Marshall Swearingen • http://www.bozeman-magpie.com • July 8, 2012
DURING THE 2011 MONTANA legislature—perhaps the most bitterly partisan in recent state history—something curious happened. Rep. Joe Read, a Tea Party-backed Republican who was briefly famous on the Colbert Report for his House Bill 549 declaring global warming “beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana,” sponsored the lesser-known HB 643. The bill would authorize a state-run bank like the Bank of North Dakota.
What is curious—besides that a Tea Party Republican would support a “state-run” anything—is that a Democrat, Rep. Sue Malek of Missoula, sponsored a similar resolution. Rep. Read spoke wholeheartedly in its favor. The support, and opposition, for both bills was bipartisan.
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