The Billings Outpost

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Speaking out on climate

Wilbur Wood did a great job of writing about climate change dangers and specifying what needs to be done [Outpost, March 7]. In our nation there has been a long silent period of inaction and our children will pay dearly for that selfish indifference.

It is good to see that the Outpost is not silent. Thank you.

Joan Hurdle


Last Updated on Thursday, 14 March 2013 15:23

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Consider effects of rules

Government overreach has become so common lately that people are becoming desensitized to its persistence. Not only are our personal liberties rapidly eroding, but the small business owners and those they employ have felt the effects of an overreaching government.

Over regulation has become a huge problem in the daily operations of small businesses throughout Montana. More frequently, large corporations use the rulemaking process to restrict competition in the marketplace. The additional costs of overregulation can be easily absorbed by large businesses, but small businesses – the economic driver of Montana’s economy — are priced out.

A recent study shows small businesses around the country spend an average of $7,647 each year per employee just to comply with government regulations and mandates. This is a significantly larger sum than what larger businesses pay, which average around $5,282 per year.

For many small businesses the cost to comply can simply run them out of operation. At the very least, it hurts the employees by decreasing the funds allotted for salaries and benefits. While certain regulations are necessary and even beneficial to the function of good business, some regulations imposed by overzealous government bureaucrats have caused our economy to stagnate.

Even President Barack Obama, who is staunchly supportive of more government intervention and regulation, agrees. In January 2011, at a time when our nation’s economy was struggling to shake the effects of the Great Recession, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum calling for regulatory flexibility in order to grow small business and create jobs.

He wrote at the time, “My administration is firmly committed to eliminating excessive and unjustified burdens on small businesses. … Accordingly, I hereby direct executive departments and agencies, when initiating rulemaking that will have significant economic impact on substantial numbers of small entities, to give serious consideration to whether and how it is appropriate, consistent with law and regulatory objectives, to reduce regulatory burdens on small businesses, through increased flexibility.”

At this time during the 2011 legislative session, I introduced SB 201, a bill that would require Montana state agencies to do exactly this: consider the impacts the rulemaking processes has on small businesses in our states. It was hardly a novel concept since 42 other states have required similar considerations. The bill sailed through both the Senate and House with bipartisan support. But, alas, SB 201 and small businesses throughout Montana felt the veto fate of the cruel, red hot branding iron.

Not to be outdone, I decided to try again in 2013 with SB 139. This bill, like its early counterpart, creates an affirmative duty for state agencies to analyze the impacts to small business before passing new rules and regulations. This will not only inform decision makers about the actual adverse and positive effects of the regulation, but it would also create a record upon which small businesses could pursue legal remedy. Protecting small businesses from an over reaching government is paramount in creating jobs and growing Montana’s economy.

Opponents fear that SB 139 would allow businesses to ignore government regulations and not abide by environment or labor laws. This is simply not the case. Small businesses are fully willing to comply with regulations, but want to ensure that they are playing on a level playing field. The act only requires agencies to consider the consequences of their regulations before automatically imposing regulations.

Opponents also contend that SB 139 would require state agencies to spend additional time and funds to study the effects of the rules and regulations. Perhaps this is true, but it is a worthy investment to ensure that small businesses are being treated fairly and ensure their growth is not stunted by harsh regulations. SB 139 will require additional transparency and accountability in government agencies.

SB 139 has passed the Senate and is building momentum as it works its way through the House. Let’s hope that when it reaches Gov. [Steve] Bullock’s desk that he will stand with Montana’s job creators and sign the bill into law.

Sen. Ed Walker


Last Updated on Thursday, 14 March 2013 15:22

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Cope with speech

Concerning the “Racist Joke.”

For one thing, Obama is not officially an “African American.” He is biracial, having had a white (“Anglo”) mother.

I wish I had five bucks for every insult, slur or lie said in my life so far.

As a people, we need to STOP whining about everything today.


Have we forgotten how? We have freedom of speech in the United States as a constitutional right. We might not always like or agree with other people’s thoughts and deeds, but we must accept it — it’s the law of the land.

Nancy Kemler


Last Updated on Thursday, 07 March 2013 12:39

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Dangers of gun control

The spirit of George III lives on in America! Given the history of the Colonies, it can be said that the major cause, or at least one of the really major causes of the Revolution was Britton’s attempt at gun control and confiscation.

In the early days of “settling” this country, firearms were a critical part of life. Women and children as well as all men learned how to use these.

Even toddlers were given toy guns and taught how to safely use them. Their rifles provided food, protection and ultimately protection against the tyrants of His Majesty.

The rulers of the time in Britain realized that they had around 3 million armed people in the colonies and they were nervous about the way they were treating the people on this continent. They knew the colonists represented an army far larger than theirs.

After the Boston Tea Party the British Army began a program of favors to those how willingly surrendered their arms. Later they refused to honor their promises. When they realized that program did not work they started the search and seizure method. History shows that when a government has to resort to using its military to enforce its laws nothing good can come from it.

All of these actions cause the colonists to organize and to train and to begin to manufacture fire arms domestically because the King ordered all imports to the colonies suspended. It was all about the inability of a tyrannical government to enforce its will against an armed people.

I am sure one can see the similarities in the handling of the colonists to the efforts now to disarm the law abiding men and women of this nation.

There is an open letter from some Special forces indicating the dangers of gun control and its lack of ability to control crime. This letter may be seen at:

A really good exposition on this matter from the Charleston Law Review can be found at If we do not learn from history, it will repeat itself!

Keith Babcock


Last Updated on Friday, 15 February 2013 19:42

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Dennis Rehberg would not know the truth if it hit him in the face.

Rehberg lied about being a friend of veterans and seniors. He never did anything for vets or seniors. Plus, he said the voters “whine and moan” about all the things that are going wrong in Washington.

Rehberg needs to look at the people who voted for Sen. Tester instead of him. Among them were Democrats, veterans, seniors and even a host of Republicans who would not ever deign to cast a vote for Rehberg.

Rehberg blames Sen.’s Tester and Baucus, the Democrats, unions and various of their allies for his loss. The 2012 election was a good example of what happened in 2006. We had two cry babies, one was Burns and the other, Rehberg - both of whom were sore losers.

And what about that boat wreck? Was he really drunk or just awfully stupid to crash a large boat into the jutting rocks of Flathead Lake?

What about that lawsuit accusing the City of Billings when all the city did was try to put out a fire at his home? And what about that time overseas when he fell off a horse and broke his arm? Was he schnockered then too?

He is truly an embarrassment to all Montanans. About all we Montanans can do is take up a collection and buy him a big crying towel so he can dry his overflowing bitter tears.

Ron Kuneff


Last Updated on Friday, 15 February 2013 19:42

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Thanks for article

Thank you Kim Barker and ProPublica for shining a bright light on the political sewage that surrounded the 2012 election cycle. And thank you Billings Outpost for printing it here in Montana [Jan. 3]. Politics and money bring out the worst in people. It has always been so, and it always will be.

Although the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United only made things worse, nearly two centuries of legislation in the U.S. has not changed human nature. The only way to blunt the corrosive effects of crony capitalism is to keep shining a light on it, as you have done and need continually to do.

Roger Williams


Last Updated on Thursday, 14 February 2013 19:37

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