Big Sky 55+: 2023 Legislature Bulletin #4

Week 4 in Helena — update from Big Sky 55+!

Inside this week’s Legislative Bulletin #4

  • Action needed on HB 282 and 283 — Bad Landlord/Tenant Bills
  • Update on SB 121, the Governor’s exorbitant tax bill
  • "Right to Work" bills attacking the rights of Public Employees
  • NO mention of Montana’s Long-Term Care Crisis in the Governor’s State of the State address, despite these grim statistics:
Reminders — Join us!

  • "We the People" Rally on Wednesday, Feb 1 at noon in the Capital.
  • Our next Legislative Town Hall — Can Montana Senior Care Survive the 2023 Legislature? Monday, Feb 6, 6pm.
JOIN Big Sky 55+

Big Sky 55+
PO Box 1663
Helena, MT 59624
United States

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YC Study Group 2023 02 01 – Engaging Red Voters

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Wednesday, February 1st, 7:30 am via Zoom, Danny Choriki will lead a discussion about engaging moderate Republican voters

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Wednesday, February 1st, 7:30 am via Zoom, Danny Choriki will lead a discussion about engaging moderate Republican voters

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2023 AT 12 PM – 1 PM We the People: A Rally for the Montana Constitution Montana State Capitol We the People: Rally for Montana’s Constitution – Northern Plains Resource Council

Monday, February 6: Moms Demand Action Advocacy Day Helena, MT Link to RSVP:

Thursday, February 9th, Freedom of the Press and the Public Right to Know, 6:30 pm Webinar Register

Monday, February 20LGBTQ+ Lobby Day with the Free and Fair Coalition Helena, MT

Thurday, Febrary 23Public Lands Rally 2 PM Helena, MT

Danny, Wednesday, February 1st , 7:30 am via Zoom, Danny Choriki will lead a discussion about engaging moderate Republican voters

**Breakfast Club discussions among members may continue until 9:00 am depending on member interest. Please consider holding announcements or information not related to the speaker’s topic until open discussion period at the end of the meeting.

Please remember to mute your microphone during the meeting unless you are speaking. Add questions in the chat box at the bottom of the screen, use the raise hand image under reactions, and keep questions short so the speaker has time to respond. Thanks!


Social Hour at MAD Pizza
Every other Thursday at 5 pm at MAD Pizza, East of McCormick Cafe at 2417 Montana Ave
26 January 2023
9 February 2023
23 February 2023

Coffee and Conversation.
All Democrats are welcome.
Every other Monday at Black Dog Coffee on Poly Drive, 8:30 AM.

  • January 30, 2023
  • February 13, 2023
  • February 27, 2023

Questions, text Wanda 406-671-9777

Tipsy Tuesdays

Volunteer-led far-left socializing each Tuesday at Bar MT, 2314 Montana Av. Starts at 7pm.

  • Every Tuesday evening.

Valentines Day Luncheon and Card Creation
WHEN: Saturday, February 11, Noon
WHERE: 404 Houle Dr. (Robyn Driscoll’s House)

Come enjoy lunch and stay to make valentines that will be delivered to the Memory Care Unit at West Park Village. I will have construction paper, glue, glitter and other decorations, but if there is something particular you need to create your valentine, I encourage you to bring it. If you could bring a pair of scissors, too, that would be great. Please RSVP to Robyn robyn, so there is plenty of food. See you then!

Next members meeting
Our next members meeting will be held on Tuesday, Februay 20, 2023 in the evening at 6pm. It will be jointly held on zoom and at the Unitarian Fellowship Hall at 2032 Central Av.

Minutes and agenda.

Danny Choriki started a meetup called Danny’s List. This is a buildup to the community calendar I am working on. If you have an event you would like to publicize, let me know. Political or educational.

Don’t forget the YC Dem Calendar.

And then there is our website.

Contact Danny if you have any thoughts, concerns, want to be more involved, etc.

Danny Choriki at +1 406-850-4631 (text) or danny.

We the People: A Rally for the Montana Constitution
Montana State Capitol
Event by Montana Human Rights Network – MHRN, Northern Plains Resource Council and Western Native Voice
Montana State Capitol
Born on May 8, 1927, to George and Doris (Brenner) Stickney in Beloit, WI., he was the second of four children.

Ed attended Murray High School in St. Paul, MN and graduated in 1945. After his Military service in the Korean Conflict, he attended Macalester College for his undergraduate degree in Premed and received his Doctorate in Family Practice from the University of Chicago. He completed his internship at Minneapolis General Hospital.

While at Macalester, Ed met Jessica Page and they were married in June of 1951. They had their first child, Claudia Jean in Chicago in 1954. The family moved to Broadus, MT where Ed started his own family medicine practice in 1955 as the only physician in town. During this time Ed and Jess had their second and third children: Laura Jane born in 1955 followed by Jeffrey Page in 1957.

In 1961 the family moved to Miles City, MT where he practiced medicine for 37 years. Even after moving to Miles City, Ed would fly his own plane back to Broadus to see patients. In 1998 Ed and Jess moved to Billings, MT and he retired in 2000 after practicing part time with Billings Clinic.

He was avidly involved in the church, and Ed and Jess volunteered their time and leadership to many organizations and financially supported many nonprofits they held dear.

Anyone who knew Ed would say he was a stickler for the proper use of the English language, and he would correct any and all offenders. He also enjoyed word play and excelled in the art of "punishment." As much as he appreciated words, Ed lived and loved through music. He delighted in playing piano duets with family members and special friends. Whether it be duets with his son Jeff and daughter Laura or accompanying Claudia while she sang, there was nothing he cherished more. Music was his lifeblood.

Ed lived a wonderfully long life. The memory of his wit, his joy, his love of family and his passion for making the world a better place will carry on through those who knew and loved him.

He is preceded in death by both parents, sister Katherine (William) Huber, brother Robert Stickney, wife Jessica Stickney, brother-in-law David (Mary Fran) Page, and sister-in-law Elizabeth Owens.

He is survived by his children Claudia (Bob) Fife, Laurel, MT; Laura (John) Blodgett, Billings, MT; and Jeffrey (Peggy) Stickney, Missoula, MT; brother George (Sharron Gebhardt) Stickney, Gilbert, AZ; and sister-in-law Janet Hawk, Billings, MT. Grandchildren Andrew (Julienne) Stickney, Jessica (Randy) Mayes, William (Kristin) Fife, David Stickney and great-grandchildren Kayden, Liam, Lena, Rook, Ruby, and Duke along with many cousins, nephews, and nieces.

A Memorial will take place May 8, 2023, at 2:00pm at Mayflower Congregational Church.

Contributions can be made to Rocky Mountain College, Intermountain Children’s Home, Mayflower Congregational Church or a charity of your choice. Arrangements by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.

Open Letter to Matt Rosendale from Bruce A. Lohof explains to him why failure to honor the national debt would be a catastrophe. The appears in the 1/12/23 edition of the Carbon County News.

“We weren’t amused when House Republicans, obstructed by your Freedom Caucus, took 15 ballots to select a Speaker. There’s little left of Kevin McCarthy and it’s become difficult to think of him without a smirk. You and your Caucus are equally diminished. Our suspicions – that you’re less interested in governing than in breaking things – are confirmed.

Not that delay was critical. We’ve read your legislative agenda – let’s see, here in pride of place is getting to the bottom of Hunter Biden’s laptop – and most of it can wait. Spectators who liked the gavel debacle, though, may not like the part where the House fails to honor the national debt. Let me rephrase that: the part where you throw the U.S. Government into default. What’s up?

Perhaps you don’t know the difference between spending money and paying bills. Washington habitually lives beyond its means. Hence the national debt. You can reduce debt by reducing expenditures. You cannot reduce it by stiffing creditors.

Perhaps you think of the debt-ceiling debate as a gun to our head. It’s you saying to us: we’ll pull this trigger unless you slash spending for the “safety net,” for the IRS, for you-name-it.
Or perhaps you see the debate as performance theater. Perhaps you’re a breaker of things who’s oblivious to consequences.

A U.S. Government default would have consequences, though. And each one would be a nasty surprise for your constituents. Items:
Soaring interest rates. Small businesses, local governments, and mortgage holders would suddenly find borrowed money more costly. You claim to like small businesses. Many of your constituents hold mortgages. How will they cope with higher interest rates? Whom will they blame?
Vanishing benefits. Do any of your constituents receive Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits? Agricultural subsidies? Do they anticipate receiving student loans or tax returns? Do they visit U.S. Government facilities? To be blunt: Montana receives $1.47 from Washington for every $1 that Washington receives from Montana. Is this really a spigot that should close because you don’t know the difference between spending money and paying bills?
A devalued dollar. As the globe flees to the Euro or Yen and away from a dollar that no longer enjoys the “full faith and credit of the government,” the cost of imported goods climbs. Your constituents buy things that are not made in America. Do they want to pay more for them so that you can hold a gun to the establishment’s head?
Double-digit inflation. As happens whenever a currency goes south, inflation flares. You’ve been blaming Joe Biden for inflation rates of 9 percent (although by year’s end they’d fallen to 7). What will you say to your constituents when inflation moves above 15 percent because you’re a performance artist, not a legislator?

These are several reasons why U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that defaulting on debt obligations is “unthinkable” and “would have absolutely catastrophic economic consequences.” Are you listening? Your constituents are.”


  • Webinars: Tackling Housing Needs in Small Towns (see details below)
  • Contacting Legislators
  • MT Senate Committees 2023
  • MT House Committees 2023
Look up legislation on MT Leg site: LAWS Look Up Bill Information Page (

Watch hearings live: Montana Legislature (

Submit Testimony Go to: use the testimony request form to submit written testimony. You can also choose to give Zoom testimony.

Track basic topic and specific bills using the free version of FastDemocracy

Under the Rotunda daily newsletter (from MDLCC): Under the Rotunda (

Forward MT Newsletter: What the Helena – Forward Montana

MT Free Press Newsletters: Montana Free Press in your inbox. – Montana Free Press

MT Free Press Podcast: The Session (

Montana Conservation Voters Newsletter: MCV MATTERS Newsletter Signup (

MFPE Newsletter and Updates: Protect Montana’s Public Schools and Services (

MT Human Rights Network Action Alerts: Stay informed and connected (

Northern Plains Resource Council Info: Legislature – Northern Plains Resource Council

MT Sentate Committees 2023
MT House Committees 2023
Yellowstone Democratic Study Club is an independent organization working to bring community leaders to discuss a variety of issues in weekly breakfast hour sessions.

Issues discussed are for information only.
Meetings are open to the public.

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Property Tax Relief Deadline Reminders for Homeowners

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Legislative Action Item from MT State Democrats – 30 Jan 2023

The MOFE has a great newsletter/email list on education-related bills moving through the legislature. I’m sharing the link to that here in case anyone would like to sign up: Montanans Organized for Education (

Thanks, all!

Montana House and Senate Democrats

🚨Action Alerts🚨

Testimony Help Sign Up Form

*hearing dates and times are being regularly rescheduled, if a hearing has changed, it will be indicated with a yellow highlight


What: HB 317, Provide for the Montana Indian Child Welfare Act

Position: SUPPORT

When: Wednesday, February 1st @ 3 pm

Where: House Human Services Committee – Room 152 – Sign up to testify or submit written comment

Goal: 5+ in person/zoom, unlimited calls/emails

Talking Points:

  • The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is integral to protecting the best interests and well-being of American Indian children in Montana.

  • In 2020, American Indian children made up 9% of the state’s child population and 35% of the children in foster care.

  • HB 317 is essential for protecting Indigenous children in Montana and tribal sovereignty.

LAP_ Week Five.pdf

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Letters from an American 2023 01 30

The news today illustrates a dramatic difference between governing and garnering votes. President Joe Biden was at the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel in Baltimore, Maryland, today to celebrate the bipartisan infrastructure law, passed in November 2021, that is investing about $1.2 trillion in fixing our highways, bridges, internet access, and so on. In Maryland it will devote about $4 billion to fixing and expanding the 150-year-old Baltimore and Potomac railroad tunnel, which has become a bottleneck for the 9 million commuters who pass through it as they travel the vital link between Philadelphia and Washington. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Open in app or online

January 30, 2023

Heather Cox Richardson
Jan 31


▷ Listen

The news today illustrates a dramatic difference between governing and garnering votes.

President Joe Biden was at the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel in Baltimore, Maryland, today to celebrate the bipartisan infrastructure law, passed in November 2021, that is investing about $1.2 trillion in fixing our highways, bridges, internet access, and so on. In Maryland it will devote about $4 billion to fixing and expanding the 150-year-old Baltimore and Potomac railroad tunnel, which has become a bottleneck for the 9 million commuters who pass through it as they travel the vital link between Philadelphia and Washington.

The law is formally known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and Biden noted that fixing the tunnel is expected to create 20,000 jobs over the next ten years. He also announced that it, along with all the Amtrak developments on the Northeast Corridor, would be built by union labor.

Tomorrow, Biden will speak at the West Side Rail Yard in New York City to talk about how funding for the Hudson Tunnel Project from the bipartisan infrastructure law will improve reliability for the 200,000 passengers a day who travel through it on Amtrak and New Jersey Transit.

The passage of the measure in late 2021 took months of careful negotiations even as former president Trump—whose own inability to pass an infrastructure measure became a running joke—tried to scuttle the talks. Biden’s victory lap is not undeserved.

The administration today also called attention to the effects of its new border enforcement measures providing migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela a legal path to obtain a two-year visa so long as they have a U.S. sponsor and a thorough background check. The new system will admit up to 30,000 migrants a month.

New data shows that the number of migrants from those four countries has dropped 97% since the program went into effect. Overall, migrant encounters at the border have dropped by half, although migration from Ecuador and Peru, which are growing unstable, has increased. The administration has asked Congress repeatedly to fix our outdated immigration system, but Republicans derailed the effort in the previous Congress when they objected to a path to citizenship for so-called dreamers: people brought to this country as children. Now almost twenty states led by Republicans say the administration’s new program violates the law, and they are suing to stop it.

In charge of the House, Republicans plan to hold hearings on what they call Biden’s border crisis. Today the White House called out “some elected officials” for “trying to block the Administration’s effective measures because they would rather keep immigration an issue to campaign on than one to solve. If those elected officials succeed,” the press office said, “their actions will lead to more illegal immigration."

Actually governing is a lot harder than talking about it. On December 30, House majority leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) promised that the House Republicans would “hit the ground running to do what we promised on the border, crime, energy, inflation, Life, taxpayer protection & more.” He outlined eleven bills the party would bring to the floor in the first two weeks of the new Congress. Half have indeed been voted on by now—the fifth week of Congress—but they were only for show. They will never pass the Senate, and no one is trying to negotiate to pass them. The other half aren’t on the calendar.

Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin noted today that the Republicans have turned to investigations, abortion, threatening the national debt, and trying to defund the Internal Revenue Service rather than dealing with the issues they insisted were vital in 2022: crime and inflation. She also noted that at the very time the Republicans were hyping those issues, both crime rates and inflation were actually falling.

More demonstrations for the extremist base appear to be coming. As Amy B. Wang noted today in the Washington Post, the Republican National Committee is urging lawmakers to “go on offense in the 2024 election cycle” on antiabortion measures, although since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, voters have made it clear they want abortion rights protected.

Nonetheless, as party leaders have done repeatedly when voters reject their increasingly extremist stands, the RNC suggests that the party did poorly in 2022 not because their stand was too strong but because it was too weak. Candidates were not clear enough about their opposition to abortion. The RNC wants them to demonstrate their conviction by passing strict laws that outlaw abortion at six weeks, before many people know they’re pregnant.

House speaker Kevin McCarthy has, however, backed off on Republican suggestions that they will not agree to raise the debt ceiling without cuts to Social Security and Medicare. On Face the Nation yesterday, he said the party was committed to “strengthening” the programs. In fact, the only proposal on the table right now to strengthen the programs is from the far-right House Republican Study Committee, which calls for strengthening Social Security and Medicare by, among other things, raising the age at which people become eligible for them.

I’d love to hear McCarthy explain how that plan is not a cut in the programs.

Finally, today, former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has applied for a six-month U.S. tourist visa. Bolsonaro entered the United States when he was still president, two days before his successor took office and a little more than a week before his supporters attacked the government and tried to reinstate him. That timing means he came to the U.S. on an A-1 visa restricted to heads of state, which had to be replaced as soon as he was no longer president.

Bolsonaro’s lawyer told Reuters reporter Daphne Psaledakis that Bolsonaro wants "to take some time off, clear his head, and enjoy being a tourist in the United States for a few months before deciding what his next step will be.” In fact, the right-wing leader has made it clear he is afraid of the many investigations underway in Brazil for fraud and now for inciting the attack on the government that might end up putting him behind bars.


Twitter avatar for @FritschnerAaron Fritschner @Fritschner

In December incoming House Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise announced 11 bills the GOP majority would "bring to the House Floor in the first 2 weeks." Half haven’t gotten votes yet, and none are on the schedule for the current week, which is Week 5 of the 118th Congress
Twitter avatar for @SteveScaliseSteve Scalise @SteveScalise

🚨 Sent a letter to my colleagues outlining bills the GOP Majority will bring to the House Floor in the first 2 weeks. We’re ready to hit the ground running to do what we promised on the border, crime, energy, inflation, Life, taxpayer protection & more.
5:50 PM ∙ Jan 30, 2023

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Montana Free Press 2023 01 31

From the reporters, editors & supporters of MTFP in Helena and far-flung Montana.

Your daily newsletter from

Groups seek federal protections for Arctic grayling

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to adequately account for climate change impacts and a lack of regulatory safeguards for river-dwelling Arctic Grayling, environmentalists argue in a lawsuit filed Jan. 30. By Amanda Eggert

Resolution on new House and Senate districts is sailing through the Legislature

A resolution containing lawmakers’ feedback on newly drawn state House and Senate districts is sailing through the legislative process ahead of a deadline next month. By Arren Kimbel-Sannit

Bill would penalize officials who fail to hand over records to legislative auditors

Proposed legislation making its way through the Montana Senate seeks to clarify the responsibility that state agencies have to provide certain information to legislative auditors. By Arren Kimbel-Sannit

Trust, perception and Montana elections

Heading into the 2023 session, Montana was primed for a pitched policy debate over the integrity and security of its election process. Now the conversation among lawmakers has kicked loose questions about trust, perception and how extensive the case for change truly is. By Alex Sakariassen

Committee debates medical ‘right of conscience’ bill

A bill that would allow medical institutions, providers and other health care employees to deny services based on their “ethical, moral, or religious beliefs or principles” was the subject of intense debate Monday during an initial committee hearing, setting up a conflict over rights of providers and patients. By Mara Silvers

The Session: A speech, a crowded hearing room and the cost of defending laws

Governor Greg Gianforte delivers a State of the State address that focuses on economic growth but lawmakers are turning their attention to social issues. By MTFP Staff

Empower journalism. Strengthen democracy.

Did you know that only 2.7% of MTFP readers support our newsroom with a donation? We are a reader-supported nonprofit, and your contribution will help us continue reporting on important news from every corner of our state.
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Our 2023 Capitol Tracker compiles hearing schedules, public participation protocols, legislative processes, bill statuses, lawmaker statistics, voting data and key MTFP coverage all in one easy-to-use interactive place. Use it to make sense of how your representatives in Helena are making the laws of the land.
Get an insider’s view into the halls of power as the reporters of MTFP keep their eyes on the representatives you voted for (or against) this year. Sign up for the free Capitolized newsletter and get exclusive analysis and insight during the 2023 legislative session.
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Montana Free Press · PO Box 1425 · Helena, MT 59624 · USA

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Tracking the 2023 Montana Legislature

Keeping track of the Montana State Legislature is more important than ever.

The Yellowstone County Democrats are working to more effectively and efficiently track what is going on at the legislature and soon after following the federal legislature. Here is what we are working on.

  • Purchasing a tool to track the legislature and organize the efforts to let each other know what is going on at the state legislature. We have selected We need to raise $8,000 in order to purchase and effectively use this tool for the current session.
  • Help people to start using
  • Coordinate efforts.

For more on the fundraiser for the campaign for Yellowstone County Democrats.

To donate to the FastDemocracy campaign.

Stay tuned for updates on this project.

Posted in Updates | Tagged , , | Leave a comment – Eyes on Helena

Yes, Democrats in Montana are on the defense. It’s time we got better at it.

Call or text Danny Choriki at +1-406-850-631, or email

Among the top priorities for Yellowstone Democrats in 2023 are:

  • To keep a skeptical eye on the wing nuts at the 2023 Legislature.
  • Increase the effectiveness of our citizen efforts to impact the 2023 Legislature.
  • Organize for the municipal elections in 2023 and the next round of the state and county elections in 2024.

To advance these goals, the Yellowstone County Democrats want to purchase a two-year, professional version of

The following is from their website.


Great Question. It is a great free tool for any citizen to simply and easily keep tabs on any state legislator as well as the US Congress. It also provides a great set of professional tools to organize the effort, maximize the impact, and contribute to future organizing efforts.

Sign up for a free citizen’s account. This description is from their website.

“FastDemocracy was built because we believe that everybody deserves to know what their governments are doing. That’s why we provide basic bill tracking for free while giving Government Relations Professionals the most intuitive and powerful legislative platform out there.

“FastDemocracy Free is for politically interested individuals who want to casually follow along with legislation and want to contact their legislators.

“FastDemocracy Professional is for Government relations professionals, nonprofits, advocacy groups, businesses, law firms, associations, legislators and journalists. Basically, for anybody who needs the best legislative tools and information to succeed with their advocacy goals.”

Fast Democracy Website, 7 Dec 2022

With the professional version, we can coordinate and track the efforts of all our members who are using FastDemocracy Free to keep tabs of their important issues. This allows us to coordinate efforts and send out and publish specific calls to action on bills, hearings, votes, etc.

What do we need?

Help us raise $5,000 for the license for the FastDemocracy Professional license. This lasts until the beginning of the next session. A little bit more ($500) covers the credit card fees and other administrative costs.

Anything up to $8,000 will be a one-time contribution for help organizing the effort, rewards for volunteers, and possibly some merchandising!

Once we have reached our bottom target of $5,500, we will order the professional version and start organizing our efforts. Until then, please sign up for the free version and start tracking areas and bills that are of concern to you.

And while you are at ActBlue be sure to set up a monthly sustaining donation to help fund our ongoing organizing efforts.

Here are the differences between the two versions of FastDemocracy.

FastDemocracy Free Features

  • Create a personal account to track state and federal legislation
  • Track bills and topics
    • Web and mobile app
      • Notes on bill

FastDemocracy Professional Features

  • Real-time legislative alerts
  • Real-time hearing alerts
  • Categorize bills into lists, by topic, client, or priority
  • Customizable reports for clients and stakeholders
  • Upload testimony and documents
  • Collaboration with colleagues and partners
  • Embeddable legislative widget for your website
  • Patent-pending bill similarity detection
  • Amendment analysis and alerts
  • Vote scorecard creation
  • State press releases
  • Legislator statistics
  • Premium support
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Anomie and the threat to American Democracy

“It’s the economy, stupid.”

James Carville, 1992.
Writer's Note: For a fuller explanation of the concepts of anomie, one great starting place is the personal website ( of Prof. Dr. Christian Wickert who adapted his class curricula to create the pages. The links below are to his content. Further reading is available on Prof. Wickert's website. Or comment below and I'll see what I can find. There are a number of basic and moderately advanced videos on this topic at YouTube.

The original concept of Anomie (“a-nuh – mee”) comes from Émile Durkheim, a French sociologist of the late 19th Century. Durkheim was trying to explain the increase in suicide as the early stages of industrialization swept France. A modern way of looking at Durkheim’s theory is that as technology changes impact the lives of individual people, it creates economic shifts that make societal changes. The old ways no longer work and individuals become desperate as they watch the economic and social deterioration of their lives.

In the 1930s, the American sociologist, Robert Merton, expanded the concept from a focus on the individual to a focus on social structures. Society has “rules” or “norms” or expectations of behavior. In return for following these norms, the individual has a meaningful life.

When this social contract or the “collective consciousness” is no longer in sync with the social and economic reality, people’s lives are disrupted. This creates tension in the life of the individuals. As that tension grows, the willingness, even the ability to adhere to the past’s social norms melts away.

In the academic field of criminology, a major branch of sociology, anomie in the United States is being tied to economic inequality and perhaps more telling, the significant decrease in upward economic mobility.

By the 1980’s Robert Agnew added another dimension to the related theories of anomie. Specifically the role of an individual’s stress in General Strain Theory. Agnew also ties together a number of threads of thought including the psychology of stress and emotions, and methods of social control.

These theories from the social sciences give us a structural framework to understand the rising discontent in western civilization and especially in the United States. It explains rising suicide rates, addiction rates, violence in the homes, and increasing criminality in our streets. It explains individual isolation and the breakdown of the sense of community.

The answer to this politically is, it isn’t society’s fault that bad things happen. It is the responsibility of the individual who made bad choices. We need to help these bad people from making bad choices by increasing the consequences for doing bad things.

And so the argument about what is wrong with America goes back and forth. It’s illegal immigration. It’s drugs. It’s poor parenting. It’s gen K’s fault. It’s healthcare. It’s the deficit. It’s socialism. It’s capitalism. It’s guns. It’s bad cops. It’s lazy kids. It bad education. And on an on ad nauseum.

The reality is that it is bad policy. Policies that have killed the “American Dream” during the past two generations. Policies that destroyed hope, not just for a better future for “my “our” children, but policies that destroyed hope for a better future, period.

We need to correct the policies that destroyed the middle class here in the United States.

It’s the economy, stupid.

Anomie explains the breakdown of social morality and the shared sense of community when important implicit social promised are not fulfilled. Is it really any wonder that with the death of the American middle class dream, that people are upset? To the point to trying to do something about it?

Of course not.

Happy people do not start revolutions.

There is no single cause of this mess we call our daily lives. But if we want our civilization to survive our lifetimes, we need to start making investments into the future.

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Living is exhausting

MSU Billings students doing a self created and produced skit called Under the Blankets. Its about teen suicide. Part of a larger project started in Miles City where students use the dramatic arts to talk about the social and personal stresses of life growing up in these United States.

There is nothing as harsh as self judgment backed by a little bit of social validation. Those voices, oh those voices in my head. They never stop. The voices. They never stop. They never stop. Until you do.

And so it ends. The four young women in the skit are all dealing with different aspects of the issue. From survivors to manic depression.

Yeah. There are monsters that kill under those blankets.

Personally, the line that bugs me the most is "snap out of it." As if.

Post presentation conversation. I get why the advocates for mental health want to get people to this about mental illnesses as a health issue and I agree with one caveat.

Happy people don’t kill themselves. People living in supportive environments, people comfortable with who they are, people with roles they enjoy, these are the things that make people happy. So yes, some of it is the scripts we play in our minds, but some of it is collateral damage from an economic system that doesn’t care.

Posted in Cognitive Scripts, Daily Life, Depression, Health | Leave a comment