PSA: #mtleg literally made it against the law for local communities to do anything about COVID. If we pass a local mask mandate the state will strip our city's public funding and/or sue. It's an absolute nightmare. The only person who can take action right now is the governor.
City Councils aren't discussing mask mandates for this reason—not because we don't care. Our cities can't function (water, sewer, roads, transit) without state $$, which was the whole point of writing this threat into law. #mtnews #mtpol
"Just do it anyway, let the state sue you!" The loser there is you the taxpayer who then pays for the lawsuit on BOTH sides. And these aren't cheap lawsuits—they drag on for years. In the meantime the state has dozens of ways to punitively chop Billings' funding. #mtpol
They trapped us. #mtleg trapped local communities. Cities own libraries, police stations, fire departments, parks, airports, bus systems...and we can't even make the rules in OUR OWN BUILDINGS. If we do the state can pull funding & shut entire departments down.
All of this is because last spring @mtgop reversed state law. Before, state mandates were the minimum with local communities able to add additional restrictions. Now, state mandates (there are none) are the maximum. It's now against state law to add additional local restrictions.
Source: "Laws passed earlier this year include one allowing county commissioners to override rules by local health officials, essentially taking away their power to take quick action addressing the pandemic."…
"Another law states that if jurisdictions add public health rules stronger than state public health measures, they could lose 20% of some grants. There are no current statewide COVID-19 measures in place." (Gazette cont.)
Source: "The legislation alters the sections of state law dealing with the powers of counties and municipalities to enact ordinances and resolutions. It prevents those actions from denying customers 'the ability to access goods or services.'"…
“'The language eliminating local government authority to enforce any resolution or ordinance that interferes with a customer and business relationship is very broad and not limited to public health,' Eric Bryson, the [MACO] executive director, wrote in an email." (AP cont.)
Source: "House Bill 702 makes it illegal for an employer to require a vaccine, a sharp shift from where hospitals and doctors’ offices were a year ago when they could mandate that from their employees, with few exceptions."…
"House Bill 121 also stripped local health boards of the authority to mandate masks or issue shelter-in-place orders, transferring that to elected local leaders, mainly the county commissioners." (Current cont.)
"Even then, HB257 says that a government cannot come between a business and its customers, meaning that even the elected officials could be powerless to enact such a mandate without possibly inviting a lawsuit." (Current cont.)

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More from @kendrainmontana

28 May
I've got a story to tell you about Montana local government, which is that for SOME REASON a significant number of people believe cities should be able to operate on the same budget year after year, while simultaneously calling on government to act more like a business. /1
Please tell me which businesses freeze employee salaries for years on end. Which businesses don’t have to deal with inflation? Businesses regularly raise prices to cover inflation, but when government does the same we're vilified as politicians out to "raise people's taxes." /2
Yes, cities/towns have to incrementally raise taxes. OF COURSE WE DO. Taxes are the price tag of living in civilization and year to year sewer pipes cost more, as do street lights, MET buses, police salaries, city engineers, and fire apparatus (trucks). /3
Read 10 tweets
26 May
Hardworking Montanas will be able to buy, like, one cup of coffee. Gee thanks so much. Goodbye universal pre-k, railroads, mental health funding, teacher raises, etc. This is what we traded for a single cup of coffee.

The millionaires are sure happy though! Phew!
I'm basing this off of the expectation that a family at $50,000 should receive back about $16. For a single individual making minimum wage I'd assume they're getting $5 at best. That's 1/6th of Yellowstone County.
Here's what kills me. Pre-k costs $600/month. Yet somehow the GOP has managed to convince a whole bunch of people that it's instead better for them to get back $5/year. Good luck with that $4,200 pre-k bill. This is just one issue.
Read 5 tweets
13 Feb
I don't think anyone outside the US realizes just how bad our country's COVID response has been. You've seen our horrific death rates. But these are just the tip of a very brutal, very deep iceberg. /1
The US doesn't have universal healthcare or childcare and most of us are not in unions. The federal minimum wage has been frozen at $7.25/hour for 12 years. Approx. 1 in 6 kids lived in poverty BEFORE the pandemic. It's only gotten worse. /2…
In the US there is little support for raising kids under 5 aside from a minimal tax deduction. Childcare costs major $$. Healthcare for a family of 4 on the open market runs $1,200/month with a $13,000 deductible. Get pregnant? It can *easily* cost your family $25,000+. /3
Read 9 tweets
3 Jan
Smart, capable, experienced people are NOT running for public office in the US. If you’re watching the madness of our elections from the outside and wonder how we got the cult trying to illegally keep Trump in office, this is how. A thread. /1
First, running for local office is expensive, time-consuming, and pays terribly. If you need a job to support your family, and don’t have a partner to support you, public life below the federal level will be extremely challenging. /2
Say you decide to run for office anyway. Do you have multiple friends right now who will write you checks for a couple hundred dollars? If not, you can’t get even buy lawn signs. If you can’t buy lawn signs, no one will know who you are. /3
Read 10 tweets

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