Monday, February 28, 2011

Half-Time Report from Representative Warburton

Friends and neighbors,

I write with a “half-time” report from the Montana Legislature. My apologies for not writing more often. It’s been very busy!

From the beginning, House Republican leadership built a 5-point plan outlining our top priorities:

(1) Jobs & Revitalizing the Economy

(2) Natural Resource Development

(3) Balancing the Budget & Streamlining Government

(4) Educational Excellence

(5) Preserving Freedom

We invited businesses from across Montana to Helena Jan. 8 to advise us how to make Montana business friendly and grow jobs. Read about many jobs-focused bills at The number one concern was Montana’s extremely high worker’s comp rates.

In response, we passed a good work comp reform bill that analysis says will bring us to competitive levels with other states. HB334 passed on a party line vote and now heads to the Senate.

We also have legislation coming to reform MEPA (MT Environmental Policy Act) to be more business friendly, and there are bills being developed to address Montana’s uncompetitive Business Equipment Tax.

Believe it or not, clamping down on medical marijuana is a big jobs issue, too! Companies with safety concerns, like oil companies, have been nervous about doing business in Montana since the proliferation of marijuana use. We heard testimony that Montana is now labeled a “source country” like Mexico and South American countries. Motorcycle gangs and organized crime have moved into Montana to ferry drugs grown here to their cohorts on the coast. Bills to repeal marijuana or to severely restrict its distribution are working through the legislature.

Balancing the budget and streamlining government go hand in hand. We won’t see the final results for a few weeks (I’ll keep you posted), but our Appropriations committee is taking steps that have been needed for years, such as putting sunsets on all statutory appropriations (HB 316), meaning spending that is written right into the code. Sunsetting does not automatically eliminate monies for important state responsibilities. It simply means the Legislature will periodically examine that spending and retain, reduce or remove it as appropriate. HB 317 will require government agencies to go through zero-based budgeting. HB 444 will put the state’s checkbook online so YOU can see exactly how your tax money is being spent. There’s good support for TSEP and I’m optimistic about restoring TSEP funding.

Bills with revenue increases or reductions tied to them, like most education bills, have later deadlines in the legislative process, so some haven’t yet come out for a vote. One good bill on the way will allow for charter schools in Montana, successful in other states and an exciting opportunity for Montana.

We’ve passed a multitude of other important bills. Bills to control wolves, illegal immigration bills, bills challenging the authority of the federal government to require Montanans to purchase health insurance, and bills to make private sector health insurance more affordable for Montanans.

A constitutional referendum to require that “economically productive” be added to the “clean and healthful environment” clause. A bill to require that nonprofits who sue to stop industrial projects must disclose who their financial supporters are. Bills to make eminent domain more fair and profitable to landowners. HB 309 to protect property rights and safety by clarifying that irrigation ditches are not open to the public like rivers and streams. A bill to implement a 24/7 program (like South Dakota) to keep drunk drivers off the road without spending millions to incarcerate them. A bill to reduce insurance rates by allowing insurance companies to consider gender. Bills defining that wind energy development rights belong to the surface owner. Bills to crack down on prescription drug abuse. Tort reform bills.

We have passed a lot of good bills! My HB 318 will require county commissioner permission before FWP can dump wild bison into a county, and my HB 377 will allow CNAs to become medication aides to reduce the pressure on nurses and save nursing homes money on travel nurses. I also spoke in support of including funding for MSU-Northern’s auto diesel tech building in a bonding bill for college buildings around the state. MSU-N auto diesel graduates get jobs! If anything is done to renovate college buildings in Montana, Northern needs to be included!

This year we have a clear Republican majority in the House, with 68 Republicans and 32 Democrats. Republicans have a slimmer lead in the Senate and don’t have a veto-proof majority, however, so not everything that passes the House is a slam dunk.

The democrats this session don’t have much power legislatively, so unfortunately some of their partisan operatives’ focus has been on negative, campaign-style rhetoric. I’m hoping that will change in the next half of the session so we can move forward together positively for Montana.

If you want to get an unbiased and unedited view of what is happening in Helena, you can look up bills, watch bill hearings, and even watch the House and Senate sessions at  or on the TVMT cable channel.

You are welcome to call or email me directly any time at 262-3185 or . I’m honored to serve you in the 62nd Legislature.

Thank you!

Rep. Wendy Warburton


  1. Wendy,

    I know that there has been a lot of negative media floating around about you lately; however I think we all appreciate you informing us what is going on in the Legislature this year.

    I do have a few questions regarding your article here.

    1. You mentioned a bill to implement a 24/7 program to keep drunk drivers off the road w. out spending millions to incarcerate them.

    Do you have the location where we can read this bill? Has it been passed already? And did you vote for or against?

    2. You said you spoke in support of funding for the diesel buildings?

    And also said "If anything is done to renovate college buildings in Montana, Northern needs to be included!"

    If you feel that way about MSU-Northern’ buildings, how do you think MSU-Northern’ administration can take a better approach to doing just that? Making Northern up to ADA codes etc...In terms of handicapped accessible.

  2. Yes, I did vote for the 24/7 DUI bill, HB 106. You can read the bill and even watch the hearings at

    It has passed the House and now moves on to the Senate.

    Yes, I did speak in support of Northern's auto deisel building. From what I have seen so far, Northern's administration has been doing a good job to support this, also.

  3. CNA's don't have the education required to hand out prescriptions. Look at their training requirements and ask your self if you would trust your loved one to be medicated by a CNA.

  4. This is the first I have read of the motorcycle gang and drug cartel problem we are having in MT?? Where can I find some factual info on that problem? I agree there are problems with the medical pot program we have now and that could be easily remidied by just legalizing it and tax it the same as we do cigarettes. I mean really, what is the difference between drinking a six pack or smoking pot?

    Why does Mrs. Warburton not mention ANY of her social legislation in her round up? I find that to be very odd? I have said it before that I believe Wendys sole purpose in this legislative session is to ban abortion in any form she can. Now I can understand her dislike of abortion. It is not as if I think of abortion and get a big smile on my face, but banning abortion has been tried and was a miserable, and highly dangerous failure. Fact of the matter is that women/girls will always face unplanned pregnancy and whether we ban it or not they will seek out abortion. To simply say that women should be responsible with their bodies and if they don't want to become pregnant they should refrain from sex doesn't cut it, life isn't that simple.
    We need to step up our education! Why oh why isn't sex education and prevention our main focus? We had to fight like hell to update our sex education curriculum in Helena last summer because the religous right wants to ban abortion, cut funding to Planned Parenthood, and eliminate any and all sex education...tant amount to putting their fingers in their ears and singing bla bla bla. That just makes no sense to me AT ALL? We live in a different world than we did 20 years ago, like it or not. With pop culture, news media, texting, sexting, internet, internet porn, very sexualized TV shows, commercials, etc. We have to adapt and the only way to prevent abortion is to step up and EDUCATE EDUCATE EDUCATE.

  5. I like Warburton.

    She is the one of a group of about 8 of the 100 representatives that supports gun rights 100%. She also supports property rights 100% of the time. I think people and the newspapers in particular like to beat up on her because it makes good news for their cause and to sell papers.

    Mary/Red/whatever - I also agree with Warburton that the Helena expanded sex-ed was way over the top so maybe if you all came back with a decent new proposal parents would be more receptive to your forced indoctrination to your liberal line of thinking?

    I always love your comments Mary because they are so full of hate and venom. (it turns me on)

  6. Joe, I don't know where you are getting hate and venom in my post. I think I brought up some very good points? What part of the curriculum is it exactly that you are offended by. I have found a lot of poeple dont like it and when I ask what it is they don't like, they don't know what part specifically, they just know they don't like it? The curriculum was edited TWICE by Messinger to suit the opposition, they still were not happy.
    I have no issue with guns or property rights, I agree with her on both those issues. But it seems to me that smaller govt isn't what the Republicans are about this session, isnt that why you elected them?
    Mary aka red

  7. Red I agree with some of what you said, I mean when I read about the motorcycle gangs I thought that must be an exaggeration, but then I did some checking and apparently that was mentioned in testimony before the house committee, also the DOJ mentioned the organized crime element and the "source" country stuff came from law enforcement. Our growth rate in Montana in the last year on medical marijuana is over 200% compared with less than 100% in California I guess it makes sense the drug business follows the growth.

    On abortion Red I disagree completely. You can read it in your own words that you think society is warped, you ackowledge that we must "adapt" as you say to culture, but what about getting a handle on the culture itself? Nothing but turmoil and heartache comes from much of these oversensationalized if it feels good it must be good life stories. Our kids need to be taught that somethings must be left to adults. That doesn't mean kids won't experiment and won't make mistakes, hell I was one once too, but I have lived to regret those decisions and my family has paid the price a time or two also. This does not mean society must not only condone such behavior, but actually applaud it. My grandparents would be shocked at today's culture, which is sad, because they paid so much for the right for these kids to have the lives they live now. Its all about choices really and we can hope that people would make the right choices, can't we? I think that's what some of this is, incentive based policy.

    I agree Warburton's message can be over-the-top at times, but it seems to me to be rooted in what she thinks is best for society.

    Liberals promote incentived policies such as green energy subsidies and tax credits to promote what they think is right, but its not ok when the right does it? Intellectually its the same thing, it's just a difference in priorities I think.

    As always, though it's a spirited discussion!

  8. It's halftime, doesn't that mean switch sides??!! Haha, if only...

  9. railroader, unfortunately I feel there is no going back. There is no possible way to eliminate the internet, social media (facebook, twitter, my space, TV), cell phones are never going anywhere and now a days we have most elementry kids using them (which is absurd) and popular culture is what it is. The only way to combat it is to educate our kids. We come from a society now where over 50% of marriages end in divorce and blended families and step parents/siblings are the norm (so why the Republicans are trying to protect marriage from "the gays" is a mystery to me, the gays havent destroyed the "institution" us straights have, but that is whole different story) I don't like it, my grandparents would be horrified as well. Parents are the first line of education, they need to be building up their kids self esteem and giving them the tools to go out and make the best choices they can. When it comes to sex ed a lot of parents don't want to talk to their kids about sex, or they don't have a clue as to what they are talking about, or in most cases by the time they do get around to that awkward conversation it is a day late and dollar short cuz their kids are way past that stage, nobody wants to believe their kids are "doing it". And who better to HELP you educate you kids than a professionaly trained teacher, your family physican, nurses. Names like Connie Peterson, Jimma Severson, Kari Felius come to mind in Havre, do you really thing these wonderful ladies are/were out with their liberal agendas to harm the youth of Havre with their sex education? At the very least if parents are doing their job and are teaching their kids what they need to know when they need to know it, then having a teacher or other professionals reinforce what you are teaching at home can only help. I am a realist and I believe we have to live in the real world here, unless or until the entire world miraculously changes I dont see any other way. And lets face it, a lot of why the Republicans and the opposition are agianst education is purely based on their religious beliefs, which is exactly why I believe Wendy is against it. I am fine if people want to worship their different Gods, but please do not try to force your religion on me. Here in Helena opting your child out of this class was always an option.
    How can it make sense to ban abortion, cut funding to Planned Parenthood which 97% of their operations are womens health, ie prevention, health screenings, education, AND be against formal education in our schools?? It doesn't make any sense to me.

  10. Don’t you think this decline in our country and the increase in problems has something to do with the fact that no one is willing to put any faith in God anymore? Just something to ponder

  11. I don't Suzy, I look back at the God fearing days and don't kid yourself there were a lot of the same problems we face today, just nobody was talking about it and if they were they didn't have the ability to share it instantainously with 300 of their not so closest friends by posting on their facebook or tweeting about it. Its all aobut access to information I think. Men were still cheating on their wives, "girls" were still having babies out of wedlock (they were just sent away for a while) there was still domestic violence and child abuse. I am all for you having the choice to worship you God, but I have no interest, thanks!

  12. rail...

    when i came to mt 34 yrs ago...
    i was shocked at the availability of ANY kind of drug...
    AND the insane boozing and highway deaths as a result.
    other than meth, haven't noticed much change in either direction....

    medical marijuana is bound to spike for a while. good regulation will solve most fraudulent cards.
    keep in mind that some of your representation and enforcement folks serve the interests of the pharm program.
    the ama has acknowledged over 20 legitimate uses and are researching over 50 more. that might threaten as many as 300 pharm gold mines.
    don't suppose pfizer would like to corner the market...keep it illegal until they are set up? sorta like what happened with booze?
    meanwhile one of the most deadly drugs known to man is perfectly legal...
    go figure.

    my old man admitted 40 years ago that there was a lot of "feel good"
    back in the 20s. said his father complained that the country was going to hell in a hand basket.

    why would subsidies for green energy be a bad thing?
    the railroad gets them, in fact, it is the largest welfare recipient in the, wait the former mine in butte might be.
    and you are probably aware that 83% of the top 100 corporations in good ole amelika paid 0 taxes last year. that's no taxation and no representative taking care of our interests...
    safe to say it is a major reason we are deep in the toilet these daze...
    with not enough greasy green paper to climb out.

    careful about that liberal/conservative thing...
    it is how unkie sham keeps shaming you.
    the press helps, works it both ways and most folks are suckered.

  13. johnson...I never said that green energy subsidies were a bad thing, I was trying to make a point about incentivised policy making. Government offers subsidies and tax credits to entice people into following certain policies.

    Yes I am aware of BNSF's tax benefits and I have followed your constant raging about corporations, but remember a corporation is supposed to make money for its shareholders the entire notion that companies are to be good citizens is another liberal ivory tower thought.

    From the days of the Dutch East India company to the modern day ExxonMobil corporations have sought more and more power to make money. It's not their fault, that's their job.

  14. Wow Wendy thanks for going against the peoples vote and siding with medical marijuana repeal. Your not here for the people or you would side with the 62% that voted it in. I will not be WASTING a vote on you any time in the future. Its a job issue on both sides Wendy. We will lose a lot of new money and new jobs if med mar is outlawed. I will lose my second job and will not have the medicine I need to be able to do my first job. Your repeal B.S will ruin a lot of lives and there will be a domino effect. Regulate and tax please. Make some money and create jobs since that is your number 1 point of your 5 point plan. Your speaking for A 62 percent vote and 30,000 cardholders. Remember where your votes come from and tread carefully.

  15. Shawn I was one of the 62% that voted for legalization for MEDICAL PURPOSES but like most good intentions things have gotten out of control. I definitely support the full repeal of this legalization now as do most of people I know now we see how it is being handled. Funny thing about those 30,000 card holding sick people you talk about is that the biggest percentage of them are under the age of 30 and live in college towns


  16. rail...

    not a liberal.
    don't live in ivory.

    all corporate charters require a declaration of intended BENEFITS TO COMMUNITY not shareholders...doesn't pay much attention to that trivial problem, think?

    here in beautiful downtown montana...
    our "model" constitution states that: "no perpetuities shall be allowed except for charitable purposes."
    guess what "perpetuities" means.

    let me say it again so the size of the hose is not missed...nbc news, the other day, said of the top 100 richest corporations in our fair land...
    83% paid ZERO taxes (could have shown profits of TRILLIONS)...
    pretty charitable, huh?

    spent over twenty years with health and human service corporations...
    you should have seen the money vanish...(most especially if it came from unkie sham).
    in fact...
    worked for several and they all went banko...
    guess who paid them in the beginning of their "benefit to community"...
    that's right...
    the same people who would bail them two or three times...
    then pay for the banko.
    business banko is set up for entirely different purposes than the destruction you get as an individual, and is a profitable corporate they still tend to their stockies, thank god.

    maybe some of the best buddies in our lives are the corporations. what would we do without them?

  17. Well Jimbo every large town in montana is a college town. Most cardholders in Montana are in those towns. So are people who drink milk. Coincidence? Jebus! What a stupid thing to say. Why dont you go tell people that have cancer that you dont want them to take their medicine anymore. That if they do you want to spend taxpayer money to put them in jail and wage a court battle against them! Whats wrong with someone who would do such a thing. Take away peoples medicine. Montana has a perscription drug problem. Im off these horrible drugs because of marijuana. Im supposed to go back to opiates and muscle relaxers that will eventually kill me? I dont want to be on those drugs. What are we spose to do Jimbo? Go back to worse drugs that will harm us? Help me out here. What are we to do?

  18. To Jimbo i am also terminally ill and over 50 years old.the meds I used to take made me drool all over myself.At least now I can function.Maybe things are a little out of hand but that isn't my fault so why should me and legitiment people have to suffer???Why can't they fix the gray areas or at the very least put it to another vote.Or maybe you think the Montana Republicans know whats best for the citizens of the state?Wendy compares mexico and south america.Lookout for the bikers and the mafia.What next all cardholders will be reQuired to watch The movie Reefer Madness?
    If they do repeal it, I will still get it, only differance being I will just be a criminal.

  19. another 60 yo cancer patient here...
    was on 13 meds, most of which were to offset radiation/chemo sickness and each other.
    i am now free of 10 of them courtesy of a weed a fraction as detrimental to society as booze.
    what are our moralistic whack jobs down at the fate-house doing about the "demon rum"?

  20. The pain relieving agent in MJ is THC which is available in pill form. Do your Dr's not suggest this, or is it ever offered as an alternative. Seems to me it would be a better solution than having to smoke, which opens a whole other set of problems. I really don't know the answer to this and was wondering if some of the bloggers on this forum have ever asked their pharmacist, or Dr. about it. Please respond if you wish.

  21. Yes Nancy they have put Thc in pill form. Called Marinol and it lacks the other cannibinoids that help with pain like CBD. Let me know when they make a pill that has em all Nancy and I will gladly switch as long as they dont put any other chemicals in it! There are 61 chemicals that are in marijuana only. Not just THC. Read up on the subject before you start spewing crap. That seems to be the biggest problem, lack of knowledge on the subject. Dont talk unless you know what your talking about!

  22. To Nancy theres a show on channel 7 pbs,called the science of cannabis it starts at 7pm tonight 03/03/11 it will explain your Question.If you have to record it it will be worth the watch.

  23. Im sorry I understand your trying to learn more on the subject its just so damn hard not to get defensive when it comes to the only medicine that helps me. Im happy to tell you anything you want to know about Med Mar and anything pertaining to it. Maybe just maybe Nancy, you wont look at it the same way if you could just see the good it does do for people who are suffering. I do understand that it has been abused by certain people, and do agree that some things need to change. That said, I also feel very strongly that it does more good than harm, and if regulated correctly could be very good for the economy and the medical world.

  24. to shawn i don't think nancy was spewing crap at all,she was just asking a legitament question,so ease up.

  25. I know Fed up. Your right. Thats why i left another comment. I know i came off as a dick and im sorry.

  26. I like Wendy, we don't agree all the time, but that's okay. Everyone is different but most of the time I agree with her.
    As far as what some citizen in Helena or Missoula thinks about our rep. If they are ticked at Wendy it must be because she represents us and not them.