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Goofy Montana Legislator Embarrasses State

It would be funny if it wasn’t true. Montana’s every-other-year lawmakers are at it again. The somewhat backward state legislature has a history of introducing some of the most nonsensical bills known to man. And this year is no exception.

State representative Jerry O’Neil has introduced a bill that has affectionately been labeled “torture-for-time” by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. It seems Rep. O’Neill thinks that offenders should be given the option to endure pain (corporate punishment) over prison time. The Chronicle quotes O’Neil as saying, ”Ten years in prison or you could take 20 lashes, perhaps two lashes per year.  Which would you choose?”

This bill isn’t novel, it’s embarrassing. In a state where we have issues like under-funded schools and universities, strapped cities in oil boom country with a lack of police and jails, and overpriced housing, you would think the legislature would have more important issues to tackle.

Rest assured not all Montana legislators are enamored with the ridiculous. There are many hard-working, intelligent men and women in the state government trying to serve the priorities of a vast and diverse population. Hopefully those who read the account of Rep. O’Neil will understand that all Montanans are not idiots. Every state legislature seems to have its share of silly people—Montana just has a few more than normal.

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