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Legislature passed gains for wildlife, habitat

The 2019 turned out to be a success for wildlife legislature and habitat. We look back at a session that had more than 80 bills affecting our core issues of wildlife, habitat and access, and see many wins and a handful of losses when it comes to...

 

It's time to fix up the people's house

In the waning hours of Montana’s 66thLegislative Session, good public policy squeaked through, including Medicaid expansion and an infrastructure bill. But, public works can’t fix the deferred maintenance of the outdated way these bills made it...

 

Economic development creates opportunity, prosperity in Montana

Economic Development Week is a time to reflect on the many successes of public-private partnerships to grow businesses, create jobs and strengthen the economy. This year, Montana has something extra to celebrate with the bipartisan passage of House...

 

The war of the Republicans

A half-century ago the power in Montana politics was the Montana Power Company. Created to provide electricity for the operations of the Anaconda Copper Company, “the terrible twins” dominated Montana both economically and politically for most...

 

Montana is a shining example of how our political system should work

At the start of the legislative session, I delivered my fourth and final State of the State address. I shared my optimism that in Montana we can still be a shining example of how our political system is supposed to work and that as elected leaders...

 
 By Pam Burke    Opinion    May 3, 2019

View from the North 40: What are the odds?

Winning the big payout in any lottery is rare because the odds are astronomically against that happening, but that holds true for a lot of things. Because the lottery folks are in the business of making money, they take paying it out very seriously....

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    May 2, 2019

Looking out my Backdoor: Bamboozled

I know that I said (quite plainly), “I am not going to buy any more pots for my plants.” I spoke these words quite sincerely, often, back when I had accumulated a total 100 (plus a small number)...

 

Cattlemen's Association disappointed in Montana Country of Origin Labeling failure

The Montana Cattlemen’s Association is very disappointed that the Montana Legislature refused to enact a Montana Country of Origin Labeling law (Mt-COOL). Although the bill did receive limited bipartisan support, it was primarily the majority...

 

State-mandated placarding not COOL

I firmly believe Montana farmers and ranchers care deeply about developing and growing consumer confidence and trust in the products we painstakingly raise. It’s a key goal in helping a growing urban demographic understand why we’re so...

 

The session ends

This past Thursday was the last day of Montana’s 66th legislative session. In the Senate, after passing some key bills to fund the state for the next two years, a motion was made to do something about tie votes in interim committees. As everyone...

 

Republicans met some goals in legislative session

The 66th legislative session has come to an end. As speaker of the House, it was my goal to uphold the integrity of the House. As a leader in my caucus it was my goal to foster unity not conformity. We can be united behind the primary ideals of our...

 

Wildlife data must be protected

Montana has for decades been at the forefront of wildlife conservation among states in the West. We have the best hunting and angling in the country, and Montana has long set the standard in hunting ethics. As Montanans we value fair chase as an...

 

View from the North 40: Those crazed cat days of winter

I have been struggling with how to broach an indelicate personal subject with the polite words needed in a public platform such as this, but I don’t know if there is a delicate way to say that my cat Tony has fallen deeply, madly and...

 

Missing women is not a partisan problem

When women and girls go missing in our state, it’s not a Democratic problem or a Republican problem — it’s a Montana problem. And it’s an urgent one. Not much research exists on the epidemic of Indigenous women and girls going missing or...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: As a matter of fat

Several weeks or months ago, all the women in the Rancho jumped onto the latest diet-craze roller coaster. One at a time. I’m not sure how or why. Each is beautiful in her own way. I say “all...

 

Pages serving in the state Senate

This past week, I had the pleasure of having my grandson J.R. Seewald not only stay with Judy and me in Helena, but also work with me on the floor of the Montana state Senate as a page. The first...

 
 By Pam Burke    Opinion    April 19, 2019

View from the North 40: English speakers unite - for a better vocabulary tomorrow

Earlier this week a friend of mine was puzzling over why English speakers use the word “disgruntled” all the time, but we never drop the “dis” prefix and say “gruntled.” A “disgruntled” customer can file a complaint, but why don’t...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: All my oceans lie westward

I felt lost the whole week. I had absolutely no sense of direction. How could I tell? I have long been able to orient myself to water. I sense the presence of a body of water. On our last day,...

 

Autism awareness: The growing tide of supports and services

On April 2, 2019, Montana Senators Jon Tester, Democrat, and Steve Daines, Republican, announced their bipartisan support of the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support — CARES — Act to fund research, training, and...

 

Legislature missed chance to improve access

Polls consistently show that Montanans support public lands and access to them. And yet, the 2019 Montana Legislature consistently opposed bills that improve access and supported bills that reduce it. Of the four bills that would have improved...

 
 By Pam Burke    Opinion    April 12, 2019

View from the North 40: The news is falling my way today

For the record, I don’t need anyone to applaud me or approve of the way I negotiate life for me to feel validated, but sometimes that kind of support makes me want to laugh like a jerk, “haaaa haaa hah!” while pointing my bust-a-cap fingers in...

 

Earth Day should inspire us to recycle

The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species...

 

Looking out my Backdoor - Rags to riches

Remember a few weeks ago I stayed in the sleaziest hotel in Chacala? Lovelytown. Ugly hotel experience. This week, thanks to the generosity of Kathy and Richard, I am in the most posh hotel in Cancun,...

 

My honor to sponsor Senate page

This past couple of weeks, Judy and I were blessed to have family here to visit and show the grandkids the Montana State Capitol. Mari and kids here from Washington and Maci and kids from Wyoming. It was too bad their spring breaks weren’t at the...

 

House Bill 710 helps stop pharmaceutical greed

Americans pay the highest brand-name drug prices in the world. Congress, the administration and importantly, our own Montana state legislators must take action now to lower prescription drug prices, the root cause of this problem. That’s why AARP i...

 

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