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  • Congress Just Accomplished Something. Can It Do It Again?

    Lee Hamilton, Center on Representative Government|Updated May 10, 2024

    Until recently, it seemed like you couldn't turn around without finding a headline lambasting the current Congress as the least productive ever. There was good reason for that, which we'll get into shortly, but it's worth noting that they've suddenly disappeared. Clearly, that's because of April's passage of the foreign aid package that includes significant aid for Ukraine, Israel and Gaza, and Taiwan, and a measure that attempts to force a sale of TikTok. There was a great...

  • Op-ed: Quality of life survey confirms policy decisions¬†

    Sen. Jason Ellsworth - R, Hamilton|Updated May 8, 2024

    A recent University of Montana survey confirms what legislators have been hearing from our constituents: Montanans are seriously concerned about several issues that they say are negatively impacting quality of life. Among the findings, 90 percent think that urban sprawl eating up open lands is a problem, 84 percent are worried about Montana's changing character, and 78 percent think outdoor recreation is becoming overcrowded. The 2023 Legislature passed legislation to take...

  • Op-Ed: Why I'm appointing a new Senate committee

    Sen. Jason Ellsworth - R, SD43 - Hamilton|Updated Apr 23, 2024

    I recently announced that I'm in the process of appointing a new committee of the State Legislature. The Senate Select Committee on Judicial Oversight and Reform is a bipartisan committee that will be made up of state senators, representatives, and members of the public. It will be charged with addressing violations of the state's constitutional separation of powers by the Montana Supreme Court and certain district court judges. A series of troubling judicial rulings at the di...

  • Op-Ed: Tackling the rising cost of housing in Montana together

    Sen. Jon Tester - D, U.S. Senate|Updated Apr 23, 2024

    More than 100 years ago, my grandparents made a life for our family on a homesteaded plot of land outside of Big Sandy that we still farm to this day. I've been blessed to call Montana home my entire life and to always have a place to rest my head after a hard day's work. Unfortunately, finding an affordable place to live has become a challenge for far too many Montanans. As I travel across Montana, I hear about how housing challenges are hurting working families. From...

  • Letter: Competent and Effective Leadership Matters

    Updated Apr 10, 2024

    Dear Montanans, This is a hopeful time for so many of our students. The future is bright as graduation nears and families beam with pride, anticipating their child walking across that stage. As a legislator, a former classroom teacher and the mom of a high school student, though, I must admit I worry. Are we doing enough to make sure all our students have the opportunities they deserve? That is why I'm running to be your next State Superintendent of Schools. We've essentially...

  • Guest Editorial: Lincoln Prosperity Proposal a local effort that needs congressional support

    Zach Muse, Lincoln|Updated Apr 8, 2024

    The Upper Blackfoot Valley, specifically the community of Lincoln, is not just where I live, it is also where I serve. As a native Montanan, I moved to Lincoln 20 years ago and found my place. I was surrounded by country where I could fish, hunt, and enjoy the backcountry whether on a snowmobile or a mule. I first served as a volunteer firefighter, and now serve as the Lincoln Fire Chief and as a member of the Upper Blackfoot Valley Community Council. Almost ten years ago, I...

  • Letter: Let's Clarify intent of SB 442

    Updated Apr 1, 2024

    Let me first introduce myself. My name is Todd Devlin and I am 4th generation farmer/rancher in eastern Montana. I have been a Prairie County Commissioner since 1995. I was President of the Montana Association of Counties (MACo) in 2016 - 2017. I have been very involved in public land and natural resource issues both at the state and national level for over 30 years and currently am the Chair of the National Association of Counties Public Lands Steering Committee. And,...

  • Can We Bridge Division?

    Lee Hamilton, Center on Representative Government|Updated Apr 1, 2024

    Disagree Better. That's the name of an interesting initiative at the National Governors Association this year, spearheaded by the organization's current chair, Utah Republican Gov. Spencer Cox. The idea, in a nutshell, is to "reduce partisan animosity and foster healthy debate by modeling a more positive and optimistic way of working through policy problems," as the NGA puts it. It would be easy to scoff, of course. In this era of bitter political hostility, as we head into a...

  • Why the free market and Western Civilization need defending

    Aaron Klein, Mountain States Policy Center|Updated Mar 28, 2024

    On July 13, 2012, President Obama was giving a speech in Roanoke, Virginia, and said this: "Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business, you didn't build that." Those three sentences sparked a brushfire in that year's presidential election that he spent the next few weeks trying to walk back. "Of course, Americans build their own businesses," he said on...

  • Opinion: SB 442: A Bill for All Montanans

    Senator Mike Lang - R, SD-17|Updated Mar 20, 2024

    The legislative session in Montana is a full-contact sport. Bills get introduced that stoke controversy and debate. My bill (SB 442) was no different to begin with, but we ended up with a bill Montanans could be proud of. Thousands of Montanans were able to convince 130 of 150 legislators to vote for SB 442. It was popular because Montanans were able to put aside long-standing disagreements and work with their neighbors to help craft a bill that invests in every single one of...

  • State Senate pushes back on a judicial Trojan horse

    Senator Jason Ellsworth - R, Hamilton|Updated Mar 20, 2024

    A majority of the Montana Senate has delivered letters to the Montana Supreme Court, Governor, and Secretary of State outlining our concern that a recent court order is unconstitutional. It's easy to get lost in the weeds of the issue, but the heart of the matter is pretty simple. It's about the separation of powers among our three branches of government. The Legislature is the branch closest to the people. We cannot abide a situation where the people's voice in Helena is...

  • Opinion: Not supporting SB 442 veto poll override

    Sen. Wendy McKamey, SD12|Updated Mar 20, 2024

    The 2023 Legislature ended almost a year ago. However, a couple weeks ago, Judge Mike Menahan issued a decision directing the Montana Secretary of State to conduct a veto override poll on SB 442 to determine if the bill will become law. I will not be supporting the veto poll override. Like many Montanans, I live in a rural area and I know we could benefit by improving maintenance of county roads. However, SB 442 is not the solution to our problem. SB 442 is a bill written for...

  • Letter: Held v. Montana perverts judicial process

    Updated Mar 20, 2024

    "This is unconstitutional" has become a frequently used phrase intended to subvert the logic and rational understanding of the Montana Constitution. When improperly applied, it perverts the intended checks and balances of our three-branch state government system. If a person, group, or political party doesn't like the political content of an issue, they cry "unconstitutional". This takes our process of state government that was intended be a matter of adjudication and...

  • Op-Ed: Cheers to more good, local beers

    Montana Sen. Jason Ellsworth - R, Hamilton|Updated Mar 15, 2024

    Montana beer is a unique industry. Local breweries are dedicated customers of Montana farmers, buying locally grown raw agricultural ingredients. They brew those ingredients into a wide array of delicious, value-added, made-in-Montana products that routinely win national awards. Breweries have become community hubs for activities like live music and philanthropy. Many are now centerpieces of rural towns. A great example is Libby, where Cabinet Mountain Brewing is known as...

  • Op-Ed: What I saw on my trip to the southern border

    Sen. Bruce Gillespie, Montana SD9|Updated Mar 5, 2024

    My wife Doreen and I recently returned from a tour of the southern border in the Douglas, Arizona area. Since we once lived there and managed a Registered Charolais ranch between Douglas and Bisbee, we wanted to see for ourselves the differences from when we were there. The evening we arrived in Douglas we stopped at a convenience store and by chance ran into three Border Patrol agents with three horses in a horse trailer just going out on patrol. We had a conversation on the...

  • Op-Ed: The United States must act now to provide aid to Ukraine

    Rep. Tom France, Montana HD 94 Missoula|Updated Mar 5, 2024

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine began just over two years ago, and the devastating war that has followed has been a catastrophe for Ukrainians and Russians alike. Tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed, tens of thousands more have been wounded and maimed, and an almost incomprehensible level of destruction has occurred across much of Ukraine and parts of Russia. While the immense human and material toll of the war cannot be undone, the fate of democracy,...

  • Op-Ed: A Lesson from Sven and Ole

    Joel Krautter, Billlings|Updated Mar 5, 2024

    Some readers, especially those with Scandinavian heritage, may be familiar with the stories of Sven and Ole. I grew up hearing them from my late grandfather. One story comes to mind in the context of our current political climate. Sven and Ole, were two farmers with neighboring farms who had always been very competitive. Ole's father had always been a Ford man, and the bigger the better, especially the F-350s. So, of course, Ole grew up as a Ford man, too! Sven's father had...

  • What I saw on my trip to the southern border

    Sen. Bruce Gillespie, Montana SD9|Updated Feb 26, 2024

    My wife Doreen and I recently returned from a tour of the southern border in the Douglas, Arizona area. Since we once lived there and managed a Registered Charolais ranch between Douglas and Bisbee, we wanted to see for ourselves the differences from when we were there. The evening we arrived in Douglas we stopped at a convenience store and by chance ran into three Border Patrol agents with three horses in a horse trailer just going out on patrol. We had a conversation on the...

  • Letter: property taxes, political games

    Updated Feb 26, 2024

    Well, the next step in your residential property tax increase is happening. Banks are sending updated "mortgage bills" to homeowners. Guess what? You owe more money! Recently, a young friend reached out, concerned about his $100 monthly mortgage increase and he didn't know why. That's a lot of money - $1,200 a year. Drumroll for the explanation. Since the bill comes from the bank, it's the lender's fault, right? Nope. By law, a residential mortgage statement must show the...

  • One Away

    Tammy Jordan|Updated Feb 26, 2024

    We're all just "one away" from something. One day, one choice, one decision, one contact, one drink, one hit, one breath away from something different in our lives. Sometimes our "one-aways" are insignificant, or at least they seem so at the time. And other times, they are life-changing. For an addict or an alcoholic, that one drink or one hit and the decision to take it or not is the difference between sobriety and falling off the wagon. For the procrastinator (and yes, this...

  • Op-ed: Veto of SB 442 fails public lands and voters

    Andrew Posewitz|Updated Feb 13, 2024

    In my family there is a wide swath of political views and when you are in the same room as we were for the Holidays, the juvenile name calling stops and thoughtful discussions can occur. What these discussions revealed was that while we have many differences, there is also agreement. Well, if I'm being honest, there was some juvenile name calling too, we are family after all. But back to my point, I wonder then, why don't we at least have the things we all agree on? For...

  • Letter: Elections not selections

    Updated Feb 13, 2024

    Dear Editor and Fellow Constituents, Montana's election process belongs to the people. We want to facilitate open and fair discussions during our primaries. The National Republican Senate Committee-Chairman Daines- does not need to choose the Arizona candidates or the candidates for Montana... Montanans can pick our own candidates, we do not need rich establishment politicians spoon feeding us our choices for Federal or State offices. We want fair and honest Elections not Selections. Now is a time for the Grassroots of...

  • You May Be Tempted to Tune Politics Out, But Here's Why You Shouldn't

    Lee Hamilton, Center on Representative Government|Updated Feb 13, 2024

    Back in January, the Pew Research Center released the results of an intriguing set of focus groups they carried out last year. Ordinarily, of course, survey research organizations test the sentiments of registered or likely voters to check in on their mood. But these groups were voters who, in Pew's words, "look at the nation's politics as a topic better avoided than embraced." What those voters had to say is a sign of these highly polarized, highly politicized times. They're...

  • OP-ED: Fighting for Montana values

    Sen. Steve Daines - R, U.S. Senate|Updated Feb 5, 2024

    With the holidays behind us and Congress gearing up for a new session, I look forward to continuing my mission fighting for our Montana way of life in Washington, D.C. Under President Joe Biden and Democrat congressional leadership, Montanans are facing the highest inflation rate in three decades, driving up prices of everything from groceries to used cars. In addition, the wide-open southern border is allowing record amounts of fentanyl to devastate our communities, and the...

  • Op-ed: Montana Supreme Court is Wrong on Legislative Rules

    Sen. Steve Fitzpatrick - R, Senate Majority Leader.|Updated Feb 5, 2024

    As a practicing lawyer, I am often reluctant to criticize decisions made by a court. However, last week, the Montana Supreme Court rendered a decision involving legislative rules which is absolutely stunning. One of the basic principles of our system of government is the separation of powers. Under our constitution, there are three separate and equal branches, each with their own duties and responsibilities. As a fundamental principle, each branch is charged with running and...

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