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If you’ve been following the Legislature in the news this year, you may have had a few eyebrow-raising moments when learning of strange bills under consideration. Like, do we really need a bill designating antifa as a domestic terrorist group? Or why are state lawmakers so concerned about transgender kids that they are hellbent on denying them health care?

Actually every general session of the Legislature produces a fair share of off-the-wall proposals that don’t seem to have anything to do with the real issues facing the state. But for the last 16 years, we had Democratic governors. They acted as a backstop for extreme legislation that came out of GOP-controlled legislatures. That’s a bit of recent history that should not be lost on Gov. Greg Gianforte.

Gianforte is a Republican, but he should still use his veto power to prevent ill-advised or irrelevant bills from becoming law. And that could turn out to be very important.

Remember North Carolina’s bathroom law that required transgender people to use the restroom designated for their gender at birth? That led to a boycott from businesses and sports leagues estimated to cost the state $3.75 billion in commerce before lawmakers hastily repealed the ill-advised legislation.

If Gianforte signs into law the bill barring health care providers from providing gender specific care to transgender individuals, Montana could suffer a similar fate. Without question it would invite attention from national news media. And that would give many businesses considering locating or expanding in the state second thoughts.

Gianforte has already signed into law an expansion of the state’s gun carry rights to public spaces — including state college campuses. More than 40% of Montana State University’s enrollment comes from out-of-state. You can bet the knowledge students will be carrying guns into classrooms will give some of the families of those out-of-state students second thoughts about sending their kids to MSU.

Let’s not make more mistakes like that by declaring antifa a domestic terrorist group or denying transgender youth the health care they want.

Gianforte professes to be pro-business and pro-economic development. He should demonstrate that by rejecting clearly discriminatory legislation that will drive new businesses away.

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Editorial Board

  • Mark Dobie, publisher
  • Michael Wright, managing editor
  • Bill Wilke, opinion page editor
  • Richard Broome, community member
  • Renee Gavin, community member
  • Will Swearingen, community member
  • Angie Wasia, community member

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