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Columns

The wolf I remember

She and five others were the first wolves brought from Canada to Yellowstone Park in 1995. Placed in acclimation pens near the park's northern border, they were numbered and a female, wolf No. 9, was paired with a male, No. 10. Held 10 weeks, the pair was released into the wild and began what, for better or worse, is the most notable and controversial wildlife conservation experiment in American history. The pair traveled widely in southwestern Montana and soon gave birth to a litter of eight pups. Tragedy soon struck and the male was purposefully shot by a rogue gunman from Red Lodge. The U.S. Wildlife Service, knowing the high mortality of pups with only one parent, rounded up wolf No....


Governor to choose between repeal/reform of medical marijuana

Marijuana bills bring emotional debate – Senators bared their souls this week debating two marijuana bills with some very personal stories. There’s agreement the status quo has become untenable. The Missoulian recently referred to the current permissive law that “many medical marijuana advo...


Bills to clarify bison, brucellosis surveillance

This has been a busy week here in Helena. Some really good news about workman's comp: HB 334 is moving through the Senate now and the governor has resolved his issues with the bill. A little bit of good news on the property appraisal process as HB 567 has moved through the House. It extends the assessment re...


Medical marijuana repeal to appear on 2012 ballot

Lots of interesting bills last week. We passed House Bill 175 to put medical marijuana repeal back on the ballot in 2012 to let you vote. The floor debate seemed to center on which poll numbers reported by the newspapers were important. I voted for this. In the meantime, SB 423 was introduced late last we...


Workers’ Comp reform passes both houses

Disclosure brings transparency – I spoke in favor of Senate bill 284 – disclosure of Legislator’s health benefits. The Senate passed it with only three “no” votes. I’d also like to state that when I became your senator on that exciting day in January, I declined all health...


House votes to put back funding for veterans home

There is a lot to report and I’ll start with the good news. The revenue estimates are up as of March 15. The Legislative Fiscal Division estimate for 2011, 2012 and 2013 has improved by $63.5 million over last December’s numbers. This is not as high as the February projection. A federal change...


Budget balanced, sent on for Senate approval

Happy spring to everyone. Hopefully this means we will start seeing some green in the fields. Here in Helena the House of Representatives voted last Monday on the state budget, HB2. The budget we sent on to the Senate is balanced and contains a 6 percent decrease from the previous sessions. The revenue e...


Bill prohibiting texting and driving bill voted down in Senate

Tort Reform begins – I carried HB 531 which passed in the Senate. It’s the first of seven tort reform bills coming our way from the House. These bills will improve general civil liability parameters to reduce legal defense costs. You’ll quickly grasp its positive effect on the medical profe...


Flathead Legislators work on jobs bills

Flathead area legislators received a letter from Kevin Jump, owner of John Jump Trucking of Kalispell, asking what this session is doing to create good-paying jobs for Montanans. We are proud of the jobs bills that are progressing this session. We have more work to do, but we expect the bills summarized b...


Polson police department hiring procedures explained

Here we are only a couple of days before the official first day of spring. How sweet it is. March roared in like a lion, now let’s hope the rest of the axiom plays out. Many times I am asked by interested parties the process we use to hire a police officer. There are several methods, so today we wil...


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