Friday, March 8, 2013

Vote WTF!!! on Montana House Bill 392

Yesterday was an interesting day. I was between classes and catching up on Twitter news when I was introduced to Montana House Bill 392. As a Montana resident for nearly three decades and a lifelong dino-fanatic, it was basically the worst thing I could have read. In no phase of existence is there a way I could stand back and wait for an outcome. What follows is the letter I drafted opposing the bill.

Attachment 1 is Sarah Werning's "Why Paleontology is Relevant", Attachment 2 is the SVP Member Bylaw on Ethics Statement, and Attachment 3 is an article from The Gainesville Sun reporting Eric Prokopi's guilty plea with a summary of events in the Tarbosaurus incident. (I referenced the specimen as a Tyrannosaurus bataar in my letter to maintain continuity with this piece.)

I have addressed this letter to the bill's sponsor in the Montana House, Representative Alan Doane, and I also composed a slightly modified version for my state representative, Alan Redfield. I'll have them in the mail today, giving both men something fun to read when they get to work on Monday. 

I have intentionally left the Montana House of Representatives contact address visible so anyone who wishes to contact Rep. Doane may do so without digging for information. If you like the way my letter reads, you are welcome to use it as a template. I only ask that you make it your own. (If you ask nicely, I'll even e-mail you a copy.)

For detailed information on MT House Bill 392, you can go to the state website. It is scheduled for a hearing in committee today, but regardless of the outcome, we need to push them on this. If the bill fails, I believe they'll keep trying in their effort to sell off our state's greatest scientific contribution to fund a tourist trap. (I realize the term is harsh, but the state of Montana sees parks as revenue streams instead of natural exhibits.)

I strongly encourage anyone who has not contacted the Montana legislature regarding this matter to do so immediately. A contact information portal for all sitting members is available for those who want to really drive the point home. I thank you all for your attention and concern in this matter, and as always, I welcome feedback both here and through Twitter!

Note: I have now read 73% of Written in Stone and should have my Kindle edition review up next week, courtesy my spring break. I'll have at least one other post before that, but I'm not telling what it is!

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