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Republican House candidate says H.R. 1505 allows ‘more power than needed’

BILLINGS, Mont. – Steve Daines, a Republican candidate for Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, has joined a chorus of critics in blasting H.R. 1505, Congressman Dennis Rehberg’s federal land-grab bill.

During a live interview on Tuesday’s Voices of Montana radio show, Daines said Rehberg’s unpopular bill will allow the federal government “more power than needed.”

H.R. 1505, the misnamed “National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act,” undermines at least 36 existing laws in order to give the U.S. Department of Homeland Security unprecedented control over public lands within 100 miles of Montana’s vast northern border with Canada.

“When I start seeing those things, I realize we’ve got people back in Washington that don’t understand the importance here of states’ rights,” Daines said of Rehberg’s bill.  “We don’t need to just have a bunch of federal bureaucrats and federal authorities here usurping the rights and the authorities here we have here in the state of Montana.”

In November of 2010, Daines announced plans to challenge Jon Tester in Montana’s U.S. Senate race.  He later switchedto run for the U.S. House after Rehberg announced plans to run for the Senate.

Rehberg continues todefend his H.R. 1505 despite overwhelming opposition from Montanans across the political spectrum—from hunting and fishing organizations to advocates of smaller government.  Conservative Montana blogger Dr. Ed Berry calls the legislation a “fatal betrayal of America.”  The U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security said last week that Rehberg’s bill is “unnecessary” and “bad policy.”

“The government’s role here is to protect the rights of the individual, and our individual rights, our individual liberties,” Daines said Tuesday.  “We’ve got to look through that filter—that prism—whenever we look at legislation that’s coming out of Washington that is looking to expand authority here of the federal government.  We’ve got to come back to the rights of the individual.  And that’s why I have concerns.”

Here is a verbatim transcript of Steve Daines’ remarks:

“I share concerns as we see—as we deal with the threats abroad, here. But also ensuring that we do not compromise the rights of the American people.  And, you know, there’s been a couple of pieces of legislation out there—one related to border security and so forth, here, where it’s going to allow the federal government to have what I believe to be more power than needed here, you know, extending 100 miles south of [Montana’s northern] border here, which puts a pretty big dent here in Montana.  And when I start seeing those things, I realize we’ve got people back in Washington that don’t understand the importance here of states’ rights, and the importance here of ensuring that—I want to see Montanans taking care of the state.  We don’t need to just have a bunch of federal bureaucrats and federal authorities here usurping the rights and the authorities here we have here in the state of Montana. So I think as we look at the legislation that’s going to come out, there’s a path of wisdom to walk on this… The government’s role here is to protect the rights of the individual, and our individual rights, our individual liberties.  And we’ve got to look through that filter—that prism—whenever we look at legislation that’s coming out of Washington that is looking to expand authority here of the federal government.  We’ve got to come back to the rights of the individual.  And that’s why I have concerns over the legislative pieces you mentioned.” [Voices of Montana3/13/2012]

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