The Billings Outpost

If only Americans could vote from home ...

State Auditor Monica Lindeen wants us to vote by mail in all elections.

Having the ballot box hanging outside my front door seems a capital idea. I only wish she would take it a step further. I want to vote online with my computer.

My son suggested that voting by cell phone would be even handier.

“I reckon we could do that with smart phones,” I said.

“A really smart phone would tell you who to vote for,” he said.

Not having a smart phone in my pocket, or even a stupid one, I wondered, “Do they have an app for that?”

Our most recent mail-in election ran roughshod over several school levies. It was no surprise. School officials have always known that a big turn-out can kill a levy.

School superintendents and their boards might pray for heavy rain or a snarly blizzard to boost the chances of an iffy bond issue. Many school tax opponents stay at home in foul weather.

What issues might we vote on if we were able to cast our ballots from the privacy of home?

Wacked out bills that died in the last legislative session are apt to be back as voter initiatives. A prime example would be “personhood” issues.

An invention of the billionaires like the Koch brothers who draft bills and distribute them among state legislators, personhood is an end run around Roe vs. Wade. If an embryo were considered a person at conception, abortion would be murder. By this reasoning, contraception, abstinence, menstruation and nocturnal emission would be capital crimes. Zillions of potential human beings are barred from personhood by these practices that interfere with conception.

Medical marijuana is certain to draw fire. You can bet the Montana Tavern Owners association will have a dog in this fight. Before you decide which side you will take, consider:

Jack and Joe are brothers. After work Jack heads for the bar to wet his nose.  Joe drives home, tokes himself mellow and watches “Avatar” on the tube with a bowl of popcorn on his lap.

On the way home, Jack drives 60 mph down First Avenue North and nudges 98 mph in the wrong lane on the Interstate. If his guardian angel is sitting on his shoulder, Jack might make it home alive.

Which one of these bros is apt to quarrel with his wife and beat her half to death that evening ?

Many folks think marijuana should be outlawed because it is a “gateway drug.” You know that’s bosh. I know it. And the teenager taking a hit from a pipe in the parking lot at school knows it.

Cigarettes are a gateway drug, one that kills more users than all street drugs combined. Alcohol is a gateway drug, a socially acceptable one that kills 37,000 Americans per year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s more than deaths from all street drugs combined. Nobody dies from marijuana use. The CDC does not even have a category for deaths caused by the use of marijuana.

Open carry laws attract a certain species of nut. Last year’s open carry law failed to make it through the Legislature. Proponents might sweeten the law’s appeal by making open carry mandatory.

Of course both police and sheriff’s associations will oppose the bill. Wackjob gunners might tempt this constituency with a “Knock and Shoot” bill to overcome the troublesome technicalities of court proscriptions on unlawful search and seizure.

Other states have strengthened their K&S laws by adding “The Castle Doctrine,” which allows home or business owners to sic their dragon on an intruder.

How about that Northern Wall? Hi-Line legislators will press for the construction of a wall more than 500 miles long to restrict the illegal entry of Canadians into the United States. Often maligned as “frost backs,” the stream of Canadians pouring across the border has increased over the years, keeping pace with increases in the price of Molson’s Keystone Lite.

Other possibilities:

• The Ag Transport Relief Act. This legislation would make any rig costing more than $50,000 an agricultural vehicle and therefore tax exempt. The write-off on one of these monsters would pay for four months in a Palm Springs Condo on a PGA golf course.

• The Mexican Border Resolution. The Legislature will urge the feds to finish the Southern Wall by inviting Walmart to build stores abutting one another from Brownsville to El Paso. Half the stores would face south.

 

Copyright 2012 Wild Raspberry Inc.

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