We are sad to report that yesterday evening the house of representatives for the state of Montana voted to ratify the CSKT Water Compact with a vote of 53-47.  It was very emotional to watch the floor session and to see 53 legislators willingly throw 360,000 of their fellow citizens under the bus for the sake of what, Winning?  A compact?  A governor’s agenda?

Unfortunately through the ratification of this compact, Montana has placed an undue burden upon its citizens.  Having said that, we are ready to proceed forward and will continue to fight the battle in a different forum.

Remember that Attorney General Tim Fox has stated that while there are problems with the compact, it will be too expensive for people to sue.  Our state is counting on us to roll over and to take this sitting down.  Let us all rally together to show them that WE WILL DEFEND OUR RIGHTS, OUR PROPERTY, OUR NEIGHBOR’S RIGHTS, AND STAND UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT.

Rather than focus on those legislators who made our burden great, let thank those who stood up for us and against great pressure opposed the compact in the house and senate.  Mr. Garner is highlighted because he voted for the rules changes that got us the compact and Medicaid expansion.  The events of the past two weeks have been very difficult for all of them.

Ballance, Nancy Hamilton R
Bennett, Jerry Libby R
Berglee, Seth Joliet R
Brodehl, Randy Kalispell R
Brown, Bob T Falls R
Burnett, Tom Bozeman R
Cuffe, Mike Eureka R
Doane, Alan Bloomfield R
Ehli, Ron Hamilton R
Essmann, Jeff Billings R
Fiscus, Clayton Billings R
Flynn, Kelly Townsend R
Garner, Frank Kalispell R
Glimm, Carl Kila R
Greef, Edward Florence R
Hagstrom, Dave Billings R
Harris, Bill Winnett R
Hess, Stephanie Havre R
Holmlund, Kenneth Miles City R
Jones, Donald Billings R
Knudsen, Austin Culbertson R
Lamm, Debra Livingston R
Lang, Mike Malta R
Laszloffy, Sarah Laurel R
Lavin, Steve Kalispell R
Mandeville, Forrest Columbus R
Manzella, Theresa Hamilton R
McKamey, Wendy Great Falls R
Miller, Mike Helmville R
Monforton, Matthew Bozeman R
Moore, David (Doc) Missoula R
Mortensen, Dale Billings R
Noland, Mark Big Fork R
Olszewski, Albert Kalispell R
Osmundson, Ryan Buffalo R
Pinocci, Randall Sun River R
Randall, Lee Broadus R
Redfield, Alan Livingston R
Regier, Keith Kalispell R
Ricci, Vince Laurel R
Schwaderer, Nicholas Superior R
Staffanson, Scott Sidney R
Tschida, Brad Missoula R
Wagoner, Kirk Montana City R
White, Kerry Bozeman R
Wittich, Art Bozeman R
Zolnikov, Daniel Billings R
Arntzen, Elsie Billings R
Barrett, Debby Dillon R
Blasdel, Mark Somers R
Brenden, John Scobey R
Brown, Dee H Horse R
Fielder, Jennifer T Falls R
Hansen, Kristin Havre R
Hinkle, Jedediah Bozeman R
Howard, David Park City R
Keenan, Bob Big Fork R
Moore, Frederick Miles City R
Ripley, Rick Wolf Creek R
Rosendale, Matthew Glendive R
Sales, Scott Bozeman R
Smith, Cary Billings R
Taylor, Janna Dayton R
Vance, Gordon Bozeman R
Vuckovich, Gene Anaconda D
Webb, Roger Billings R


Before we go to that subject, we would like to take a moment to thank each and every one of you who participated in the struggle against this compact.  It was a right and just struggle, and when you think about it, we WON.  The only way this compact passed was because of the rule changes enabled by turncoat republicans who conspired with democrats to defraud the people of Montana.  Make no mistake about that, the people prevailed, and we owe a debt of gratitude to those legislators who stood with and for us.   Remember that, we may have lost this battle but we have won, and will win, the war.  Thank you to everyone.

Planning and strategizing for next steps has been underway for months and the Montana Land and Water Alliance and other groups are readying the next phase in this battle.  There are a number of issues that people should be aware of:

The very first thing to keep in mind is the fact that a 2/3 vote was needed in both houses to pass the Compact because of certain provisions in the Compact in reference to Article II, Section 18 of the Montana Constitution. Neither house achieved that vote margin.

Thanks to the immediate effective date of the compact legislation, parts of the compact are scheduled to be implemented very soon.

Beyond this, there are many parts of the compact that are unconstitutional and illegal and the violation of multiple federal and state laws is evident.

Finally, the Tribes’ federal lawsuit against everyone within the reservation is likely to roar into life very soon, so action to support the Flathead Joint Board of Control and the Mountain States Legal Fund who is representing several individuals named by the Tribes in the lawsuit is also important.

Unfortunately, Montana is not the only state that is aggressively taking its citizens’ property rights in collaboration with the federal government.  For that reason, a class action lawsuit—must be on the table for consideration.  We will keep you informed every step of the way to the best of our ability, given that the legal phase of this will require us to exercise great care on elements of strategy.

There is also much work to be done on our political process.  We can now name names as to who betrayed Montana from both parties.  Thought should be given as to how to deal with these “representatives”, whether it be through a recall effort, launching a voter referendum to change recall laws, and organizing efforts to find and properly vet good candidates.  We must also consider write-in campaigns for elections, since another bill sponsored by republican turncoat Steve Fitzpatrick will control who gets selected to hold a position on the ballot.  While these things might seem daunting, we all know that we are doable if we focus our time and attention on them.

The best part of this whole struggle has been the awakening and strengthening of our communities and the friends and colleagues we’ve met and made along the way.  We are united in knowing what is truly at stake.  Let’s stay together and keep going!

With gratitude