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Warburton: Busy week ahead in Helena

Rep. Wendy Warburton, R-Chinook, said during a legislative video conference in Havre that hearings are coming up in the next week on several bills of local interest and invited people to come to Helena to testify on the bills or submit written comments.

One is on a topic of recent high interest on the Hi-Line: relations between Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and landowners.

Warburton said the bill would direct FWP — and invite landowners and landowner groups — to come before the interim committee between legislative sessions to talk about ways of improving communications and relations between the department and landowners.

"So (the landowners) don't feel they are being steamrolled with some of these deals and decisions, " she said, adding, "I think this is good opportunity, with the new administration. I am getting the feeling they are more open about trying to mend some fences with landowners.

"I would really like to invite any landowners in our area to come testify to support that (bill), " Warburton said.

FWP's decision to buy the Milk River Ranch in Hill County has raised some major opposition by landowners in the area and in other parts of the state.

The hearing on that bill, House Bill 298, is scheduled for 3 p. m. Tuesday in the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee on which Warburton sits.

She said another of her bills also is up for a hearing in that committee. That bill, House Bill 324 to allow nonresidents to trap furbearing animals and hunt bobcats in Montana if their state allows Montanans to buy trapper's licences, was requested by the Montana Trappers Association, Warburton said.

That bill also is scheduled for the 3 p. m. Tuesday hearing.

Warburton's bill designating portions of U. S. Highway 2 in memorial to Blaine County law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty also has a hearing fast approaching.

House Bill 299 is scheduled for a hearing at 3 p. m. Friday, Feb. 8. It would designate the portion of Highway 2 from the eastern boundary of Chinook to Zurich the Patrick A. Pyette Memorial Highway and the portion from Zurich to the western boundary of Harlem the Joshua Raven Chief Thomas "Josh" Rutherford Memorial Highway.

Blaine County Deputy Sheriff Rutherford died from gunshot wounds sustained May 29, 2004, when he responded to a report of a domestic disturbance.

Blaine County Undersheriff Pyette died of injuries sustained Dec. 14, 2011, when a vehicle struck him while he was directing traffic around a disabled truck on Highway 2 east of Chinook.


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