit Clause or the Equal Protection Clause would have. […]If same-sex couples can make a claim for the recognition of civil marriage under the due process clause, I think it’s rather clear that polygamous couples and, perhaps, polyandrous couples can as well.”

Natelson argues that the use of terms like “autonomy” and “personal expression” in Obergefell v. Hodges also help make the case for plural marriage.

PERC’s Reed Watson and Scott Wilson offered this in the NY Times: Let’s Fix Our National Parks, Not Add More

Included in the backlog: $5.6 billion for park roads, $1.8 billion for buildings, nearly $473 million for trails, $255 million for wastewater systems and $62 million for campgrounds.

Unfortunately, the park service is not alone. At last estimate, the maintenance backlog for its parent agency, the Interior Department, which also includes the Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management, was put at between $13.2 billion and $19.3 billion.

Even if the fund is fully financed at $900 million annually, that money is not sufficient to address all the needed repairs on federal lands. For instance, the National Park Service estimated that it would need to spend $700 million annually just to prevent deferred maintenance from rising above the current $11.5 billion backlog.

Congress should stop acquiring more land and use the Land and Water Conservation Fund to help pay down the deferred maintenance backlog.

By the way, I spoke with PERC Fellow Robert Nelson from The University of Maryland on Thursday’s Voices of Montana…click here for audio on our podcast page.

(The following Zinke news clips were compiled and e-mailed out by his staff)

Daily Inter Lake: House approves forest bill

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill that would, in some cases, require groups and individuals to pay bonds before filing lawsuits against timber projects. The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, sponsored by Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., passed the House 262-167. Under the proposed law, an environmental group suing the U.S. Forest Service over a proposed forest project would have to pay a bond if the project was developed through a collaborative stakeholder process and the litigant was not involved in the collaboration… Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., sponsored the original legislation behind the bonding requirement, which was later rolled into the larger bill, of which he is an original co-sponsor. He responded that the bill’s language left the definition of “collaborative” intentionally vague. “What this bill does not do is skirt [the National Environmental Policy Act], what it does do is bring people together to work together,” Zinke said during the floor debate. “It does not prevent anyone from filing a lawsuit … We want more scientists and less lawyers in the woods, and healthy forests once again to be a part of our country.”

Montana Public Radio: Forest Bill Limiting Environmental Review And Timber Lawsuits Passes House

The U.S. House has passed legislation designed to improve the health of national forests by scaling back the environmental reviews that go into some timber projects, and making it harder to file lawsuits that delay thinning projects. Montana Republican Ryan Zinke is co-sponsoring the bill.” And it does what it should do. It encourages local organizations to work together on collaborative projects and revitalize the economy. But not only that, it revitalizes our forests,” Zinke said.

Flathead Beacon: Zinke’s Forest Reform Bill passes House

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Resilient Federal Forests Act, a bill to expedite management activities on federal forests that supporters – including the measure’s co-sponsor, Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Montana – say are needed to improve the health of the nation’s overgrown and fire-prone federal forests.

The House voted in favor of the reforms 262-167 after a floor debate that included effusive support from Zinke, who lives in Whitefish, and other Republican lawmakers from western states.

KTVQ: BNSF Moving 55 Jobs to Laurel

The plan is for 45 to make the move from Forsyth and 10 from Glendive.

BNSF spokesman Matt Jones said the changes are due to “customer demands and new operational capabilities.”

And on this next story…Oh sure-labor unions are opposing a pipeline…and I’m sure it has NOTHING to do with the fact that they are simply trying to force it to be a union job.

Bakken.com: Coalition of labor groups opposes North Dakota oil pipeline

A coalition of four labor groups says a company proposing a crude oil pipeline in southwest North Dakota can’t be trusted to build and operate the line safely.

Officials with Laborers International Union of North America say they will testify in opposition to the project at a public hearing Thursday in Belfield.

It’s probably mean to call her a liar…so how about this: Is Hillary just making stuff up at this point?


After Hillary Clinton’s interview with CNN Tuesday, in which she claimed she had never been subpoenaed by the House Special Committee on Benghazi, chairman of the committee Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., made the subpoena public as well as released a statement. Gowdy said he had not intended to make the subpoena, issued in March public, but after Clinton “falsely claimed” there had never been a subpoena, he felt the need to correct the public record. Clinton aides did not immediately respond to the NYT when asked to comment. Her campaign claims that Clinton understood the question to be was she under subpoena when the emails were deleted, last December. “‘The suggestion was made that a subpoena was pending at the time. That was not accurate,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill told CNN.

Earlier this week, I shared a story about immigration “sanctuary cities” that highlighted Montana, but I couldn’t find any specific info on cities in Montana.  Well, this Washington Examiner story does not list any Montana cities: Over 200 ‘sanctuary cities’ in 32 states and D.C

There are over 200 “sanctuary cities” in 32 states that give safe harbor to illegal immigrants, even violent ones with felony records like the man accused of killing a San Francisco woman last week, according to a new analysis.

Hey, chill out!  The Daily Caller: The Arctic Still Isn’t ‘Ice Free’ Despite Alarmism

Al Gore famously predicted in 2008 that the Arctic would be ice free within five years — so by 2013. It’s been seven years since his prediction and the Arctic is still full of ice. In fact, the Arctic did the exact opposite of what Gore predicted and increased 50 percent from 2012 levels.

Gore, however, was simply repeating a claim made in 2007 by American scientist Wieslaw Maslowsk, who said “you can argue that may be our projection of [an ice-free Arctic by 2013] is already too conservative.”

Then-Sen. John Kerry echoed Gore’s prediction, claiming in 2009 the Arctic would be ice free in five years. In 2014, the Arctic’s sea-ice volumes during the fall were above the average of the last five years.

From Politico’s Morning Ag earlier this week:

– Starbucks is paying less for coffee, but you’re paying more, USA Today reports: http://usat.ly/1HcawWX

Newsbusters.org: 10 Reasons ESPN is MSNBC With Better Video

The Daily Caller: Seven Of The Most Blatant Lies In Hillary’s CNN Interview

2. I’m subjected to a “constant barrage of attacks that are largely fomented by and coming from the Right … “

The New York Times broke the news in March that Clinton exclusively used a personal email account stored on a private server to conduct government business as secretary of state, and since then every major media outlet has followed the story.

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