Poll: Which do you believe is worse for your health, Marijuana or Alcohol?

A popular recent poll asking “Should Montana Legalize Recreational Marijuana Usage?” seems to lean towards legalizing it in Montana. Which one do you believe is worse for your health? Vote, share and leave your comments about the Marijuana V.S. Alcohol subject below.

Which one do you believe is worse for your health, Marijuana or Alcohol?

Poll: Should Montana Legalize Recreational Marijuana Usage?

Recreational marijuana is currently illegal and punishable by imprisonment and fines in Montana. Do you believe it should be legalized for recreational use in Montana? Vote and comment below.

Should Montana Legalize Recreational Marijuana Usage?

Opinion: Governor Bullock sold out over foreign law

Do you agree with Ed? Did Governor Bullock sell us out to foreign law?

Governor sold out over foreign law

In spite of the overwhelming support in the Legislature and from citizens across Montana, our governor chooses foreign law over Montana law. Gov. Steve Bullock is quoted as saying, “The intent of these bills is to target a particular religion and group of people for disfavored treatment.”

In spite of the overwhelming support in the Legislature and from citizens across Montana, our governor chooses foreign law over Montana law.

Gov. Steve Bullock is quoted as saying, “The intent of these bills is to target a particular religion and group of people for disfavored treatment.” Exactly how does this target anyone for “disfavored treatment”? He also said the measure would “upend our legal system and debase what we stand for as Montanans and Americans.”

Governor, I’m not sure what you stand for, but I and 90 percent of Montanans stand for the constitutions of Montana and the United States of America. That would be the Constitution you swore to uphold when you took the oath of office as our highest elected official.

As a citizen of this great state, might I remind you of your oath to “support, protect and defend the constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the state of Montana).”

Senate Bill 97 did not target any particular group or people. It was designed to affirm, without a shadow of a doubt, Montana laws for Montana courts. When you, sir, choose foreign law over the laws you swore to uphold, you deserve to be recalled from office.

Ed Kugler,

Big Arm

Montanans could pick driver’s license that complies with federal REAL ID rules, or not

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Under bill, Montanans could pick driver’s license that complies with federal rules, or not

Montanans could choose to get a driver’s license that complies with federal REAL ID requirements or one that doesn’t under a bill proposed by a state lawmaker. Montana has bucked a mandate for enhanced driver’s licenses since the federal Real ID Act passed in 2005, arguing the demands are too intrusive and raising concerns about the security of information collected.

Montanans could choose to get a driver’s license that complies with federal REAL ID requirements or one that doesn’t under a bill proposed by a state lawmaker.

Montana has bucked a mandate for enhanced driver’s licenses since the federal Real ID Act passed in 2005, arguing the demands are too intrusive and raising concerns about the security of information collected.

The state has been granted extensions to allow residents to board planes or enter federal buildings using their state-issued drivers’ licenses, but a final extension was denied last year. As it stands now, starting Jan. 1, 2018, to board a plane Montanans will need a passport.

“Here in Montana we don’t like REAL ID but it’s gotten to a point because we didn’t get that last waiver that we need to do something,” said Sen. Jill Cohenour, D-East Helena, who is carrying the bill. “This doesn’t go against what Montana has said, but on behalf of Montanans we have to do something about this.”

Under the bill, Montanans would have a choice to get a Real ID-compliant license for an extra $25 when their current license expires. It costs $40 now for a license that lasts eight years. Noncompliant licenses would stay the same price.

So-called “early implementers” would pay an extra $50 to get a compliant license before their current one expires. Cohenour estimated 20,000 would switch their licenses early.

For perspective, it costs $110 to get or renew a passport. Montana has 799,389 unexpired driver’s licenses, according to the Motor Vehicles Department.

Cohenour’s bill would also repeal part of a state law that forbids Montana from implementing the Real ID Act, a law that passed in 2007.

The change would take effect Jan. 1, 2018.

Compliant licenses would be available in the seven largest counties in Montana — Yellowstone, Missoula, Gallatin, Flathead, Cascade, Lewis and Clark and Ravalli. A traveling service would issue new licenses in other communities, or residents could travel to one of the larger counties.

Cohenour estimates it will cost $2.5 million to implement the bill in its first and second years, and about the same in the third. She said it would take another 25 employees to process applications, which require two-person verification and scanning birth certificates.

Montana’s governor, attorney general and U.S. senators all oppose Real ID mandates. The state is without a representative in Congress after the resignation of Ryan Zinke, who is now U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

“Gov. Bullock continues to stand by Montanans in opposition to implementation of REAL ID,” spokeswoman Ronja Abel said Tuesday. “The act, which amounts to a mandated but unconstitutional national identification system, violates states’ rights and jeopardizes the privacy rights of the law-abiding citizens in Montana.”

In January Montana’s U.S. senators, Republican Steve Daines and Democrat Jon Tester, introduced a bill to repeal the act.

“The REAL ID Act infringes on Montanans privacy and civil liberties and is not what most Montanans want,” Daines said Tuesday.

Tester has met with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and asked for an emergency waiver, but has not heard back.

On Tuesday Tester said he was open to a solution.

“We have to take a common sense approach on this. I’m asking for an emergency waiver because Montanans shouldn’t have to choose between privacy, added costs or a disruption of our travel plans and I am open to any solution that can fix this problem and respects our constitutional right to privacy.”

Attorney General Tim Fox is still pushing for a rollback of the federal mandate.

“The best remedy here is something to happen at the federal level. Whether it’s a change in the law or Department of Homeland Security recognizing we have taken steps to improve the security of our driver’s licenses and allow us to come into compliance,” said spokesman Eric Sell.

Sell said while it was too early to estimate the cost of implementation, it will be expensive and the state’s budget is tight this year.

“What is really gained with the state of Montana coming into compliance with Real ID and the Legislature spending all this money and passing this law versus the federal government allowing us to be in compliance under the status quo?”

Cohenour said her bill is a bipartisan effort and has support from Senate majority leader Fred Thomas, a Republican, and will be carried by Republican Rep. Jeff Essmann in the House.

Kalispell legislator seeks ban on sanctuary cities

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Kalispell legislator seeks ban on sanctuary cities

HELENA – A legislator from Kalispell has introduced a bill that would ban sanctuary cities in Montana and inflict steep financial punishment for any local governments that violate the law. Rep. Derek Skees, R-Kalispell, introduced House Bill 611 on Monday. The term sanctuary cities does not have a strict definition.

HELENA — A legislator from Kalispell has introduced a bill that would ban sanctuary cities in Montana and inflict steep financial punishment for any local governments that violate the law.

Rep. Derek Skees, R-Kalispell, introduced House Bill 611 on Monday.

The term sanctuary cities does not have a strict definition. It generally describes places that are welcoming of refugees and illegal immigrants and do not dedicate financial or other resources to enforcing immigration laws and sharing information about immigration status with the federal government when requested.

“If cities choose to do that, this puts some sting to that choice,” Skees said Monday. “This is an opt-out bill. Cities can opt out to not adopt these policies.”

No city, county or local government in Montana has enacted policies concerning citizenship and immigration. Skees said the bill was preventive and not a response to any specific actions in the state.

Under the bill, cities or agencies could not withhold information about a person’s citizenship or immigration status and must comply with an immigration detainer request, which is a request by Immigration and Customs officials to hold a person for 48 hours so federal agents can determine whether to take the person into federal custody in an effort to remove them from the country.

The legislation requires the attorney general to monitor state and local government compliance, investigate compliance and take enforcement action against state or local government that violates the law. The attorney general or a state legislator can bring a civil action. A spokesman for the attorney general said Monday his office had not yet seen the bill and could not comment on it.

A city would be fined $10,000 for every five days it is not in compliance with the law.

Cities not in compliance would also not get their share of property taxes, oil and natural gas production taxes, coal taxes, grants or any money awarded for infrastructure projects. The bill would allow the attorney general to let some money flow to counties or towns for law enforcement purposes deemed necessary and would not cut off education funding.

If the city comes into compliance within 14 days, it would not be punished.

The bill would give the Department of Justice $50,000 over the next two years out of the state general fund for compliance monitoring, investigation and enforcement

Skees bill also has exceptions for those who come forward after witnessing a crime or are the victim of a criminal offense.

Several human rights groups were quick to condemn Skees’ bill Monday.

Shahid Haque-Hausrath, a Helena attorney with Border Crossing Law Firm, said cities have good reason to steer clear of enforcing federal immigration laws.

“The primary role of state law enforcement is to keep us safe. Time and again, law enforcement officers have opposed these types of bills because in order to do their job, they need the trust of the community. In cities where local police enforce immigration laws, immigrants don’t trust law enforcement. They don’t report crimes. This results in more criminals out there doing harm in the community.”

Rachel Carroll Rivas, co-director Montana Human Rights Network, said the bill would harm Montana towns and cities.

“Like so many efforts that are rooted in fear and resentment this policy would only create divisions and foster animosity towards immigrants, who often already feel isolated. This policy hurts our local communities who recognize the importance of trying to create a welcoming community where all people can fully participate.”

Sen. David Howard, R-Park City, carried a bill that was vetoed by Gov. Steve Bullock in 2013 that would have done something similar to Skees’. That bill passed the House 60-36 and the Senate 28-21. Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, also vetoed a ban on sanctuary cities in 2011, saying there wasn’t a problem in Montana and calling the bill “frivolous.”

Skees said his bill mirrors one that will be introduced in Congress by Montana’s U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, a Republican. He said he expected the bill to pass the House and Senate along partisan lines and be vetoed by Bullock.

“I want to put good bills on his desk so Montana knows his position on them,” Skees said of the governor.

A spokeswoman for the governor on Monday said Bullock will “ take a close look at the proposed legislation if it reaches his desk.” The governor typically does not comment on bills working through the legislature.

Sanctuary cities came into the spotlight last fall when during his campaign, President Donald Trump called for cutting off funding for sanctuary cities.

Last month a group of activists asked the Bozeman City Council to enact sanctuary city policies, but the mayor shot that plan down. He did, however, issue a proclamation saying Bozeman was a safe, welcoming and inclusive town.

On Jan. 25 Trump ordered the Department of Homeland Security to publish a weekly list of detention requests turned down by local jails. On Monday, the list was issued by the first time and included 118 locations and 206 undocumented immigrants. Immigration and Customs officials had asked the jails hold those people on a detainer, but those requests were denied.