Opinion / Column

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 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...

 

SB 300 is critically needed to protect our constitutional property rights

As a Montanan, veteran, and state senator, I am proud to sponsor Senate Bill 300 — a bill that protects property rights. The bill would create a grandfather clause for owners in HOAs to keep only their most basic property rights that were...

 

Reducing hours of the Montana-Canadian ports will hurt Montana

I attended the Town Hall meetings at Plentywood to discuss hour reduction at the U.S. Port of Raymond-Regway Canadian Port of which is a 24-hour commercial port. The proposed hours of operation would be from 6 a.m. to midnight. Canada — Regway...

 

Problems with Medicaid expansion, bonding bills in Legislature

This past week, the Montana House of Representatives passed both House Bill 652, the Long-Range Bonding bill, and House Bill 658, the Medicaid Expansion bill. The Bonding bill passed the floor with 68 yes votes and 30 no votes, and the Medicaid...

 
 By Pam Burke    Opinion    April 5, 2019

View from the North 40: Feed me, Seymour, feed me

It’s spring, so the annual harassment has begun about my fat horses. It didn’t help that we went to see some friends over the weekend and all their horses looked trim and fit. Apparently the difference between our horses’ physiques was...

 

Even good principles demand good law …

I am a passionate defender of property rights. They are a foundational principle of our U.S. and Montana Constitutions. But as a resident and owner in a Montana community with a homeowners association, or HOA, I am both saddened and outraged that SB...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    April 4, 2019

Looking out my Backdoor: Tempus fugit

Time flies and the older I get, the faster it fugits. As I contemplate yet another birthday, that mean ol’ tempus is fugiting at the speed of light. To add injury to insult, this weekend we will...

 

The return of Montana's copper collar

Mark Twain is credited with saying, “History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” And so it is with SB 331, which is winding its way through the legislature. This bill authorizes NorthWest-ern Energy to buy more interest in old coal...

 

Net neutrality, opiod taxes and rental car taxes in the Legislature

Editor’s note: This corrects the amount of the proposed opiod flat tax which was changed in Tempel’s letter due to an editing error. One of the things discussed this week in Energy Committee was net neutrality on internet providers. Basically,...

 

Preschool is about our kids and our state's future, not the political fight of the day

Last summer, I met a woman in Lewistown who told me she made too much money to qualify for Head Start but couldn’t afford to have her son in the kind of quality program that would give him a great start. I met parents in Wibaux who had to drive 30...

 
 By Pam Burke    Opinion    March 29, 2019

View from the North 40: These guys are big in politics

For those people tired of elected officials fighting over trivial matters that have nothing to do with properly governing our country at federal, state and local levels, this saying offers some comfort: Everything must come to an end one day. I am...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: The Sleaziest Hotel in Chacala

We told her. We told her. Never again is she allowed to pick the hotel. “The owner is really nice,” she said. “Yes, the owner is a nice man; his wife is nice, his three-year-old daughter is...

 

'Save the Cowboy, Stop the APR!'

Editor’s note: This is the second part of an editorial discussing American Prairie Reserve’s stated goal of assembling private land in the Northern Great Plains north of the C.M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge that can be managed with public...

 

'Save the Cowboy, Stop the APR!' What does this mean? Pt. 1

Editor’s note: This is the first part of an editorial discussing American Prairie Reserve’s stated goal of assembling private land in the Northern Great Plains north of the C.M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge that can be managed with public...

 

Senate bill can preserve our individual and collective history

Passage of Senate Bill 338, the Montana Museums Act of 2020, is very important to all of Montana by providing a thoughtful and financially responsible way for us to preserve our history from the local to the state level. History is important. To...

 

Week 10 busy in state Legislature

This week, in Education Committee, we have had a number of bills that are pushing toward offering more career and technical education in schools. One of the bills has suggested CTE education start as low as fifth and sixth grades. The idea is noble,...

 

Don't cut health and human services

The current Republican majority in the state Legislature has been proud in following its idea of no new or increased taxes. And they have expressed initial satisfaction in “cutting fat” from various department budgets while “retaining...

 

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