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Viewpoints / Opinion


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  • Opinion: Democracy is Bipartisan

    Linda McCulloch and Bob Brown|Updated Jun 14, 2024

    Having proudly served as former Secretaries of State in Montana, we understand how important democracy is to the people of our state. It's not a matter of what side of the aisle you stand on – it's a matter of what you value. Recently our state's Supreme Court reaffirmed that Montanan's right to cast a ballot is not a mere privilege – it is a right guaranteed by our Constitution. A coalition of lawmakers in Congress, including Montana's Senator Tester, are working to uph...

  • 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...

  • 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,...

  • 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: 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: 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

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