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Legislative goals summarized at halfway point

As Speaker of the House, it is a goal of mine to have unity within the Republican Caucus and a positive working relationship with the minority party. At the halfway point of the 66th legislative session we are hitting those marks. Another goal of this session was to put the K-12 funding bill on the Governor’s desk very early in the process. In other sessions, this bill was often used as a political football late in the session, sometimes as late as May. We passed it out of the House in January and it has been signed by the Governor. Success in the legislature is not always about passing legislation, rather, it is often measured by killing bad legislation. So far this session, we...

FOI hotline available to public

For years news organizations have relied upon an organization called the Montana Freedom of Information Hotline to provide legal advice and assistance when confronted with closed or improperly advertised meetings or sealed documents. The service also is available to individual citizens who believe they, t...

Importance of government transparency highlighted during Sunshine Week Importance of government transparency highlighted during Sunshine Week

The students I teach at the University of Montana often show up with a powerful assumption: If there is some piece of information out there, Google can find it. It’s an understandable belief for 19-year-olds who have grown up in a world where ubiquitous connection to the Internet and easy access to vas...

Thoughts shared on religion and politics

Editor, There has been a movement, growing louder and more visible, to cast off and blur the borders of allegiance to this great country. Some people show public scorn of our laws and anyone who expresses a belief in intelligent design by an almighty God. Atheism, Satanism, Pantheism and every other &lsqu...

Optimism isn’t appreciated

Editor, Mr. Johnson weaves a fascinating tale of optimism (in his letter from last week). Man has been morally and intellectually evolving over human history. With the accumulation of knowledge and the aid of science, society is on the verge of changing itself for the better. The only problem is that he i...

Compact opponents aim to increase federal control of MT waters

The recent proposal made by opponents of the CSKT Water Compact seeks to replace the long-negotiated agreement with a one-sided proposal that is illegal, illegitimate and unconstitutional. While being peddled as “a people’s compact” or “the mending fences act,” this proposal is ...

Support bipartisan youth suicide prevention bills

Montana is a state with a proud history of firsts. We were the first state to elect a woman to Congress: our very own Jeannette Rankin. We were also the first state in the nation to enact sweeping anti-corruption legislation in the Copper King era, after wealthy business interests in our state used their ...

Lake County commissioner waits for results on injunction

The Missoulian ran a story on February 2 about an injunction filed by Lake County against the Montana Department of Revenue. If granted, the injunction would stop the Department of Revenue from processing any further applications and granting Temporary Tribal Tax Exemptions on fee properties purchased by the...

The perfect spouse The perfect spouse

After spending the last three decades with my husband, I’ve learned marriage isn’t what I thought it would be. In some ways it is harder. In myriad ways it exceeds my expectations. And like a fine wine, it really does get better with age. Take heed, newlyweds. Together we raised four kids, thr...

Value in questioning worldviews

Editor, In the early days of humankind there likely were times when it was helpful (for self, family, tribe) to conquer or kill an opponent. It may have been the approved thing to do – morally justified according to the code of the surviving group. In human social progression, there have been shifts...

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