Is The Tea Party Too Much For Montana?
Tea Partiers continue to cause gasps in the Montana legislature. Even Republicans in the state are calling the Tea Party backed bills a laughingstock for Montana. One such proposal is asking for it to be legal to hunt big game -- with a spear.
HELENA, Mont. – With each bill, newly elected tea party lawmakers are offering Montanans a vision of the future.
Their state would be a place where officials can ignore U.S. laws, force FBI agents to get a sheriff's OK before arresting anyone, ban abortions, limit sex education in schools and create armed citizen militias.
It's the tea party world. But not everyone is buying their vision.
Some residents, Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer and even some Republican lawmakers say the bills are making Montana into a laughingstock. And, they say, the push to nullify federal laws could be dangerous.
"We are the United States of America," said Schweitzer. "This talk of nullifying is pretty toxic talk. That led to the Civil War."
A tea party lawmaker said raising the specter of a civil war is plain old malarkey.
"Nullification is not about splitting this union apart," freshman Rep. Derek Skees said. "Nullification is just one more way for us to tell the federal government: 'That is not right."
Some of their bills are moving through the legislature. Others appear doomed: an armed citizen militia, FBI agents under the thumb of the sheriff and a declaration that global warming is good for business.