By: Senator Jason Ellsworth
Senate District 43, Hamilton
Senate President Pro Tempore, Republican
As the 67th Legislature convened in early January, we did so with Republican majorities in both chambers and our first Republican governor in 16 years. But we also assumed office at an inflection point for Montana.
As the Covid pandemic swept across the country, unfortunately, many Americans handed over their rights to the government without a second thought. This led to a drastic expansion of the size and scope of the government’s control over our daily lives.
In only a matter of weeks, the government banned law-abiding citizens from leaving their homes to earn a living, forced businesses to shut down, and mandated mask-wearing. This isn’t freedom. We won’t accept this type of bureaucratic overreach as the new normal, and the Republican caucus is taking action to rein government and restore liberty in Montana.
We must stand up to this type of government intervention at every turn. If we do not, then Montana will no longer be the Last Best Place. Our Montana values put freedom and personal responsibility ahead of all else – not the Helena bureaucracy or federal government’s orders. The freedom to make choices like whether to wear or not to wear a mask, keep your business open or close it down, or choose to go to work or to stay home is what defines the Montana spirit.
Together, Senate Republicans will combat government overreach and relentlessly defend your liberties. Upholding your constitutional freedoms is what binds us together as conservatives, and we remain united in this mission on behalf of Montanans across the state.
And we’ve been making substantial progress so far. Senate Bill 65 is heading to the governor’s desk. This bill will protect Montana’s small businesses from costly lawsuits, safely reopen the economy, get people back to work, and get life back to normal.
Senate Bill 65 is essential to reenergizing the economy, moving Montana past the pandemic and out of the shadow of heavy-handed government overreach. And, most notably, SB 65 is the key to removing the mask mandate. Once SB 65 becomes law, Montana will have the necessary legal framework in place to responsibly reopen the economy and kiss the days of mandated mask-wearing goodbye.
Senate Bill 132, sponsored by Senator Keith Regier, is another timely example of Senate Republicans’ leadership ensuring freedom for Montanans. The bill prevents you from being forced to taking a vaccine that you do not want. Despite facing opposition from our liberal colleagues who favor government mandates over personal responsibility, we passed SB 132 with each Republican member’s support.
Additionally, I am sponsoring House Bill 108 in the Senate, which will protect Montanans’ private property rights. The bill requires hunters to gain permission from the landowner, the lessee, or their agents before hunting on private property. The law should always protect your property, and this bill strengthens the protection of your personal property.
Freeing Montanans from the grasp of massive government control over your daily life, protecting your rights to private property, and safeguarding your ability to make a living is at the core of our caucus’s mission this session.
We are moving the needle in the right direction, and we will continue to do so as we round the corner on the pandemic and lead the Montana Comeback.