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Eminent domain decision difficult

Perhaps you recall the Old Testament story in which two women approached Solomon with one baby, each claiming the baby to be hers. Solomon suggested he draw a sword with which to split the baby in two, knowing the natural mother would forfeit the baby to the other to save its life. I hope you will indulge my analogy long enough to understand that it is a fitting way to describe my feelings over our eminent domain decision last week. The baby represents the future of Montana. Two opponents each claim to have Constitutional rights to it: landowners’ property rights vs. the right of an entity to cross private property with infrastructure to serve the public. Like it or not, the power ...

Legislators to work on budget amendments

Last week was a short one in Helena as we recessed on Wednesday. The budget was put into the Governor’s hands and he had until this past Saturday to veto, amendatory veto or accept it. The Speaker of the House, the Senate President and the Governor did come to some agreements last Friday. There will be...

Many good laws vetoed by governor

After a marathon Wednesday last week we were given a few days off while the budget was delivered to the governor. The clock starts ticking as he has ten days to sign or veto it. The negotiations for an agreement between the branches of government began. The legislature sent a structurally balanced budget wit...

Legislative session winding down

As you probably know, I write this column several days before the paper goes to print. I am hoping that when you read this, we are finished or nearly finished. It depends on whether or not the Governor vetoes, amends or line item vetoes HB2. Usually the budget bill goes to the Governor and we leave. He ha...

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 wit...

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...

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