The Billings Outpost

Judges support McKinnon

As state District Court judges from central and eastern Montana, we endorse Laurie McKinnon as our pick for the Montana Supreme Court. Judge McKinnon is currently a District Court judge for Glacier, Toole, Pondera and Teton Counties. Judge McKinnon tries numerous cases, writes well-reasoned opinions and is fair and courteous.

Perhaps most importantly, Judge McKinnon would be the only District Court judge on the Supreme Court, which would bring a unique perspective to difficult decisions. She has been in the trenches and has invaluable legal experience as a judge.

Judge McKinnon follows the law and understands the role of the judicial branch. She leaves the important job of making laws to the Legislature. Please join us and approximately 20 other District Court judges across Montana and consider Judge Laurie McKinnon for the Montana Supreme Court — we believe all Montanans will be well-served by her experience.

Judge G. Todd Baugh

Judge E. Wayne Phillips

Judge Russell C. Fagg

Judge Richard Simonton

Judge Blair Jones

Judge Nels Swandal

Judge Joe L. Hegel

Judge Gregory R. Todd

Judge Mary Jane Knisely

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 12:26

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Vote for LR-121

On Nov. 6 Montana voters can demonstrate their concern about illegal immigration by voting “FOR” Legislative Referendum LR-121 to deny many state-taxpayer funded benefits and services to illegal aliens.

During the 2011 session our Legislature passed HB 638 which placed LR-121 on the ballot. As the state representative who sponsored this bill, I want to explain why you should help me enact LR-121 with your “FOR” vote.

There are many illegal aliens in Montana. Reports from around the state of law enforcement encounters with illegals are further testimony. A brief article in the April 2, 2010, Billings Gazette mentioned arrests in the preceding weeks by Border Patrol officers based in Havre of 20 illegal aliens hailing from Poland, Iraq, Honduras, El Salvador, and Mexico.

The U.S. Attorney for Montana prosecutes a steady stream of immigration violators, primarily people who have re-entered the U.S. illegally after being deported previously. In 2009, about 6.5 percent of the sentences for criminal convictions reported were for illegal re-entries. This same year one-third of the U.S. Attorney cases for Wyoming involved illegal aliens.

Although the illegal immigration problem is still smaller in Montana, we should learn from the mistakes of other states that waited until it was too late to act.

In 1990 Georgia had approximately 35,000 illegal aliens, about half of one percent of Georgia’s 6.5-million population. In 2010, according to the 2011 Pew Hispanic Center reports Georgia had about 425,000 illegal aliens of all nationalities.

In the 1990’s Georgians probably thought, “This could cost too much and the problem is just in the southwest border states like Texas and California.” So they ignored this problem until their illegal-alien population became Texas and California-sized. Due to their inaction, Georgia now spends more than $2 billion annually on public benefits for families headed by illegal aliens according to the Forum for American Immigration Reform.

Consequences for inaction in states with illegal immigration problems are legislative battles dividing the state, and litigation by our own federal government which is failing in every aspect of enforcing the rule of law regarding illegal immigration.

Liberal legislative critics and left leaning entities like the ACLU who oppose LR-121 complain about the cost of implementing this referendum. They almost never consider the costs of doing nothing. They do not seem to realize there are only a few ways for illegal aliens to live illegally in Montana and two of them are living off Montana’s state benefits and taking our jobs.

No state agency testified against HB638 during the legislative hearings and their cost estimate for complying with LR-121 was zero. If LR–121 passes our state agencies will be able to do the due diligence necessary to protect Montana citizens. This process will save our tax dollars with the side benefit of discouraging illegal aliens from having a presence in Montana. For the sake of Montana’s future generations, please vote “FOR” LR-121.

Rep. David Howard

Park City

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 12:25

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Daines will fight for taxpayers

On Oct. 2 I attended a debate between Steve Daines and Kim Gillan. No fewer than 20 college age young people, wearing the Daines T-shirt, plus many of us older ones, claimed victory for Steve. He presented his platform of protecting the military budget, the unborn, the freedom to develop our resources and creating more jobs. He believes that there will be no need to raise taxes because there will be thousands of more taxpayers in Montana. This is a man fully qualified for a seat in Congress, plus he is a man of integrity.

Sharon Hummel


Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 12:24

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Values unite us

Montana has a long, successful history of thoughtful political and conservation leaders who have been a force against interests that would destroy our outdoor heritage. Steve Bullock has bravely defended access to public lands and waters and Pam Bucy defended our stream access law in front of the Montana Legislature as well as promoting large blocks of great fish and wildlife habitat open to all. Montana sportsmen have appreciated Kim Gillan’s demonstrated hard work in defending our Montana outdoor heritage. Sen. Jon Tester’s recent Sportsmen Act of 2012 will be the first piece of Legislation taken up by the U.S. Senate when it convenes in November.

Our unique outdoor traditions are an expression of who we are as Montanans. Our ability to hunt, fish, camp and enjoy the outdoors are fundamental values for citizens. Conservation of our basic outdoor resources is essential to our state’s economic health as it is to providing the setting to raise Montana families. Access to our public land, water and wildlife is the foundation to a huge part of our Montana economy adding dollars to main street businesses.

Our treasured outdoor heritage faces a difficult future. Monied interests are buying vast areas of Montana. The public is being denied access to thousands of acres of public land through illegal road closures. The wildlife, which is owned by the people of Montana, is often concentrated behind private fences secured for the few who have the wealth to buy these estates.  Our wonderful fishing rivers and streams are under constant assault by special interests wishing to keep us out and use our streams for their own use and profit.  A Montanan can look at the legislation pushed forward in our own Legislature; undo our stream access law, pushing roads into important habitat areas and undoing our public land and wildlife conservation systems.

There are core and guiding principles to safeguard this Montana outdoor trust:

• Preserve Second Amendment rights.

• Preserve and enhance access to public lands and waters.

• Manage public owned land, water and wildlife with focus on long term public good, not private profit.

• Sustain and enrich outdoor values.

• Develop natural resources with thoughtful stewardship.

• Manage the public’s wildlife using the non-market, science based principles of the North American Model of Wildlife Management.

• Protect public wildlands with significant wildlife habitat and opportunities for quiet outdoor recreation.

Bullock, Bucy, Gillan and Tester have consistently shown respect for these principles. They protect the backs of Montana hunters and anglers both in Washington and Helena.  Elections make a difference.  If you are an outdoors person whether Democrat, Independent or Republican you had better pay attention to this election and remember we are Montana hunters and anglers, not outside radicals.

John Gibson

J.W. Westman

Mike Penfold

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 10:58

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Incumbent prefers Bushman

Representing Montanans on the critical issue of affordable, reliable energy for families and employers has been among the greatest honors of my life. Being term limited, I cannot run for the Public Service Commission again. I soon turn 63 so should quietly fade into the sunset. Not quite yet.

Kirk Bushman is running for my seat. With his engineering background, Bushman will possess the only skill sets on the commission necessary to analyze new wind, hydro and other generation projects. Bushman’s rock solid conservative fiscal stance will serve consumers well.

Compare that to his Democratic opponent, former Billings Mayor Chuck Tooley. When Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” came out, Chuck Tooley was in the first class of Al Gore’s three-day school on how to spread the alarm on global warming.

When Tooley tried to impose a 4 percent sales tax on your power and phone bills, public utilities and a co-op sued to keep your rates low. Tooley’s tax would have shown up in the utility bills of schools and therefore your tax bill as well. Tooley lost in District Court so appealed to the Montana Supreme Court. The people then gathered signatures to force a vote. Tooley’s utility sales tax died 60/40.

Tooley’s attorney then unsuccessfully argued that the Supreme Court should re-validate the utility tax anyway.

Tooley for Public Service Commission? No thanks, I’ll soon be on a fixed income. I doubt the utilities will sue him to keep our rates down again.

Brad Molnar

Public Service Commission


Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 10:57

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Confusion over initiatives

From calls I have received, it is becoming apparent that voters are having difficulty deciphering the language on several of this year’s ballot initiatives.

1. LR 120 – voting FOR requires parents to be notified before someone can abort their pregnant under-age daughter – logical since parents must give permission for someone to give their child an aspirin.

2. LR 121 – voting FOR stops taxpayer-funded services from being given to individuals in the U.S. ILLEGALLY and requires State agencies to notify Homeland Security that the individual has entered the U.S. ILLEGALLY.

3. LR 122 – voting FOR prohibits the state or federal government from requiring a person to purchase health insurance.

4. IR 124 – voting FOR supports the last Legislature’s efforts to restrict the use of marijuana to only terminal patients or those with medically diagnosed untreatable injuries, which was the original intention of the Montana voters which approved legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. AGAINST votes for a return in Montana of very little legal control of marijuana production and use which created legal and liability issues.

5. I-166 – voting AGAINST this union-sponsored initiative supports the recent Supreme Court ruling recognizing 500 years of laws defining corporations as legal entities with the same legal rights as individuals including freedom of speech and the ability to oppose political actions which could harm them. Voting AGAINST upholds this legal definition of a corporation which is critical to protect stockholders who invest in a corporate business without risking all of their unrelated assets and personal savings. Our economic system cannot function without the protection this initiative tries to eliminate.

The supporters of this last initiative are unions and radical environmental groups who have sponsored laws to restrict the ability of business to defend themselves from political attacks and unfair regulations — which the Supreme Court has ruled is an unconstitutional restriction of that business from the Freedom of Speech (First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution) to defend themselves.

This last couple of initiatives were obviously written by liberal lawyers with the intent to confuse voters. This is a disgrace and abuse of our fair and open political system. When you mark your ballot, remember they are purposely trying to deceive you!

Ed Butcher


Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 10:57

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