A new wave of Republican legislators were voted into office in 2010. The gains in seats for the Republicans and the loses for the Democrats were seen as a message from the voters that they were tired of business as usual. But are the changes that were promised, really the changes that are now being offered? The following examples are representative of the direction conservative legislators are heading.
Montana legislator opposing stricter DUI lawsRep. Alan Hale, R–Basin said drunken driving regulations hurt local businesses and are "destroying a way of life."Maine Republicans seek to rollback child labor laws
"These DUI laws are not doing our small businesses in our state any good at all. They are destroying them," he said in a speech on the state House floor. "They are destroying a way of life that has been in Montana for years and years."Current Montana regulations establish a five-year "look-back period" for drunken driving offenses. The new bill, which passed the state House 88-12, extends the cutoff to 10 years, giving authorities a greater ability to crack down on repeat offenders.
Republican lawmakers are pushing a bill through the Maine Legislature that would rollback child labor laws enacted by the state in 1991.
The bill, LD 1346, establishes a "training wage" for employees under 20 years of age at $5.25 per hour for their first 180 days of employment and increases the amount of hours minors can legally work. The proposed "training wage" is over two dollars less than the state's current minimum wage.
The bill also would eliminate the maximum hours a minor over 16 can work during school days and allow minors to work over 50 hours a week when school is not in session.
Another bill, LD 516, is headed to the Senate floor for a vote after being passed along party lines by a Senate committee, with Democrats voting against the measure. It would allow minors 16 years and older to work up to six hours a day and until 11pm on a school night.
Republicans currently control the state's House and Senate.
Republicans claim rolling back the child labor laws would give employees and employers greater flexibility and let students save more money for college. Democrats said they oppose the bills because it takes money away from young employees and could harm students education.
Maine governor LePage orders labor mural removed
Modify Child Labor Laws in Missouri
Missouri Republican state Senator Jane Cunningham has proposed a bill that would "modify" child labor laws, eliminating the prohibition on employment of children under 14. Cunningham defends the bill, saying that it's important to cultivate a work ethic in young people and emphasizing that kids are still prohibited from working in dangerous professions.In the state's Department of Labor building, a 36-foot mural depicting the history of labor movements in Maine, was removed to send a "message" to business that Maine is not a labor-run state.
The mural, which depicts illustrations of union workers demonstrating in front of black-and-white images showing the state's labor history, was installed in 2008.
He's also ordered a number of the Department of Labor's conference room names changed, apparently because they are named after heroes to the labor movement, like Caesar Chavez and Frances Perkins, America's first female labor secretary.
“I’m trying to send a message to everyone in the state that the state of Maine looks at employees and employers equally, neutrally and on balance,” he reportedly said.Montana Bill to outlaw scienceState Rep. Joe Read (R-MT), a farmer and emergency firefighter who unseated a Democratic incumbent in the climate zombie wave of 2010, introduced HB 549 “to ensure economic development in Montana” claiming global warming is beneficial.
The legislature finds that to ensure economic development in Montana and the appropriate management of Montana’s natural resources it is necessary to adopt a public policy regarding global warming.
(2) The legislature finds:
(a) global warming is beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana;
(b) reasonable amounts of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere have no verifiable impacts on the environment; and
(c) global warming is a natural occurrence and human activity has not accelerated it.Repeal Driver's License in GeorgiaState Rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Marietta has filed House Bill 7, calling it the "Right to Travel Act."In his bill, Franklin states, "Free people have a common law and constitutional right to travel on the roads and highways that are provided by their government for that purpose. Licensing of drivers cannot be required of free people, because taking on the restrictions of a license requires the surrender of an inalienable right."Criminalize miscarriages as well as abortions in GeorgiaState Rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Marietta wants to criminalize not just abortions—but miscarriages as well. His 10-page bill would make any “prenatal murder” a felony punishable by death or life in prison—and that includes miscarriages, in the event the woman cannot prove that there was "no human involvement whatsoever in the causation" of her miscarriage. Holding women criminally liable for a totally natural, common biological process is cruel and non-sensical. Even more ridiculous, the bill holds women responsible for protecting their fetuses from "the moment of conception," despite the fact that pregnancy tests aren't accurate until at least 3 weeks after conception. Unless Franklin (who is not a health professional) invents a revolutionary intrauterine conception alarm system, it's unclear how exactly the state of Georgia would enforce that rule other than holding all possibly-pregnant women under lock and key.Redefining a rape victim as an accuser in GeorgiaState Rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Marietta has decided that there is no such thing as a rape victim. He has introduced a bill “to be entitled” which states that the term “victim” should be changed to the term “accuser” in a number of "statutes making reference to circumstances where there has not yet been a criminal conviction." You can have burglary victims and assault victims but if he has his way, rape victims will become “accusers” because, you know, a man is innocent until he is proven guilty. At least where rape is concerned.You can have burglary victims and assault victims but if he has his way, rape victims will become “accusers” because, you know, a man is innocent until he is proven guilty. At least where rape is concerned.
Bill would require all S.D. citizens to buy a gun
Five South Dakota lawmakers have introduced legislation, HR 1237, that would require any adult 21 or older to buy a firearm “sufficient to provide for their ordinary self-defense.”
Rep. Hal Wick (R-Sioux Falls), is sponsoring the bill and knows it will be killed. But he said he is introducing it to prove a point that the federal health care reform mandate passed last year is unconstitutional.
“Do I or the other cosponsors believe that the State of South Dakota can require citizens to buy firearms? Of course not. But at the same time, we do not believe the federal government can order every citizen to buy health insurance,” he said.
Armed Citizen Militias in MontanaMontana House Bill 278 would authorize creating armed citizen militias able to repel invaders, presumably war-like Canadians.