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Sidney , Montana
March 6, 2019     Sidney Herald
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March 6, 2019

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! o WED,mAY, 6.20 9 Around our area SIDNEY HERALD 0 razing, vac BY SHMLEE RAGAR AND TIM PIERCE urge the federal govern- He said bison grazing .JM LEmS ' sEmrE, merit to deny a bisoncould damage the land grazing permit for a and infect cattle with umvE s oF SCH00LOF J0UR tS Bozeman-based conser-brucellosis, a disease HELENA -- The 66th ration organization, that often leads to abort- Montana Legislature The resolution led to a ed calves or lowered is at its halfway mark last-minute meeting of milk production. and that means that any the House Rules Corn-"Our members are general bills that did not mittee before lawmakers very concerned with make it through their voted on it during a floor what American Prairie first house before the session. Reserve has planned trm smittal deadline are House Joint Resolution for eastern Montana," effectively killed. 28 is carried by Rep. Dan Denowh said. About 60 bills have Bartel, R-Lewistown. It The Montana Stock- passed both houses and asks the federal Bureau growers Association, have reached the gover- of Land Management tothe Rocky Mountain nor's desk. Gov. Steve deny a grazing permitStockgrowers Associa- Bullock said one of the requested by Americantion and the Montana most impactful laws he's Prairie Reserve (APR), Farm Bureau Federation signed is House Bill 159, a private organization also t stified in support which will add about $77 that, according to its with similar concerns. million in funding for website, buys land inChelcie Cargill with the K-12 education. Montana to implement . Farm Bureau also said "I'm glad that the land and wildlife conser- granting the grazing education committee vation measures, permit would be special got that to me early on," APR is requesting thetreatment for APR,'and Bullock said. bison grazing peumit for that should be prevented. Speaker of the House land in in Chouteau, Fer- :Brucellosis has cost Greg Hertz, R-Poison, gus, Petroleum, Phillips, ihrmers billions of dol- said he's proud of pass- and Valley Counties. lars over the last century ing bills like House Bill Bartel said in the reso- according to the United 553, sponsored by Pep. lution's hearing that de- States Department of Eric Moore, R-Miles City, Hying the grazing permit Agriculture. And while which is the infrastruc: is critical to "Montana's bison are carriers of ture pa. znent bill that livestock and wildlife brucellosis, and have mixes borrowed money wellbeing." He said al- been found to transmit and cash to pay for pub- lowing free-range bison the disease to domes- lic works projects, to graze would disrupt tic cattle in controlled Hertz also said he neighboring ranches studies, the department intends to keep stopping and the work that's been reports it's difficult to bills that would increase done to protect the land document instances of taxes as the session and its soil. transmission in the wild. moves forward. "We believe the undo-Reports show transmis- "It's not just about ing of these best prac- sion of the disease likely passing bills too, it's tices that ranchers, the occurs between domestic about killing bad legisla- (Montana Department of bison cattle. tion for the state and Natural Resources), the Managing director Montana taxpayers," (Bureau of Land Man- of APR, Pete Geddes, Hertz said. agement) and the state testified against the have done over the years resolution aimed at his BILL SPARKS DEBATE is counterproductive to organization. He said OVER BISON GRAZING IN the land," Bartel said. APR has obtained more MONTANA Chuck Denowh, policy than 400,000 acres of Montana's House of director for the United land in Montana through Representatives passed Property Owners of private sale and leases a controversial resolu- Montana, spoke in sup- from the state with a tion last week that would port of the resolution, mission to create the 'Gem M~C~IrORI largest nature reserve in the country. Geddes said 20 percent of the land will remain in private ownership, and the rest will be open for public use. He said the resolution is mean- spirited and contains inaccurate hfformation. "It is ironic this committee is hearing a resolution pro mdgated by the United Property Owners of Montana, a special interest group, purporting to support property rights and lim- ited government," Ged- des said. "It is surely not lost on members of this committee that this reso- lution seeks to use the power of the state to at- tack the property rights and grazing privileges of a privote entity doing business in Montana." Geddes also said it is untrue that the bison would be fre.e-roaming. He said they will be fenced in. The Montana Wildlife Federation, The National Wildlife Federation, the Greater Yellowstone Co- alition and the National Parks Conservation Association all opposed the resolution. Ben Lamb, a representative for all four groups, said it was inappropriate for the Legislature to try to inhibit a private entity's property right. In the debate in the full House, Democratic leadership objected to the language of the reso- lution and argued that it clashed with House deco- tun+ which dictates that legislators cannot, use proper names of busi- nesses when discussing legislation during floor sessions. The legisla- tion was referred to the House Rules Committee before it was heard dur- ing a floor session. Rep. Shone Morigeau, D-Missoula, spoke dur- ing in the rules commit- tee hearing. "We're establishing bad precedent by insert- ing names of businesses into a bill," Morigeau said. After a debate, ques- tions and answers about Montana law, the com- mittee ruled that the bill could proceed, especially because it's a resolution and if passed, will not become codified state law. The resolution gained bipartisan support in the House. Rep. Zach Brown, D-Bozeman, spoke on the floor to say he would reluctantly support the legislation because he knew it was important to rm chers in eastern Montana. HJ 28 passed third reading in the House 59- 40 and will move to the Senate. LAWMAKERS GIVE EMOTIONAL TESTIMONY ABOUT VACCINE RULES Debate got heated in the Montana House of Representatives last week when lawmakers discussed three bills that would change vaccine laws in the state, all of which failed on second reading. Rep. David Dunn, R-Kalispel], introduced House Bill 564, which would make it easier to obtain a medical exemp- tion for vaccines that are required by schools and some businesses. It failed 38-62. Rep. Theresa Manzella, R-Hamilton, carried two of the bills. House Bill 574 would prohibit the Montana Department of Health and Human Ser- vices from barring fami- lies who have religious or medical exemptions for vaccines from being foster parents. House Bill 575 would prohibit the department front mandating that daycare providers require em- ployees or enrollees to have immunizations. The debate came down the risk to public health versus violations of personal liberties. "I've already been labeled as an anti-vaxxez, but this is not anti-vax. This is a pro-choice bill," Dunn said. Proponents of HB 564 said the requirements to receive a medical exemp- tion for vaccines are too stringent. The bill would have allowed nurses or physicim s assistants, not mdy doctors, to give exemptions and it would change the form that's required for the exemp- tion. When Manzella intro- duced he+.- legislation, she presented a packet of information that claimed vaccines are filled with the cells of aborted babies. "If this is the first time you're hearing this information, it's going to be a wild ride," Manzella said. Fetal tissue cells that were harvested in the 1960s from terminated pregnancies have been duplicated and used to develop immunizations, according to the College of Physicians of Phila- delphia. Manzella argued the state's overburdened foster care system would benefit from her proposed legislation by allowing those with religi0us exemptionsto vaccines to take in foster children. Rep. Connie Keogh, D- Missoula, stood to speak against the bill, saying that vaccines protect vul- nerable populations who have lowered immune systems, like children who are too young to be fully vaccinated Keogh said "legislation that undermines immu- nization requirements" increases risks for foster care kids and other vul- nerable populations. As the debate inten- sified, House minor- ity leader Rep. Casey Schreiner, D-Great Falls, stood to object to several comments that he said violated House decorum. Republican Speaker of the House Greg Hertz responded that legisla- tors need to keep to facts during debate. The Centers for Dis- ease Control, which says vaccines are effective in preventing communi- cable diseases and are tested to ensure their safety, reports 10 states have confirmed cases of measles, which it largely at.tributes to unvacci- nated populations. LAWMAKERS CONSIDER COUNTRY OF ORIGIN LABELING LEGISLATION Montana lm Taakers voted last week to table one bill and advance an- other dealing with coun+ try of origin labeling for agricultural products. House Bill 594, which would require beef and pork sold in Montana to be labeled with the country from which they come, was tabled in com- mittee. Senate Resolu- tion 1.6, which passed the Senate 46-4 and now moves to the House, would urge the federal government to recog- nize the importance of country-of-origin label- ing laws. Rep. Bradley Hamlett, D-Cascade, carried HB 594. He says it's modeled after federal country- of-origin labeling laws, which have been changed in recent years. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, cuts of beef and pork muscle were removed in 2015 from the list of products that are regulated by the labeling laws, meaning retailers are not required to pro- vide information on the origin of beef or pork that they sell. Hamlett says that change makes country- of-origin labeling a state's rights issue. "If you want to send a message to what I would call our dysfunctional Congress back east, you pass this bill," Hamlett said. The Montana Farmers Union supports the leg- islation. Secretary and treasurer of the group, Erik Somerfeld, spoke in the bill's hearing. "Consumers over- whelmingly want to know where their food comes from. Ranchers want the consumer to know where their food comes from," Somerfeld said. The Montmm Retail Association opposed the bill. President of the group, Brad Grif- fin told the committee he represents grocery stores across the state that Would be respon- sible for the labeling. He says federal legislation should come befbre state legislation. "This is far too com- plicated for Montana to solve on its own," Griffm said. Representatives from the Montana Farm Bu- reau Federation and the Montana Stockgrowers Association also opposed the bill, saying the pro- posed legislation would be burdensome for businesses and that this debate should be had at the federal level first. Because the bill was tabled it won't move for- ward unless 58 represen- tatives vote to "blast" it to the House floor. Sen. A10lszewski, R-Kalispell, is carrying the Senate resolution, and said he was told by Montana's U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte that passing this language would help pass federal legislation on the issue. Olszewski had a simi- lar bill to Hamlett's, Sen- ate Bill 206, that was also tabled committee. Shaylee Ragar and Tim Pierce are reporters with the UM Legis- lative News Service, a parlner- ship of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Mon- tana Newspaper Association, the Montana Broadcasters Assacia- tion and the Greater Montana Foundation. Shaylee can be reached at shaylee.ragar@umon- Tim can be reached at tim.pierce@umontano,edu. Montana gas prices increase during week Montana gas prices $2.17/g while the highest of the country has now have risen 2.5 cents is $2.89/g, a difference of started the first step in per gallon in the past 72.0 cents per gallon. The transitioning to sum- week, averaging $2.30/g cheapest price in the en- met gasoline at the same on Sunday; according tire country, today stands time refiners continue to GasBuddy's daffy at $1.86/g while the most maintenance," said survey of 615 stations, expensive is $4.99/g, a Patrick DeHaan, head Gas prices in Montana difference of $3.13/g.of petroleum analysis are 6.4 cents per gallon The national average for GasBudd~: "Look- higher than a month ago, price of" gasoline hasing at macroeconomics, yet stand 29.5 cents per risen 2.7 cents per gallon rumors of a U.S.-China gallon lower than a year in the last week, averag- trade deal may push oil ago. ing $2.43/g today. The no- prices higher as it would According to Gas- tional average is up 15.6 likely lead to increasing Buddy price reports, the cents per gallon from a economic growth rates cheapest station in Mort- month ago, yet stands 9.1 in both countries and tana is priced at $2.17/g cents per gallon lowerpushing demand for oil today while the most than a year ago. higher. Since gas prices. expensive is $2.89/g, a "Gas prices continued bottomed out nearly two difference of 72 cents to heat up across muchmonths ago, average gas per gallon. The lowest of the cotmtry over the prices are up 20 cents." price in the state today is last week as every area