By Tim Ravndal
On January 6th 2021, the 3rd day of the 67th Montana Legislature, Representative Julie Dooling carried HB13 to the House Appropriations Committee. Her opening statements were backed by points of support raised by officials within the state government. None of her presentation addressed the negative impacts private business owners have faced in the last year.
Giving a raise of pay when the storm is at its most volatile phase is not boding well with the private businesses across Montana. With the plandemic instituted back in early April 2020, private business owners have been trying to ride the storm out, but restrictions placed on them has caused many of them irreparable damage.
The committee, after hearing from the unions and the organizations that depend on government for their very existence, proudly gave their unquestionable support for the legislation. Many of the effects of the plandemic were not realized by state employees but the last administration under Bullock determined that giving state employees a $.55/hour raise was in order.
Governor Gianforte brought his administration in and without question supports the proposed increase in pay for state employees. The measure which was not discussed in great detail by the committee does not include the Montana Highway Patrol in this pay increase. Many of the finer points of the proposed action were not readily available by the staff because many are working from home.
The hearing heard from the proponents of HB13 and informational witnesses were afforded a seat at the table. When the opportunity for those that objected to HB13 were afforded the opportunity to testify we could have heard a pin drop in the meeting room. Mr. Conrad Evarts who is an entrepreneur that lives in Helena brought the truth to the committee providing the image of a stark difference between government and private business.
Mr. Evarts provided Representative Julie Dooling his business sign that is no longer any use to him. Because of government overreach here in Montana his business that is founded on an international relationship was devastated by the Governor Bullock Plandemic Lockdown.
Mr. Evarts provided the committee his heartfelt struggle including his sadness brought on by lost promises made by Governor Greg Gianforte. Mr. Evarts stated he was hopeful that Mr. Gianforte would take immediate action to correct the wrongs made against the people by Bullock. Unfortunately the process that has led Montana into 2021 was referred to as “Bullock Light”
Representative Mary Caffero objected to Mr. Evarts using names in his testimony. Interrupting Mr. Evarts testimony brought a few seconds of silence in the room but did not stop Mr. Evarts from driving his message home. A couple other business owners testified against the bill stating the lack of fairness in private business struggling to survive while government employees are afforded another blanket of protection.
The following video is the message of the day that everyone in Montana should take a few minutes to hear this message of truth. It is not an exclusive lock on the tragedy that many are facing here in Montana but Mr. Evarts spells it out in plain English.
We talked to a couple of the legislators regarding the action on the bill and they showed concern that this bill came in as a priority in this legislative session with little disclosure on the background. It was stated that the executive action on the bill will likely be down the road as many questions remain unanswered.
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