Commentary

Why CI-121 is bad for Montana and public schools

BY: - February 8, 2022

Republicans are pushing a new property tax cap initiative, Constitutional Initiative 121, to be on the ballot for Montana voters. CI-121 limits annual increases in valuations of residential property to either 2% or the inflation rate (whichever is lower) when assessing property taxes if the property is not newly constructed, significantly improved or had a […]

A cancer on ‘The Last Best Place?’

BY: - February 7, 2022

For Montanans “The Last Best Place” conjures up many things, including wide open spaces, bountiful resources, honest people, good neighbors, thoughtfulness, hard workers, and government run by people you know.  It is one big town with long distances between the neighborhoods. You know folks all over.  The kids may drive 250 miles to play a […]

Parents have already taken over most school boards

BY: - February 6, 2022

“Parents are taking over school boards” announced a recent headline in a national publication. I have a lot of thoughts about this. For starters, like most school board trustees, I am a parent who decided to run for the Missoula County Public School Board of Trustees seven years ago, in 2015, when my son was […]

Big problems with small nuclear reactor proposals for Montana

BY: - February 5, 2022

Politicians and investor-owned utilities are now proposing small nuclear reactors in Montana to replace the old coal-fired power plants at Colstrip. For the last 44 years a successful Citizens’ Initiative banned nuclear power in Montana unless approved by the voters. But Republican majorities in the 2021 Montana legislature repealed the initiative and Republican Gov. Greg […]

How far, how fast Montana’s reputation has fallen

BY: - February 4, 2022

As most people know, building a good reputation doesn’t happen overnight. In the case of a state like Montana, it took a long time to become known as “The Last Best Place” — and we did it primarily due to the long-term care we took of our natural wonders. Now, only one year after the […]

Tell Fish, Wildlife and Parks to STOP when it comes to new elk rules

BY: - February 3, 2022

If you’ve become lost in the woods, what should you do? If you’ve taken Hunter Education, or any outdoor training, you know what to do. STOP: Sit. Think. Observe. Plan. That is what Montana hunters want the Fish and Wildlife Commission to do at their Friday meeting on elk season setting. Just STOP. The public […]

Private parts: Montana’s fast-moving effort to dismantle residents’ right to privacy

BY: - February 3, 2022

Of all the things the pandemic has taken from us, I am happy to report, COVID-19 has not robbed the Treasure State of irony. In a passionate appeal to the Montana Supreme Court – the same venerable institution that Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen has repeatedly insulted, demeaned and accused – the state’s top lawyer […]

There’s no more activist court than the United States Supreme Court

BY: - February 2, 2022

In legal briefing and in public statements, involving litigation surrounding “Armstrong v. State”–holding that women have an individual privacy right to obtain a pre-viability abortion free from government interference under Montana’s Constitution–Montana’s Attorney General, Austin Knudsen, has accused the Montana Supreme Court of judicial activism and legislating from the bench. Ironically, Knudsen levels his claims […]

PSC needs to change, but not by a special session

BY: - February 2, 2022

For the past eight years, I served on the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, six as chairman. When combined with my eight years in the House, I have spent more time evaluating the Public Service Commission’s regulatory duties and commissioners than anyone in the legislature. For the unfamiliar, the PSC consists of five members, each […]

Reefer madness finally comes to an end in Montana

BY: - February 1, 2022

Authoritarian governments have always tried in vain to keep citizens from indulging in activities they deem corrupting influences – or those that might diminish their control over the people. In the U.S., the classic example was the short-lived but extremely vicious and damaging experiment in Prohibition, which outlawed any sale or possession of alcoholic beverages. […]

There’s no right to ban or burn books

BY: - January 31, 2022

It looks like the self-appointed morality police are at it again.  Two articles in the Daily Montanan discuss the book banning wars in Kalispell and in Billings. The books at issue are about LGBTQ+ children, and, by some, are considered to be, in part, child pornography.  If, in fact, that were true federal authorities would […]

Vaccinate and stay vigilant: Together, we can put COVID-19 in 2022’s rearview mirror

BY: - January 30, 2022

As we flip the calendar page, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our health and daily lives. However, as we look toward 2022, a lot has changed, and it is important to remember that we have many more tools available now to control the virus now than we did at this time last year. Millions […]