Montana Constitution

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Montana Viewpoint: Private sector leads assault on privacy


Remember the good old days when we worried that the government was going to invade our privacy? Remember many years ago your Social Security card said right on it, “Not to be used for purposes of identification?”

We were worried about an attack from the wrong quarter—at least for a while—because the real assault on privacy came from the private sector. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Putting the public in public records


The people who wrote the new Montana Constitution, ratified in 1972, were admirably clear on the subject of access to public records. Under the heading of “Right to know,” in Section 9 of Article II, the Declaration of Rights, the constitution says: “No person shall be deprived of the right to examine documents or to observe the deliberations of all public bodies or agencies of state government and its subdivisions, except in cases in which the demand of individual privacy clearly exceeds the merits of public disclosure.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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Montana Ethic Project: Our constitution and right to know


This is the 19th chapter of the 32-part video series “The Montana Ethic Project.” This chapter features Dorothy Eck, a delegate to the Montana Constitutional Convention in 1972 and later a state senator for 20 years, speaking on “The Right to Know and the Montana Constitution.” You can watch the whole video below. Here is how it begins:

(more…) Continue Reading →

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Montana Viewpoint: No national ID, thanks


Recently the Department of Homeland Security granted Montana an extension of time to conform to the “REAL ID” law passed by Congress in 2005. In a nutshell, the REAL ID law demanded that state driver license and identification cards conform to federal requirements concerning information and data-sharing as laid out by DHS, and that these identification documents have the approval of DHS. (more…) Continue Reading →

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On open caucus question, ‘efficiency’ argument falls short

Editor’s note: Longtime AP reporter Bob Anez sent me an email responding to my Sunday column, and when someone with Bob’s experience has something to say, you listen. I liked what he said so much—while realizing how ill-thought-out my own position had been—that I asked if I could print his email. He said yes:

I have met few journalists I respect more than you, but I disagree with a few comments in your column regarding the secret GOP caucus last week. (more…) Continue Reading →

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GOP caucus definitely dumb, likely illegal


For the record, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to prohibit Montana legislators from caucusing in private. I’m all for the public’s right to know, for making public documents available to the public, for making sure public bodies conduct their business in public. But caucuses? Traditionally those have been strategy-setting sessions involving members of a political party. Making caucuses public is like allowing the defense to sit in on the offense’s huddle. Continue Reading →

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