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  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Op-ed: Get to know your judges

    Sen. Barry Usher - R, Montana SD 20|Updated Jan 21, 2024

    As you learn about all the candidates for various offices this year, the most important ones are the ones that most Montanans know the least about. The politicians you need to do the most research on are not the would-be congressmen, governors, or even legislators. It's the judges. Although they claim to be above the political fray, judges in Montana are in fact politicians. From the district courts to the state Supreme Court, they're elected. They have to run campaigns,...

  • Opinion: Don't Be a Sheep

    District Judge Katherine Bidegaray|Updated Jan 9, 2024

    In the fabric of Montana's history, woven through the life stories of our people, is a simple yet profound wisdom: "Don't be a sheep." This is the legacy of my Basque heritage, a creed passed down from my father, who turned the rugged terrains of eastern Montana into a home for our family. It's this same spirit that now compels me to seek a seat on the Montana Supreme Court. I want to ensure that our judiciary reflects the strength, independence, and integrity of the state we...

  • Op-Ed: New Year brings lower taxes to Montanans

    Updated Jan 9, 2024

    By: Senators Jason Ellsworth, Becky Beard, and Greg Hertz There's no way Republican legislators would rather ring in a new year than with lower taxes, and that's exactly what we've done to kick off 2024. As of January 1st, Montanans of all income levels are now paying lower income taxes, thanks to legislation that just went into effect. Those tax savings will be felt either on upcoming paychecks or when you file your 2024 taxes next year, depending on where and how you get pai...

  • Op-Ed: Protecting the American Dream

    Troy Downing|Updated Dec 13, 2023

    A question I am often asked is "Why? Why are you running?" The answer is simple: These United States of America, all she represents, and all of the opportunities she offers have been good to me, and I need to give back. I need to serve. I need to feel that I deserve all that she has offered without asking anything in return. I need to know that someone like me, from meager beginnings, an unplanned pregnancy to an unwed teenage mother, someone without money or connections, can...

  • Op-Ed: A 2023 Political Recap: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

    Sheila Hogan, Montana Democratic Party Director|Updated Dec 13, 2023

    Skyrocketing property taxes. Astronomical energy rate increases. Homes that are unaffordable to most Montanans. And yet more big tax breaks for the ultra-wealthy, while the rest of us are left to foot the bill. When we look back on the last year, all these changes and more were brought you by one party and its supermajority: Montana Republicans. As 2023 ends, let's look back over the last 12 months to see where Republicans really took us as a state. The Good. Montana Democrats...

  • Op-Ed: Are you happy about your new property tax bill?

    Jan Lombardi, Seeley Lake|Updated Dec 13, 2023

    Are you happy about your new property tax bill? I'm definitely not. Everywhere I go, people are grumbling about how much their property taxes increased. But if you think nobody is happy, you're wrong. Governor Gianforte and the Republican legislative supermajority raised our property taxes. Yep, it's true, and it was intentional. Sure, taxes are complicated, and we pay them because we have to. So, you might be asking an obvious question, like I did: Why in the heck would...

  • Op-Ed: States must finally end the unconstitutional scheme of home equity theft

    Madilynne Clark, Mountain States Policy Center|Updated Dec 13, 2023

    If someone were to borrow a cup of sugar to make a cake and doesn't return a similar amount, is the lender entitled to the cake? The lender would be viewed as excessively greedy to acquire so much in recompense. A fairer outcome would be for the borrower to offer a slice deemed equivalent to the value of the sugar. Yet, prior to the Supreme Court ruling in Tyler v. Hennepin County in May 2023, governments were allowed to "take the cake" from many citizens through home equity...

  • The myth of increased voter turnout through vote by mail

    Chris Cargill, Mountain States Policy Center|Updated Nov 29, 2023

    In this month's off-year general election, there's one thing Idaho and Washington had in common - voter turnout was dismal. But there's more to the story: Idaho holds its elections in person, while Washington is entirely vote by mail. And, once again, we've learned that vote by mail does little to increase voter turnout. When all is said and done, it appears voter turnout in Idaho will be roughly 30 percent. Clearwater county earned top marks with nearly 52 percent turnout....

  • Letter: In support of Israel

    Updated Nov 15, 2023

    The most important global issue of the day is that of the middle east conflict. The barbaric evil of Hamas was in full display October 7th. The reports are undeniable; "The IDF told CNN that women, children, toddlers and elderly were brutally butchered in an ISIS way of action." (CNN, Oct. 13) LA Times, Oct.12 wrote, "Reporting on the violence by Hamas and response by Israel.... is requiring onscreen warnings before showing pictures of how the Hamas onslaught killed families...

  • Op-Ed: Make Your Voice Heard to Help Rebuild Montana's Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Systems

    Updated Nov 7, 2023

    By Rep. Bob Keenan, DPHHS Director Charlie Brereton, Sen. John Esp No Montana community is untouched by the mental health crisis. Suicide. Addiction. Loneliness. The struggle to find mental health services or appropriate supports for individuals with developmental disabilities. Patients receiving care in places that aren't best for them. The list of challenges facing our communities is long and years in the making, and the time for setting that list aside is over. This...

  • Op-Ed: Clarifying The Facts As I See Them On The 95 Mill Property Tax Increase

    Sen. John Esp -R, Chairman, Mont. Senate Finance Committee|Updated Nov 7, 2023

    Recently opinion pieces and information sent to legislators regarding the counties decision to levy 77.9 mills instead of the State directed 95 mills has been circulating in both statewide newspapers, and internal legislative correspondence. It appears that the message being distributed is counties are giving large tax breaks to corporations and out of state homeowners while doing little for the average Montanan. While the numbers can be interpreted to support that message,...

  • Why Does the House Speaker Matter, Anyway?

    Lee Hamilton, Center on Representative Government|Updated Nov 6, 2023

    Wednesday, November 01, 2023 It would be a stretch to say that the US government came to a standstill after GOP members of the House unseated Kevin McCarthy as Speaker at the start of October. The Senate and the executive branch both kept working to move their priorities forward during the three weeks before the House finally found a replacement. Federal workers kept programs running and operations on an even keel. Yet the House's dysfunction had a clear cost: an inability to...

  • Op-Ed: A productive legislative session for hunters and landowners

    Updated Oct 25, 2023

    Hunting season has arrived! As hunters flock to the hills in pursuit of Montana's treasured big game species, we want to take a moment to acknowledge the good work that was done in this spring's legislative session for hunters, landowners, and conservationists alike. Wildlife issues have frequently been overcome with intense division in previous legislative sessions. 2023 was different. Various stakeholders that are often in sharp disagreement on wildlife and land management p...

  • Op-Ed: Is a new GOP tax underfoot?

    Montana Rep. Mary Caferro -D, HD 81|Updated Oct 18, 2023

    The Montana Republicans claim that they support lower taxes and they do – selectively. They support lower taxes on millionaires and big corporations. Not you. The evidence from the 2023 legislative session is unambiguous. When property values shoot up, like they did this year, it will be homeowners and small businesses, not big corporations, that pay. "Property taxes" include several different kinds of property, from the homes where everyday Montanans live to the buildings t...

  • Op-Ed: Judicial activism at work in transgender court case

    Sens Jason Ellsworth and John Fuller, Montana Senate|Updated Oct 10, 2023

    There are many things that children can't legally do in Montana. They can't smoke a cigar, drink alcohol, die fighting for their country in a foreign war, vote or engage in a variety of transactions. The reason for that is simple: they're children. They aren't developed enough yet to make serious life-altering decisions, with or without parental consent. They haven't had enough life experience yet to adequately weigh the risks or consequences of potentially dangerous...

  • U.S. Supreme Court considers tax case of the century

    Olivia Johnston, Mountain States Policy Center|Updated Oct 10, 2023

    Is the U.S. Supreme Court posed to slam the door shut on efforts by some to impose wealth taxes across the country? We may soon find out. Multiple states, Idaho and Montana included, along with over 25 organizations have filed amicus briefs in favor of a Washington state couple, Charles and Kathleen Moore against the United States, for what is anticipated to be the biggest tax case to reach the Supreme Court of the United States in several decades. This upcoming term, the...

  • Op-Ed: It's time for state management of grizzly bears

    Senators Jason Ellsworth and Butch Gillespie, Montana State Senate|Updated Oct 2, 2023

    The recent spate of headlines about grizzly bear attacks and human-bear conflicts highlights the need for the federal government to return management of grizzlies to the State of Montana. Grizzly bears are still listed under the federal Engendered Species Act despite their populations having been recovered, robust, and growing in both the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) and the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) for years now. When grizzlies were listed on the...

  • Op-Ed: Deadline approaching for property tax rebate

    Sen. Jason Ellsworth-R -Hamilton, President of Montana Senate|Updated Sep 19, 2023

    October 1st is the deadline to claim your $675 property tax rebate for this year. Tens of thousands of Montana property owners have already claimed theirs. If you're a Montana resident who pays property taxes on your primary residence, head to getmyrebate.mt.gov as soon as possible to claim yours. And whether you've already claimed this year's rebate or not, put a reminder on your calendar to claim next year's as well. A second $675 property tax rebate will be available from...

  • Op-ed: The Biden Administration Has It Wrong. School Hunter Safety Programs Are Part of Our Montana Way of Life.

    U.S. Senator Jon Tester - D, Montana|Updated Sep 19, 2023

    It's no secret that I don't look like most of my colleagues in Washington DC. They don't run a farm when they're back home, you won't find them swapping out duck foot shovels or greasing a combine, and to my knowledge no one else is missing a few fingers from an unlucky childhood run-in with a meat grinder while butchering meat on my family farm. But beyond our differences in appearance, I'm always focused on bringing a healthy dose of Montana common sense and a lifetime of...

  • Op-ed: Protecting Montanans from government surveillance

    Sen. Ken Bogner - R|Updated Sep 11, 2023

    We scored a big win for Montanans' privacy and against invasive surveillance technology during this year's legislative session. My Senate Bill 397 severely restricts government's use of facial recognition technology and is now law in the Last Best Place. Legislators conducted a study of facial recognition between the 2021 and 2023 legislative sessions. We learned how state government was beginning to deploy the technology and even discovered that at least one school district...

  • Op-Ed: It's time to claim your property tax rebate

    Sen. Daniel Zolnikov - R|Updated Aug 22, 2023

    The state legislature passed $384 million in property tax rebates, the first half of which is currently available to Montanans. The window to claim your rebate-up to $675 on your primary residence-is August 15, 2023 to October 1, 2023. Go to getmyrebate.mt.gov to claim your rebate. The second round of rebates will be available during the same timeframe next year, so mark your calendar. You must file a claim to receive the property tax rebates to verify your primary residence i...

  • Op-Ed: Funding Gives Montana a Plan to Reduce Vehicle-Wildlife Collisions

    Updated Aug 22, 2023

    Anyone driving Montana's highways knows the risk of colliding with deer and other wildlife. Hardly a mile goes by without the gruesome reminders of hit animals, broken bumpers, or smashed headlights scattered on the shoulder. According to the Bozeman-based Western Transportation Institute, collisions with wildlife can be reduced by up to 85 percent with the installation of wildlife crossing infrastructure such as fencing and under and overpasses. Such installations have been...

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