House Speaker Says Zephyr’s Protest Was ‘An Insult to the Process’
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Speaker of the Montana House of Representatives Matt Regier spent an entire hour answering questions from the KGVO Talk Back audience on Thursday, covering a multitude of topics.
Regier delineated several bills that tackled issues important to Montanans.
Speaker Regier Highlighted Important Bills Passed in the Session
“We did a lot for pro-family and pro-life issues,” began Regier. “There were bills dealing with Second Amendment issues, health care, pro-jobs, veterans, judicial restoration, the checks and balances between government agencies, election security, and our outdoor heritage. There's a list of things that we really accomplished that I think moved the needle away from government and back to the people of Montana.”
Regarding the Montana Supreme Court, Regier pointed out one law just passed that requires justices to recuse themselves from certain cases that come before the court.
Supreme Court Justices Must Recuse Themselves in Some Cases
“Senator Greg Hertz had a bill that required Supreme Court justices, if somebody donates $10,000 to their campaign, that they would need to recuse themselves as they come before the court,” he said. “To me, that's simple and straightforward. You can't buy off the judge. That judge must recuse him or herself and let the other judges make the call on that case. It’s such a simple thing, but I think it makes a ton of sense, and really just puts more integrity back into the judicial branch.”
Regarding the Zooey Zephyr incident that occurred on April 24 in which protesters in the gallery had to be physically removed by security personnel that closed the gallery for the remainder of the session; Speaker Regier said it was a stain on democracy.
Regier said the Zooey Zephyr Incident Might Lead to Changes in the House
“I mean, we had to shut down the Montana House of Representatives and we even canceled the session for the next day.” He said. “We did have troopers there in riot gear because people were not leaving the gallery and they were throwing objects over onto the House floor and arrests were made. I mean, this is not this should not at all be part of democracy.”
One caller made light of the incident, however, Regier said it was so serious that it might have triggered some changes in the Montana House of Representatives going forward.
“Our staff was frazzled,” he said. “We had 16 and 17-year-old pages so scared you could see the fear in their eyes. I mean, it was a scary situation, and to downplay that and say it's all part of democracy to me is an insult to the whole process. This is something I think we're going to have to look at moving forward as more and more activists get involved and civil debate seems to be going by the wayside, and that's not the way it should be.”
Regier was not specific about what changes might be proposed in future legislative sessions.