It would seem that Nancy Ballance isn’t the only Bitterroot Valley legislator that hates the constitution – specifically the supremacy clause. Theresa Manzella is also pushing a bill that would attempt to trump federal policy and rules.
HB465 is supposedly being presented as a way to ensure that Montana residents will continue to be able to heat their home with wood burning. In order to do that, the bill would direct state agencies to not administer any federal regulatory programs that involve a wood-burning device. So in other words, ignore federal laws.
Clearly, Ballance and Manzella don’t understand the supremacy clause in the Constitution. Federal law trumps state law.
The impact here is that not only would the state’s law not matter when push came to shove, but it would put state employees at risk of being charged for breaking federal law.
But the bill doesn’t stop there! It also puts the state employee in a no-win situation by ensuring that they are criminally AND civilly liable for breaking the state law if they follow the federal rule. That means not only can they get in trouble with the state, but they are also open to a lawsuit from the person breaking the federal clean air law for not ignoring federal law.
How crazy is this?
How do you get someone willing to work in this no-win situation? You either uphold federal law and get punished by the state and homeowner, or you ignore federal law and hope the feds don’t charge you for that?
And for what purpose? The make sure we can keep polluting the air with inefficient wood-burning stoves? It’s not like there aren’t federal programs to help property owners switch over to more efficient, less polluting systems.
Why do these Republican legislators insist on pushing unconstitutional bills? One has to wonder…