Best Proof the Montana Legislature Operates in a Parallel Universe

Staff Pick

This was a tough pick amid the whacky bills introduced in the Montana Legislature this year. There was the move to legalize spear hunting, a proposal to make “The Code of the West” the state’s official credo, and, not to be forgotten, Rep. Bob Wagner’s “birther” bill, which would require candidates running for federal office to prove their citizenship. But as we look back to find evidence of legislative undertakings spawned in an alternative reality, we think that Joe Read’s House Bill 549, which says global warming is a good thing, provides the best proof of otherworldly misdeeds in Helena. As Glacier National Park’s eponymous icy masses—a prime tourism draw—melt, and pine beetles thrive in warming temperatures, ravaging millions of acres of old-growth trees, Read, a Republican from Ronan, asked his colleagues in February to officially enshrine as state policy this statement: “Global warming is beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana.” Read said warmer temperatures will grow Montana crops. Newsy funnyman Stephen Colbert, tongue in cheek, took his hat off to Read, drawing national attention yet again to our clownish state lawmakers. Weeks after it was introduced, Read’s bill died in committee.
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