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Party Platform

You can view the MT GOP Platform by planks, or read the entire document at once

By plank: Preamble | Agriculture | American Indian Affairs | Business and Labor | Crime | Economic Development | Education | Election Law | Human Services | Immigration | Local Government | National Affairs | Natural Resources | State Administration | Taxation | Transportation | Resolutions

Or, read the entire platform below.

(Note: This text is TENTATIVE until compared against the official minutes of the 2014 Montana Republican Convention)


Preamble

Why is this Platform important?

This Platform sets forth the Montana Republican Party’s positions on major issues facing the citizens of the Treasure State. It is meant to communicate what the Party stands for; to instruct local, state, and federal GOP officeholders; and to serve as a basis for crafting strategies for both legislative and civic action.

What do Republicans believe?

The Montana Republican Party subscribes to a set of principles that transcend specific policy issues while guiding the positions the Party takes on those issues. These principles derive directly from the wisdom of America’s Founders, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.

Republicans believe “these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Republicans believe that to secure these God-given rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Republicans believe that the Constitution of the United States of America is a unique and binding compact, which defines a republican form of government designed to protect the rights of citizens by limiting the power of their government.

Republicans believe that the Constitution is as relevant today as it was on the day it was ratified. It is not an evolving, ever-changing document.

Republicans believe that centralization of political power invites the replacement of the rule of law by the rule of men and thus enables the rise of totalitarianism.

Republicans believe that each level of government should continuously strive to limit the scope of its own activity and to avoid infringing upon the lawful activities of free citizens.

Republicans believe in the dignity of each individual person and in promoting opportunities for all.

Republicans believe that a robust civil society—traditional families, churches, and various voluntary associations of free citizens—is essential for sustaining self-government.

Republicans believe that in the absence of free markets and secure property rights, personal and political freedom cannot long flourish.

Republicans believe in the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death, and that only parents have the right to direct all reproductive decisions for their minor children.

Who are the Republicans?

Montanan Republicans are men and women of all walks of life and of all creeds and colors. We are grateful to God for the quiet beauty of our state. We are united in viewing the United States of America as an exceptional nation that in its inception broke the historical norm. We celebrate being self-governing, free citizens. We recognize the debt we owe those citizens who came before us, and we gladly acknowledge our duty to pass the gift of liberty on to our children and grandchildren.

If you share these values, please join us.

Platform Plank Statements

Agriculture

The Montana Republican Party recognizes agriculture as a premier industry, which creates new wealth in our state economy—as goes agriculture, so goes our Treasure State. The private ownership of property is a fundamental principle of our constitutional republic and government’s only function is to secure such rights. We aggressively oppose government interference in, or regulatory control over agriculture beyond enumerated constitutional powers.

American Indian Affairs

The Montana Republican Party supports American Indian tribes and their treaties with the Federal Government.

We also support a continued, expanded and flexible economic relationship between the tribes and the State of Montana.

We support the tribes’ development of their natural resources.

Business and Labor

Preamble

The Montana Republican Party believes in free market principals and the rights of employers and employees with a minimum of government interference and regulation.

Employment

We encourage all employers to hire Montanans. We believe that membership in labor bargaining units must remain free and flexible. We embrace the concept of multiple use and encourage responsible development and management of our renewable and nonrenewable natural resources industries by the private sector. We recognize the importance of new and existing Montana businesses as the source of economic growth in Montana. We support and encourage new capital investment in the Montana economy.

Worker's Compensation

We advocate a workers' compensation system that continues the reforms adopted by the Sixty-Second Legislature.

Government

We believe government programs should be restricted to those services which cannot be provided by the private sector. The role of government in economic development is to facilitate competitive private sector growth. We oppose unfunded government mandates. We believe in transparency in government.

Regulations

We support Republican efforts to reduce the size of state government. We advocate all state administrative rules, regulations and statutes be assessed and, as appropriate, amended or repealed for the benefit of Montana. We support the active cooperation of government and our basic industries in exploring opportunities for the export of Montana products in the world market.

Tort Reform

Tort reform is an important issue in Montana that must be addressed.

Crime

General Principle

We support the concept of individual responsibility; that each person is accountable for his or her actions.

Truth in Sentencing

The public has a right to know, at the time of sentencing, the minimum amount of time a criminal will be incarcerated and under what conditions the criminal may be eligible for parole.

Supervision of Convicted Sexual Offenders

The Republican Party supports registration, monitoring, and supervision of convicted sexual offenders and timely notification to victims and local (city and county) law enforcement of the offender’s pending release.

Internet Predation

Cyber-crime and child pornography are growing menaces that the legislature should continue to investigate and deal with appropriately.

School Safety

Every school must have the authority to expel, or otherwise discipline a student who brings a firearm or dangerous weapon into a school building or commits or incites others to commit an act of violence toward teachers and/or students. Every school also has the authority to expel, or otherwise discipline a student who brings illegal substances onto school property.

Youth Court

Youth Court should focus on responsibility and accountability through immediate, consistent, enforceable, consequences for those who violate the law. In the case of juvenile offenses, custodial parents or guardians must be a part of the restitution and rehabilitation process.

Corrections

We support a corrections system that:

  • Provides public safety,

  • Utilizes best practices to reduce recidivism,

  • Addresses the impact of crimes to victims, and

  • Requires community approval for community based corrections programs

Restitution

Criminals have an obligation to repay victims or victims' families for the cost of the crime. The restitution obligation should be addressed at sentencing and a portion of the offender’s earnings should be applied to restitution.

Limit Appeals

We urge the government to expedite appeal(s) in death penalty cases and restrict frivolous lawsuits by inmates, recognizing that the costs are borne by the taxpayers of Montana.

Jury Authority

We reaffirm the principle espoused by our nation's founders that our court system belongs to the people, not the government. We recognize both the power and the moral obligation vested in juries to secure justice by judging both the facts of a case and application of the law itself. We support requiring judges to fully inform jurors of their constitutional rights and responsibilities.

Drugs and Alcohol

The legislature should continue its efforts to deal effectively with those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. We recognize the danger that substance abuse poses to our society. We support stronger penalties for repeat offenders. We support alternatives and options to reduce recidivism.

Parental Rights

Parents shall be allowed to reasonably discipline their children without legal consequences.

Consistency in Firearms Laws

Although the Montana Constitution gives the Board of Regents “full power” to “supervise, coordinate, manage and control the Montana University System,” it does not give the Board any authority to amend, alter, or abolish the Montana Constitution, nor does it give the University System the authority to deny citizens of Montana the rights they have reserved to themselves from government interference in the Montana and United States Constitution, including the right to keep and bear arms.

Economic Development

The Montana Republican Party is committed to eliminating the barriers to economic development and fostering a business friendly environment through less government and more freedom. We advocate for:

  • Limiting regulations that inhibit development and business activity,

  • Consistent, reasonable, and timely permits,

  • Reforming or eliminating state agencies or departments that restrict economic development,

  • Reducing or eliminating taxes that hinder development,

  • Continuing to lower Workers’ comp rates,

  • Encouraging free market development of Montana’s diverse industries, resources, and technologies,

  • Tort reform eliminating frivolous lawsuits,

  • A government that is predictable, equitable, constitutional, and follows the rule of law,

  • A system of public and private education that responds to the needs of the market place, and

  • Eliminating government programs that favor certain industries and companies at the expense of others

Education

The Montana Republican Party recognizes that educating Montana’s children, which takes place in homes, churches, and schools, is ultimately the responsibility of parents, and essential to maintaining the American way of life. The Party further recognizes the duty that each generation has to educate following generations. We believe our public schools can best contribute to fulfilling this duty when parents, elected school board members, administrators, teachers, and other local citizens control the content of instruction and the allocation of school resources. Local control stimulates innovation, properly allocates resources, encourages civic engagement, and guards against federal overreach.

The main effort of the Montana Republican Party in the realm of education is to restore local control of the public schools by means of legislative action and, if necessary, by amending the State Constitution. The objective is to empower local boards of trustees and limit interference from either the Board of Public Education or the Office of Public Instruction, except as provided by law.

We support increased trustee discretion:

  • to use prescriptive accreditation standards as guidelines.

  • to deliver to each student the skills to compete in a world economy,

  • to improve appropriate measured student outcomes including reporting and transparency of performance,

  • to pursue innovation,

  • to increase administrative efficiencies,

  • to allocate academic and vocational funds,

  • to provide daily opportunity for students to voluntarily pray and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and

  • to control curriculum and the use of technology.

In addition, the Montana Republican Party supports legislative action in the following areas:

  • We support the right of parents to choose the way their children are educated through public, private, church, charter, virtual and home schooling or any combination of those, and through funding which more readily follows the student.

  • We support requiring parental consent for collection, use, or distribution of student and family personal information.

  • We support a parental opt-in system in regard to sex education in the public education system.

  • We support requiring parental consent for participation in standardized assessments.

  • We support the creation of a transparent, flexible, accountable, state-based school funding formula that facilitates parents’ choices regarding how their children are to be educated.

  • We support a responsive, performance-based, affordable higher education system.

  • We support a balanced post-secondary education system for those who wish to attend 4-year, 2-year and community colleges, pursue vocational training, or pursue other routes to success.

Election Law

Voter Registration

Montana voter registration should ensure all registered voters are eligible to vote and are registered to vote only in Montana. Voter registration periods should be ample but end prior to election day so that election administrators can focus solely on administering a fair and clean election on election day and are able to report election results in a timely manner.

Election by Majority

Montana should be served by elected officials who are supported by a majority of those voting, not a minority. Therefore the Montana election process should be changed so that election by majority in the general election is accomplished by the adoption of a quick runoff system so that if no candidate receives a majority vote a runoff election is held between the top two candidates.

Nomination of Candidates

The members of the Montana Republican Party have the right to freely associate as guaranteed by the US and Montana constitutions. Therefore it is the position of the Montana Republican Party that the voters that select candidates to appear on the general election ballot should be limited to members of the Republican Party who have registered themselves as members of the party if a primary election process is used, or by state or local conventions of the party if a primary election system is not used..

Reform of Political Practices Office

Montana has the only Political Practices office in the nation where a single person serves as investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury of alleged political practice violations. This office needs to be reformed to separate the prosecution function from the judge and jury function with the transfer of the legal enforcement components to the Attorney General and the clerical and reporting components to the Secretary of State.

Human Services

Preamble

The Montana Republican party recognizes that the individual has primary responsibility for his or her own health and welfare. We support efforts to improve the Montana human service delivery system by continuing to reassess the programs and participation of each department providing these services. We support treatment and care whenever possible in a family related manner at the local or community level. The Montana Republican Party affirms its belief and support for family values.

Human Life

We affirm our belief in traditional family values and support the preservation of innocent human life at every stage of life beginning at conception through natural death. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion, or fund organizations which perform or advocate abortion. In concert with these beliefs: 1) We support efforts to provide parental notification and consent, and informed consent in all cases involving abortion; 2) We support those individuals and organizations seeking to provide positive alternatives to abortion, such as adoption; 3) We oppose assisted suicide; 4) We oppose partial birth abortion; 5) We support a moratorium on human cloning for any purpose; 6) We support non-embryonic stem cell research; 7) We support abstinence education.

Health Care

We support the repeal of ObamaCare. We oppose the implementation of ObamaCare including expanding Medicaid through ObamaCare. We support patients' maximum freedom in health care decisions.

Services to Children and Youth

We support social policies and services that preserve and strengthen the traditional family unit. We support inter-agency planning, collaboration, and coordination of family-based, faith-based, and community-based services tailored to the needs of children, adolescents and their families.

Immigration

The Montana Republican Party takes pride in the fact that our country was founded by emigrants from many countries. We support legal immigration and a total overhaul of the current immigration laws, making them more compact & workable. We support securing our borders against illegal immigration and penalizing employers who knowingly hire undocumented aliens. To prevent undocumented aliens from taking jobs in the U.S., those here illegally must be denied work permits and any other types of legalization, and they must be removed from the country. We support the original interpretation of the 14th Amendment so that only children born to citizens and legal permanent residents are U.S. citizens at birth.

Local Government

Preamble

The Montana Republican Party supports efforts to return control and authority to local units, as the government closest and most responsive to the people.

Funding

We believe all levels of government are responsible for funding their own programs. No level of government should mandate responsibilities or programs to lower levels or subdivisions of government unless funding for those responsibilities and programs is also provided. Any additional State-mandated local government services should be funded by the State. We strongly urge the Governor of the state of Montana to refuse any federal mandated programs requiring funding by the State or local governments, except those based on a declared national emergency by the President of the United States. We continue to support the goal of limiting local property tax and fee increases and require greater accountability. We urge Congress to FULLY fund payments-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILT) for the purpose of reducing the property tax burden placed upon local taxpayers to provide services. We support ideas that will assist in the funding of local government such as returning federal land to the state. We support the revenue sharing established by the Montana legislature and Montana’s units of local government in order to prevent tax increases at the local level.

Local Responsibility

We believe local governments are responsible for resolving local problems. State government should be responsible for its actions affecting local government and all state restrictions on self-government should be extremely limited and narrowly construed. We do not support local governments implementing forced participation rules as a means to suppress an individual’s rights or beliefs. We encourage all local government entities to strive for less intrusion into the private sector.

Individual Rights

We believe local governments shall enforce property use regulations only upon property or citizens living within the local government’s boundaries. The rights of individuals to vote on local governmental tax or fee issues and officials are fundamental. We also believe that growth policies developed by local governments are not regulatory documents and should not be viewed as such by governing bodies.

Property Rights

We believe that governmental units should protect individual rights associated with property ownership that guarantee a property owner’s ability to use property as the owner wishes, as long as he or she causes no harm. We support prohibiting the state of Montana and its political subdivisions from adopting and developing environmental and developmental policies that, without due process, would infringe or restrict the private property rights of the [property] owner[s].

Voter Rights

We encourage increased voter turnout in local elections. We support volunteer efforts to register new voters and to get them out to vote. We believe it is essential that every eligible voter exercise his or her right to vote. We believe eligibility should be established prior to the date of the election. We support vigilance over the integrity of the voting process and the deterrence of voter fraud. We support only voting processes utilizing a robust individual verification process for each ballot.

Government Transparency

We support open meetings for government decision-making bodies. We strongly urge taxpayers to review, comment, and participate in the development of county, city, and school district budgets. We encourage all local government entities to publish their budgets, draft policies, regulations, agendas, minutes and election information on the internet to provide transparency to the highest degree. We urge local bodies to use sunset review of all newly implemented taxes and fees. Pursuant to government efficiency, we support combining elections and election activities when possible.

United Nations Agenda 21 and Land Use

We recognize the destructive and insidious nature of the United Nations Agenda 21 and hereby expose to the public and public policy makers, the dangerous intent of the Agenda 21 plan.

We encourage the State of Montana and its political subdivisions to engage in the coordination process with all federal government agencies that adopt policies under NEPA or other applicable federal law.

Privacy

We believe local governments should exclude themselves from activities that would infringe on the constitutional rights of citizens (i.e.: license plate scanners, red light cameras, or any methods of tracking citizens or infringing on their privacy).

National Affairs

Preamble

The Montana Republican Party supports individual freedom and liberty for all citizens of the United States of America. We hold fast to the principles of our founding fathers, including self-determination, small government, state’s rights and equality for all citizens. We affirm that the United States Constitution is and shall be the "Supreme Law of the Land.” We adamantly oppose any attempts, whether direct or indirect, to destroy and/or undermine the Constitution of the United States and its Amendments, including the Bill of Rights.

Personal Rights and Liberties

We affirm the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all individuals. We affirm the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of each human being from conception to death. The people of Montana have voted to define marriage in our constitution as only between one man and one woman. We support the definition of marriage as only between one man and one woman.

Montanans have a constitutional right to the free exercise of their religion, which includes the right not to participate in activities of daily life that violate their faith. The Republican Party of Montana therefore stands with people of faith in opposition to the enactment of laws infringing upon this constitutional right.

States' Rights

We agree with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who stated that the U.S. Supreme Court does not have the sole authority to judge the constitutionality of federal laws. We hold with these men that the States not only have the right, but also the duty to nullify unconstitutional laws in order to protect their citizens. We demand federal withdrawal from those areas of responsibility reserved by the U.S. Constitution to the states and people. We demand our state elected officials to undertake appropriate action, including legal action, to confine federal power within its constitutional limits. We strongly encourage the Governor of Montana to continue to utilize the authority extended to the Executive Branch by the Montana Legislature to vigorously defend Montana's right to self-governance under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. We call upon our Congressional Delegation to urge strong states’ rights policies governing the use of public lands and resources in the West. We commend the passage of the American Lands Sovereignty Act. We oppose any extension of federal or regional bureaucratic control over water originating in Montana and consider any such action an infringement on states' rights. We demand that the United States comply with its compact with Montana, as that compact was understood in 1889 for inclusion of statehood. The Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer of the county. We support the requirement that a federal officer may not arrest, search or seize in Montana without the advanced, written permission of the elected county sheriff.

Right to Bear Arms

We affirm that the right to bear arms is a right the people of Montana have reserved for themselves, individually, from interference by government agents and government employees. We oppose any restrictions on the type or number of firearms any law-abiding citizen may own or possess. We support the extension of the castle doctrine to include individual vehicles. We oppose any system of national registration of firearm owners and their firearms and the setting of limits on the quantities of firearms and ammunition that are owned by an individual. We strongly defend the Montana Firearms Freedom Act and the prosecution of any government agents violating that law. We oppose the concept of "gun free zones” in any form or in any place except detention facilities.

National Defense

We support peace through strength, and a strong military including the Montana National Guard and State Militia under the direction of the Governor. We acknowledge the need for the continued maintenance of military strength to defend our nation, with an emphasis on research and development, conventional forces, and refinement of strategic defense initiative technology. We support continuing efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation, but totally oppose any suggestions of unilateral disarmament on the part of the United States, or placing any troops or military resources under United Nations or foreign command or the deployment of United Nations or foreign Troops on United States soil for any reason, and support relocation of the U.N. to any country that will have them.

We strongly support defense of our borders by the federal government, upon their failure to do so the state will exercise their right to defend its borders. We strongly support the Constitutional requirement of a formal Congressional declaration of war before committing regular troops to a military operation.

We urge that those in charge of veterans’ affairs accelerate efforts of the appropriate agencies to meet the medical and physical needs of those impaired in the service of our country, including vouchers to private carriers to expedite waiting lists.

We stand against the indefinite detention of our citizens by certain provision of the NDAA as it violates the right of habeas corpus and the 5th, 6th, & 9th amendments of the US Constitution. We further affirm that we oppose the Patriot Act and all of its versions or others instruments that erode our individual liberties.

Inflation

We feel that vigilance must be used in continuing to control inflation, as this represents one of the greatest threats to the well-being of all Americans. We stand against federal money policy being established by the Federal Reserve and stand in support of constitutionally defined money.

Energy

We urge, through private enterprise, the development of energy resources, including alternative forms of energy. We oppose any federal or state government subsidy or mandate to purchase energy in any form. We oppose any tax on carbon emissions. All cost effective forms of energy shall have equal access to the grid as specified by deregulation. We oppose the federal government yielding to any international pressure to oppose any regulation on domestic energy production or consumption. We oppose any classification of CO2 or other greenhouse gasses as dangerous gasses or pollutants. We stand strongly in support of the completion of the Keystone Pipeline. We are in favor of only those Federal administrative rules that do not exceed the authority of the statute.

Telecommunications Policy

We believe that private industry will provide a viable information highway for the future if all government agencies will provide a supportive environment. We oppose federal telephone excise taxes and further government-imposed taxes, fees, or charges on telecommunications or the internet in any forms. We believe a modern telecommunications network will bring substantial benefits to the entire nation in areas such as economic development, education and health care. We oppose all future government internet restrictions that would infringe on the rights of citizens.

Entitlements

We oppose the creation of any new entitlement programs or the expansion of any existing programs

Flag Desecration

We strongly support an amendment to the Constitution of the United States that would protect the flag from desecration.

National Sovereignty

We support the Republican National Committee resolution on United Nations Agenda 21 in its entirety.

Data Privacy

In keeping with an individual’s right to private property, based on the 4th Amendment, individual data belongs to each individual. The government, be it local, state or federal, is required to obtain a search warrant based on probable cause, which must be approved by a non-secret court before the collection of an individual’s data is allowed.

Federal Debt

We oppose the irresponsible accumulation of federal debt and federal deficit spending.

Federally Managed Public Lands

The Montana Republican Party supports the U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, U.S. President, other public officials and citizens of Montana and the United States to fully exert their efforts and powers to support granting federally managed public lands to the states; and in accordance with the Enabling Act of 1889.

Natural Resources

Preamble

Montana’s way of life and economic prosperity are inherently dependent upon the responsible and sound management and development of natural resources. We support a natural resource development policy that promotes jobs in Montana and reduces our dependence on federal aid and foreign resources.

Water

Montana's water quantity and quality are of prime importance to our quality of life and our general economy. We will continue to defend the 'first in time, first in right' doctrine protected by State Law. We support cooperative efforts and water leasing to provide in-stream water for fisheries during periods of low flow, if not detrimental to prior appropriators. We recognize the responsibility of maintaining existing beneficial uses of water in our state and support the continued beneficial development of water. We support retaining existing water storage projects and dams and we oppose the federal prohibition on additional impoundments of water. We oppose any claim or actions of others, including the federal government and downstream states, to Montana’s water that could in any way damage our rights and/or economy. We oppose removing the word navigable from the definition of waterways as defined by state or federal agencies. We recognize the Montana State Water Court as the final authority on water rights in Montana subject to appeal to the Montana Supreme Court. We affirm the legislature’s constitutional duty to provide for the administration, control, and regulation of water rights under state law which is non-delegable to any other claims of regulatory authority or jurisdiction.

Land

Any government involvement in land use planning should be local and with full recognition of the primary rights of private land ownership. We oppose the federal government and any foreign or international entity, such as the United Nations, exercising authority over land use and natural resource decisions in Montana. We believe that eminent domain should be used sparingly and only as necessary for the best interests of the people of Montana. We oppose the creation of 'buffer zones' by legislation, administrative or judicial rule, or agency policy to expand water and land use restrictions. We oppose any federal special land designations. We urge the Montana Congressional delegation to sunset wilderness study areas. We support the granting of federally managed public lands to the state, and development of a transition plan for the timely and orderly transfer.

The Montana Republican Party opposes the creation of any additional wilderness areas. We oppose the circumvention of Congressional authority by the executive branch to create de facto wilderness areas and national monuments to restrict public access to and use of federal lands. We oppose additional acquisition of acreage by federal agencies. Any public acquisition of private land cannot result in a net acreage gain to the state or federal government. We oppose publicly funded subsides for conservation easements.

Timber

We urge government agencies to aggressively pursue and manage public timber areas. Management should focus on sustained yield and include voluntary Best Management Practices to provide adequate environmental stewardship. We support timely harvesting and restoration of fire and beetle damaged forest. We urge improved economic well-being of our timber communities through developing legislative and administrative actions that promote existing and value added wood products in Montana. We oppose the let burn policy and the use of controlled burning where those objectives can be achieved with responsible timber management and harvest. We support the use of tariffs until consultation by the United States with foreign countries results in an easing of economic conflicts or establishment of fair, free trade agreements.

Energy and Minerals

We support the private development of energy and mineral resources and oppose the government acquisition of any privately held energy and mineral assets in any form. We strongly encourage the development of Montana's abundant, renewable energy resources when this can be accomplished without taxpayer funding, and urge continuing development of economically viable alternative energy systems for both Montana and national energy needs. We support the state and federal government in recognizing hydroelectric dams as renewable energy. We believe exploration, development, and management of energy and mineral resources in an economically and environmentally responsible manner is essential. We support the development of Montana coal for domestic and export use. We oppose carbon taxation in any form including cap and trade legislation. We support coal-fired generation in Montana and we reject the classification of carbon dioxide as an air pollutant. We support the construction of additional transmission and pipelines to provide improved access to markets, however the economic interests of Montana must first be considered.

Environmental Impacts

We support informed natural resource decision-making by government entities based on sound science. We strongly encourage the coordinated cooperation of all property owners and government entities to assure the people of Montana that all possible efforts are being made to eradicate noxious weeds within our state. We urge the state legislature to review all environmental administrative rules of Montana. The Montana environmental policy act should be reformed to protect private property rights, the economy, and society.

Fish and Wildlife

We urge the Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks in coordination with other affected agencies and local government to manage the state’s wildlife and fish resources in a manner which will be responsive to local concerns, including diseased wildlife and habitat capacities. We urge Congress to repeal the Equal Access to Justice Act, which uses taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars to fund environmental litigation against American prosperity. The federal Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act should be abolished in favor of state-based policies. We support responsible hunting, trapping and fishing harvest numbers that carefully balance resource conservation, property owners’ rights, the economy, and the safety of our citizens. We support maintaining or increasing access within the federal lands in Montana. We support public access of land encumbered by conservation easements managed by any agency of state government. We support state management of all of Montana’s wildlife species, as determined by Montana citizens.

State Administration

The Montana Republican party supports small, effective, and efficient government, while promoting legislation to return more local control.

The Montana Republican Party recognizes a need to strengthen the legislative oversight of administrative rulemaking to ensure that the intent of the legislation not be exceeded or lost. Adoption of administrative rules shall be subject to the final approval of bill sponsors.

We support policies which assure the right of the respective political parties to nominate their candidates free of undue influence by electors outside of the party.

Taxation

Federal, state and local taxes should be low, broad-based and easily understood. Taxes shall not be used to redistribute wealth.

Transportation

Transportation is vital to commerce, independence, economic development, and job growth in the state of Montana and as such we support an efficient and effective transportation system. Safe and efficient transportation is vital to Montana’s economic stability, to the safety and welfare of our citizens, and to the national security of the United States of America. The Montana Republican Party strongly supports continued development, maintenance, and infrastructure improvements for all transportation in Montana. We support the motor carrier industry in providing safe and efficient transportation services to the Montana public. We support the interstate, intrastate, and farm to market highway (secondary state highways and county roads) systems. We encourage all government officials and agencies to encourage, promote, and assist maintenance and improvement to the Montana transportation infrastructure to facilitate economic development and commerce in our state. We support self-sufficiency and reduction of the dependency on federal funding of our transportation infrastructure. We support development of the infrastructure and processes needed to efficiently move oversize loads through the state to facilitate business and job growth. We support recognition of defined, documented, or referenced roads or rights-of-way.

Resolutions

RESOLUTION OPPOSING “NATIONALIZED” COMMON CORE STANDARDS

WHEREAS, the control of education is left to the States and the people and is not an enumerated power of Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution; and

WHEREAS, in 2011 Montana Executive Branch officials committed this state to adopting common standards with a consortium of states through the Race to the Top application created by the federal Executive Branch; and

WHEREAS, this participation required Montana to adopt common standards in K-12 English language arts and mathematics (now known as the Common Core State Standards Initiative) and to commit to implementing the aligned assessments developed by a consortium of states with federal money, all without the consent of the people exercised through their Legislative Branch despite the fact that the people fund K-12 education with over $1 billion in taxes each year; and

WHEREAS, the Common Core standards have been evaluated by educational experts and were determined to be no better than Montana’s previous performance standards and according to key members of the Validation Committee, the standards were even inferior; and

WHEREAS, adoption of Common Core obliterates Montana’s constitutional autonomy over the educational standards for Montana’s children in English language arts and mathematics because 100 percent of the Common Core standards must be delivered through Montana’s curriculum, yet the standards belong to unaccountable private interests in Washington, D.C. which have copyright authority and do not allow any standards to be deleted or changed, but only allow Montana to add 15 percent to those standards; and

WHEREAS, this push to nationalize standards will inevitably lead to more centralization of education in violation of federalism and local control and violates the spirit, if not the letter, of three federal laws; and

WHEREAS, both the Common Core standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium tests will create new tax burdens to pay for enormous unfunded mandates on our state and our local school districts; and

WHEREAS, the SBAC agreement requires the collection and sharing of massive amounts of student-level data which violates student privacy and violates the Montana Constitution, article 2 section 10 which provides the right of privacy to all Montanans;

THEREFORE, the Montana Republican Party delegates to the 2014 Convention resolve that state leaders should:

  • Withdraw Montana from the Common Core State Standards Initiative;

  • Withdraw Montana from the SBAC consortium and its planned assessments for Montana’s students, and any other testing aligned with the Common Core standards;

  • Prohibit all state officials from entering into any agreements that cede any measure of control over Montana education to entities outside the state and ensure that all content standards as well as curriculum decisions supporting those standards are adopted through a transparent statewide and/or local process fully accountable to the citizens in every school district of Montana; and

  • Prohibit the collection, tracking, and sharing of personally identifiable student and teacher data except with schools or educational agencies within the state.

Be it further resolved that we respectfully request Governor Steve Bullock and the Montana Board of Public Education recognize the need to honor the constitutional sovereignty of the people of Montana over education and the urgent need to protect student privacy.

RESOLUTION AFFIRMING THE RIGHT OF MONTANANS TO EXERCISE THEIR RELIGIOUS LIBERTIES WITHOUT FEAR OF GOVERNMENT SANCTIONS

Whereas, the First Amendment to the Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” and

Whereas, this right extends to the conduct of a person’s daily life and is not limited to participation in a weekly worship service; and

Whereas, state and local governments throughout our nation are enacting laws compelling people of faith to facilitate activities, such as termination of unborn life or same-sex commitment ceremonies, that violate deeply held religious beliefs; and

Whereas, under these laws, bakers, photographers, and florists have been sanctioned by the government for refusing to participate in same-sex ceremonies; religious adoption agencies, such as Boston Catholic Charities, have been shuttered for refusing to place children with same-sex couples; and Obamacare is forcing pro-life business owners to subsidize the termination of unborn life; and

Whereas, in Montana, some cities have recently enacted so-called “non-discrimination” ordinances that, like similar laws around the nation, purport to give government the power to punish people of faith who choose to follow their core religious beliefs;

Therefore be it resolved that the Republican Party of Montana adds to its platform on National Affairs, Personal Rights and Liberties section, the following plank:

“Montanans have a constitutional right to the free exercise of their religion, which includes the right not to participate in activities of daily life that violate their faith. The Republican Party of Montana therefore stands with people of faith in opposition to the enactment of laws infringing upon this constitutional right.

RESOLUTION SUPPORTING GRANTING FEDERALLY MANAGED PUBLIC LANDS TO THE STATES

WHEREAS, At statehood, the federal government promised all newly created states – in their statehood Enabling Act -- that it “shall extinguish title”, or transfer federally held public lands; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. Supreme Court has said the federal government merely holds the public lands “in trust” and the Enabling Act promises are "solemn compacts," and "bilateral agreements” with enforceable rights and obligations on both side, that cannot be unilaterally changed by one party, which must be performed "in a timely fashion"; and

WHEREAS, The Enabling Act language concerning disposal of federally held public lands is virtually the same for Montana and other states east and west of Montana; and

WHEREAS, States like Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and North Dakota were once as much as 90% federally controlled for decades; and

WHEREAS, The federal government honored the promise to transfer public lands in Hawaii and all states east of Montana, and today controls on average less than 5% of all lands in those states; and

WHEREAS, The federal government has failed to honor this same promise with the twelve western states of UT, MT, WY, CO, NM, AZ, ID, NV, WA, OR, CA, and AK, and today still controls an average of 50% of all lands in the western states; and

WHEREAS, Article IV. Sec 3 Clause 2 of the Constitution for the United States grants Congress the Power to dispose of public lands belonging to the United States – not to retain them forever; and

WHEREAS, USC 43-8A-I- SS 315, the first sentence of the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934, affirms the promise to relinquish federal control of public lands stating: “In order to promote the highest use of the public lands pending its final disposal,…”; and

WHEREAS, Article II Sec 2 of the Constitution of the State of Montana affirms the people of Montana have the exclusive right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and independent state; and

WHEREAS, Article II Sec 3 of the Constitution of the State of Montana affirms the people of Montana have the right of pursuing life’s basic necessities, and enjoying and defending their lives and liberties, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and seeking their safety, health, and happiness in all lawful ways; and

WHEREAS, Article IX of the Constitution of the State of Montana requires the state to maintain a clean and healthful environment, and requires the legislature to provide for the administration and enforcement of this duty and adequate remedies to prevent unreasonable depletion and degradation of natural resources; and

WHEREAS, With strong bi-partisan support Montana’s 63rd legislature overwhelmingly passed Senate Joint Resolution 15 affirming that federal funding and the capacity for responsible management of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands are in serious jeopardy while critical threats such as beetle kills, invasive species, watershed degradation, access restrictions, and catastrophic wildfires continue to escalate; and

WHEREAS, Via SJ-15 Montana’s 63rd legislature also recognized that over 25 million acres of public lands in Montana controlled by the federal government have a significant and direct bearing on Montana's environment, education funding, economy, culture, wildlife, and the health, safety, and welfare of our citizens; and

WHEREAS, In his June 2013 address to the Western Governors Association, Montana Governor Steve Bullock said, “There’s a real high degree of frustration when it comes to management of our federal forest lands. Since 2000, 6.3 million acres of Montana’s forests have been affected by the mountain pine beetle. 4.3 million acres of forest and range lands have been impacted by wildfire. The urgency is so apparent… habitat has been degraded, watersheds are at extreme risk, endangering key fisheries and clean water. Fire danger is off the charts, threatening local communities and stifling recreation, to say nothing of the economies of our rural communities…. We now can’t wait for the federal government… to figure out a solution. It’s up to us as westerners to really bring answers forward, which brings me back to my experience as a member of managing Montana’s public lands. I think that model works well because there is clarity of purpose, first of all. Secondly with 5 statewide elected officials managing these lands there is direct accountability for decision making,”; and

WHEREAS, In an April 2014 press release, Governor Bullock further recognized the urgent need to address the “failing health of our national forests” by identifying 5 million acres of national forest landscapes in Montana as “characterized by declining forest health, a risk of substantially increased tree mortality, or an imminent risk to public infrastructure, health or safety”; and

WHEREAS, Over 90% of Montana counties responding to the 63rd legislature’s official SJ-15 state survey reported fuel loads on the federally managed public lands within their county could result in a severe, uncontrollable, or catastrophic wildfire and affirmed that wildfire conditions on these lands pose a significant threat to public health and safety, and public and private property; and

WHEREAS, Over 62% of Montana counties reported via SJ-15 that air quality falls below acceptable health standards due to smoke originating from fires on federally managed lands; and

WHEREAS, Over 90% of Montana counties affirmed via SJ-15 that motorized access to public lands is very important to the people of their county for basic life sustenance activities such as gathering firewood, picking berries, and harvesting wild game; and

WHEREAS, Only 30% of Montana counties reported via SJ-15 an adequate supply of motorized roads on federal lands within their county to accommodate emergency ingress/egress, facility maintenance, public access, and resource management; and

WHEREAS, 100% of Montana counties reported via SJ-15 a desire to maintain or increase multiple use recreational access routes on federal lands; and

WHEREAS, Over 90% of Montana counties reported via SJ-15 the amount their county receives from Secure Rural Schools (SRS) funds is not equivalent to the amount their county could derive from responsible harvest or extraction of natural resources; and

WHEREAS, Only 4% of Montana counties reported via SJ-15 that economic productivity and the number of related private sector jobs is commensurate with the resource production capacity of the federally managed public lands within their county; and

WHEREAS, Over 90% of Montana counties reported via SJ-15 that federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) to their county is not equivalent to the taxable value of the land; and

WHEREAS, Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), Secure Rural Schools (SRS), and other mitigation for federal retention of public lands are financially inadequate and unsustainable, have been unreliably funded, and do not adequately compensate the States for breach of their Enabling Acts; and

WHEREAS, Estimates indicate more than 120 million wild animals have been burned to death and 4 billion pounds of toxins have polluted our air and water due to wildfires on federally controlled lands in 10 years; and

WHEREAS, The Forest Services reported in 2013 that nearly 10,000 miles of electrical transmission lines on national forest lands in the west are at risk due to unmanaged vegetation.

WHEREAS, The citizens of Montana and local, state, and national economies are being adversely impacted by access restrictions, loss of use of natural resources, and lack of prudent vegetation management resulting from a failing federal management model; and

WHEREAS, Under the custody of Congress and the President of the United States the federal government has grown increasingly incapable of obeying its own laws and implementing responsible resource management on hundreds of millions of acres of forest and range lands in western America; and

WHEREAS, The western states responsibly and prudently manage millions of acres of state public lands in a manner that consistently generates more revenue with less expense and greater compliance with environmental laws than federal land managers do; and

WHEREAS, The State of Montana has proven our ability to manage state public lands in a manner that prevents unnecessary accumulation of dangerous wildfire fuel loads, stops more wildfires before they get out of control, provides public access and multiple use, protects the environment, enhances wildlife habitat, and allows beneficial utilization of natural resources in an environmentally responsible manner that generates jobs and funds our schools, universities, veterans homes, and other important public institutions; and

WHEREAS, The vast range of adverse conditions afflicting western America are largely a result of increasingly inefficient and unresponsive policies created by a distant federal government whose unwise priorities leave western communities, forests, range lands, livelihoods, and our environment in avoidable peril; and

WHEREAS, Transferring federally controlled public lands to the state would allow the people of Montana to prevent unreasonable depletion and degradation of natural resources, protect public health and safety, protect multiple use public access on public lands, protect and grow our economy, and govern ourselves as a free, independent and sovereign state in accordance with the Constitution for the United States and State of Montana; and

WHEREAS, Resolutions or policies supporting the Transfer of Public Lands have been passed by the National Association of Counties, Republican National Committee, Coalition of Montana Chambers representing the business communities of Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula, and numerous other public and civic organizations throughout America including school districts, farm bureaus, counties, cities, the state of South Carolina and others; now therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED, The Montana Republican Party hereby requests the State Legislature, Governor of Montana, State Attorney General, U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, U.S. President, other public officials, and citizens of Montana and the United States to fully exert their efforts and powers to support granting federally managed public lands to the states; and

  1. Develop a transition plan for the timely and orderly transfer; and

  2. Equip federal, state and local agencies with resources necessary to prepare for successful state acquisition and management of public lands; and

  3. Develop, support, and implement related policies for management of these lands that:

  1. Reduce the catastrophic fuel loads that threaten Montana communities, watersheds, critical wildlife habitat, and infrastructure; and

  2. Facilitate restoration of healthy forests and range lands; and

  3. Maintain or increase multiple-use public access on public lands for sportsmen, sustenance, recreation, tourism, emergency access, travel, commerce, and production; and

  4. Restore or maintain responsible levels of beneficial use and economic production where appropriate; and

  5. Protect existing valid use rights; and

  6. Preserve important wild, scenic, and cultural resources; and

  7. Prevent any part of the newly acquired lands in Montana from being sold without the consent of the people of Montana; and

  8. Provide state, local, and tribal government with adequate wildfire prevention and control resources and interstate/interagency cooperative agreements necessary to combat wildfires; and

  9. Ensure state-based resource management activities are consistent with local government plans, policies, and objectives; and

  10. Distribute resource based revenues derived from these public lands as necessary to provide for i-ix above, with excess proceeds allocated to local, state, and tribal governments as necessary and proper to support roads, utilities, emergency services, public health and safety, education, justice, and other civic functions while reducing tax burdens on Montana citizens.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this resolution be sent to the President of the United States, Montana’s Governor, Attorney General, Legislature, Congressional delegation, Land Board, Association of Counties, League of Cities and Towns, Montana Chamber of Commerce, and Coalition of Montana Chambers.

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY BY MONTANA REPUBLICAN PARTY at STATE CONVENTION this 21st day of June, 2014 in Billings, MT

RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT THE REPUBLICAN PLATFORM

Whereas, the Montana Republican Party recognizes that its solid base rests upon the involvement of the grassroots; and

Whereas it has long proven to be the case that Republican ideologies are best shaped and expressed at the grassroots level in the Grand Old Party's Platform; and

Whereas the beliefs articulated in our Platform set a standard of core values by which our party can be identified; and

Whereas, the strength of the grassroots may be demonstrated by encouraging elected officials' adherence to these standards; and

Whereas without this setting forth of values, the power of the grassroots is gone, and the accountability of elected officials is gone.

Therefore, Be it Resolved that,

The Montana Republican Party strongly supports the tenets set forth in our Platform; and

Be it further resolved that we support the conduct of Republican Party Platform Conventions as provided for in our Bylaws.

Copies of the platform and this resolution, if adopted, shall be disseminated to the elected and appointed precinct officers of all county central committees, all County Central committees, and all elected Republican federal, state, and PSC district officials, state senators and representatives, and all candidates for said offices.

RESOLUTION TO ADD THE FOLLOWING PREAMBLE TO THE MONTANA REPUBLICAN PLATFORM

Why is this Platform important?

This Platform sets forth the Montana Republican Party’s positions on major issues facing the citizens of the Treasure State. It is meant to communicate what the Party stands for; to instruct local, state, and federal GOP officeholders; and to serve as a basis for crafting strategies for both legislative and civic action.

What do Republicans believe?

The Montana Republican Party subscribes to a set of principles that transcend specific policy issues while guiding the positions the Party takes on those issues. These principles derive directly from the wisdom of America’s Founders, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.

Republicans believe “these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among which are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Republicans believe that to secure these God-given rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Republicans believe that the Constitution of the United States of America is a unique and binding compact, which defines a republican form of government designed to protect the rights of citizens by limiting the power of their government.

Republicans believe that the Constitution is as relevant today as it was on the day it was ratified. It is not an evolving, ever-changing document.

Republicans believe that centralization of political power invites the replacement of the rule of law by the rule of men and thus enables the rise of totalitarianism.

Republicans believe that each level of government should continuously strive to limit the scope of its own activity and to avoid infringing upon the lawful activities of free citizens.

Republicans believe in the dignity of each individual person and in promoting opportunities for all.

Republicans believe that a robust civil society—traditional families, churches, and various voluntary associations of free citizens—is essential for sustaining self government.

Republicans believe that in the absence of free markets and secure property rights, personal and political freedom cannot long flourish.

Republicans believe in the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death, and that only parents have the right to direct all reproductive decisions for their minor children.

Who are the Republicans?

Montanan Republicans are men and women of all walks of life and of all creeds and colors. We are grateful to God for the quiet beauty of our state. We are united in viewing the United States of America as an exceptional nation that in its inception broke the historical norm. We celebrate being self-governing, free citizens. We recognize the debt we owe those citizens who came before us, and we gladly acknowledge our duty to pass the gift of liberty on to our children and grandchildren.

If you share these values, please join us.

RESOLUTION TO ADD A PLANK ON ELECTION LAWS AND PROCEDURES TO THE MONTANA REPUBLICAN PLATFORM

BE it Resolved that a platform plank on Elections be added to the Montana Republican Platform that reads as follows:

Voter Registration

Montana voter registration should ensure all registered voters are eligible to vote and are registered to vote only in Montana. Voter registration periods should be ample but end prior to election day so that election administrators can focus solely on administering a fair and clean election on election day and are able to report election results in a timely manner.

Election By Majority

Montana should be served by elected officials who are supported by a majority of those voting, not a minority. Therefore the Montana election process should be changed so that election by majority in the general election is accomplished by the adoption of a quick runoff system so that if no candidate receives a majority vote a runoff election is held between the top two candidates.

Nomination of Candidates

The members of the Montana Republican Party have the right to freely associate as guaranteed by the US and Montana constitutions. Therefore it is the position of the Montana Republican Party that the voters that select candidates to appear on the general election ballot should be limited to members of the Republican Party who have registered themselves as members of the party if a primary election process is used, or by state or local conventions of the party if a primary election system is not used.

Reform of Political Practices Office

Montana has the only Political Practices office in the nation where a single person serves as investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury of alleged political practice violations. This office needs to be reformed to separate the prosecution function from the judge and jury function with the transfer of the legal enforcement components to the Attorney General and the clerical and reporting components to the Secretary of State.