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Columns

Governor’s veto branding disregards hard work

By now you’ve seen or heard of last week’s veto “branding” on Montana’s Capitol steps. I stood with several other Republican legislators in an upstairs window and watched the whole spectacle. None of us wanted to add to the crowd. We didn’t want to appear on television with disgust or revulsion on our faces. What didn’t come through during the event was that your legislators have worked 60-hour weeks trying to structure essential funding for schools, retain sustainable social programs, protect citizens and their rights, provide opportunity for business, allow for sensible resource extraction and uphold the obligations of past administrations in t...


Future surplus taxes should be returned to taxpayers

Jobs and the economy: Will what is happening in Libya affect Montana’s economy? The increase in the price of a barrel of oil improves the state tax coffers, but each of us will pay more at the pump. And I’ve been watching the federal budget fiasco. What will happen to the money we get from them? ...


Resolution supporting balanced budget amendment passes

The state funding bill, HB2, has been through the Senate and brought back to the House with a bunch of amendments. It has been moved to a conference committee. They will try to hammer out the differences in the two. One piece of the pie that is not been finalized is education funding. The Senate could not ge...


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 ...


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...


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