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Briefs for Jan. 4, 2017

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Leaders won’t tolerate threat to religious liberty

MONTANA — In response to threats of anti-Semitic violence in Whitefish, some of Montana’s elected officials issued a press release Thursday stating they won’t tolerate any demonstration or threat of intimidation against any Montanan’s religious liberty in Whitefish or in any town across Montana and America.

The press release, signed by U.S. Senator Jon Tester, U.S. Senator Steve Daines, U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke, Governor Steve Bullock and Attorney General Tim Fox, said they are “focused on the values that reflect our true character” and collectively “condemn attacks on our religious freedom manifesting in a group of anti-Semites.”

Those who seek to publicize anti-Semitic views will find no safe haven, the press release stated.

“We offer our full support to the Jewish community, Montana families, businesses, faith organizations and law enforcement officers as they ensure the security of all our communities,” stated the officials in the press release. “We will address these threats directly and forcefully, putting our political differences aside to stand up for what’s right. That’s the Montana way, and the American way.”

The elected officials noted they are encouraged that so many Montanans from a variety of religious backgrounds have joined them in condemning the extreme ideology.

Minimum wage increased to $8.15 January 1 News from Montana Department of Labor and Industry

MONTANA — Montanans earning minimum wage saw the rate increase to $8.15 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2017. An estimated 3,323 workers, or approximately 1.2 percent of the workforce, receive minimum wage. The current 2016 minimum wage rate is $8.05.

In 2015, the industry with the largest number of workers earning minimum wage was the accommodations and food industry followed by the retail trade industry.

More than half of all workers earning minimum wage are over the age of 25, and more than 60 percent of the state’s minimum wage earners are women, according to Labor & Industry Commissioner Pam Bucy.

“Minimum wage workers are a valuable and important segment of our workforce,” Bucy said.

Tribes stand with leaders against hate, bigotry News from CSKT

PABLO — The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes proudly stand with Senator Tester, Senator Daines, Congressman Zinke, Montana Governor Bullock and Montana Attorney General Fox, “to send a clear message that ignorance, hatred and threats of violence are unacceptable and have no place in the town of Whitefish, or in any other community in Montana or across this nation.”

The Salish and Kootenai Tribes commend our elected officials for their leadership in opposing hatred and bigotry.

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