Just when you thought the Legislature was settling in for a little bit of normalcy, Nancy Ballance rides to the rescue. Coming up later this week, Ballance’s Sheriff’s First bill will be discussed by the Judiciary Committee.
This bill puts the county sheriff above all other law enforcement officials – specifically, federal agents. It requires federal agents to receive express, written permission from the county sheriff before carrying out any searches, arrests or any other action within the county.
This has come up in the Legislature before and each time it’s failed. But this is one of those key issues to some of our wackier legislators. Ballance is obviously taking her cue from the former Celebrating Conservatism movement here in Ravalli County. Several years ago they circulated a petition seeking local government officials to sign on to this kind of crazy. Fortunately, most of them, including Sheriff Hoffman, refused to sign.
Undaunted, Ballance has taken the issue to the Legislature, apparently hoping to force it upon local law enforcement since they ignored it the first time around.
When there are so many important issues facing our state, it’s sad we have to waste time and money at the legislature to deal with this kind of ideology. The bill is pretty clearly unconstitutional and would be struck down by the courts. And that’s only if it would get past Gov. Bullock, which it almost certainly wouldn’t.
But hey, this is what folks voted for. I hope they feel like they’re getting their money’s worth!