Good Legislation

Every two years I get three months of grumbling about the Montana Legislature. My general philosophy is that their only job is to approve a budget, and address new matters that have arisen in the preceding two years. There are not many things that need legislation. I am not a big fan of state ballads and the like.

The budget is still a mess. After over-taxing us last time around, our leaders cannot seem to agree on how to squander our money for the next two years. No props to the folks in Helena there. But, as to the things that have arisen in the preceding two years, they have actually done a couple of good things.

I believe that the retrospect should include a look at what is not needed. What laws can be taken off of the books. While not exactly doing that, the legislature did address two matters that needed some common sense clarification. One such matter involved the confiscation of antique gambling machines last winter (GeeGuy's take on the situation here).

After so much bad publicity for the state over that situation, the legislature tweaked the law. The antique dealer even got his stuff back. In a preemptive move, the legislature (with approval of the governor) also banned the confiscation of guns during an emergency. This legislation was spawned by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

That debacle showed that the government cannot always be where citizens need help. We are often left to our own devices. When some parts of our society are so willing to disregard law and order without official restraint, it is good to know that, at least in Montana, we will have the right to protect ourselves.

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