In our nation’s long debate about how strong the federal government should be and how much power should rest with state and local governments, Republicans have been fiercely fighting for local control. Why then are we seeing a rash of bills from the Montana State Legislature that violate this basic conservative principle? Space allows only two examples, but there are many more.
HB 200 would force local governments to engage with federal law enforcement on immigration issues; that is, it prohibits sanctuary cities. Montana, of course, does not have sanctuary cities, but our very busy Legislature felt this was a priority. A similar bill was vetoed in the past because it was thought to violate state and U.S. Constitutions, because it created an unfunded mandate to local governments.
More dangerously, HB 273 eliminates the public’s say in placing nuclear facilities. It would overturn a people’s initiative and put local communities at risk in a seismically active area.
These are disturbing bills, in any case, but in opposing them, it seems we should also call the Republican Party to task in its many violations of its own principle.
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