The Billings Outpost

Vote no on LR 126

Thank you to The Billings Gazette for their Gazette opinion published Sept. 9. In that article they pointed out a history of the creation of Legislative Referendum 126 and illustrate why citizens should vote No on LR 126. Here, I wish to reiterate those points.

This referendum attempts to fix something that is not broken and in so doing places unfair hurdles in front of veterans, seniors and thousands of eligible Montanans’ freedom to vote. Instead of giving politicians the ability to take away a right Montanans have had for a decade by voting NO on LR 126 we will make sure that all eligible Montanans who wish to vote, can. 

Our current election system works well and is something to be proud of. Let’s keep it that way. Vote no on LR 126.

Cindy Webber

Big Timber

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 October 2014 10:50

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Defeat LR 126

In this upcoming election, there will be an issue on the ballot that strikes to the heart of our democracy, our constitutional right to vote. Believe it or not, this right appears more times in our Constitution than any other. Four amendments deal with the issue of voting. As Americans, we like to think we have the greatest democracy on earth. If that is so, then why are we trying so hard to hinder those rights from others? Legislative Referendum 126 does just that.

We need to vote “no” on LR 126. This proposed law is a disguise promoted by some to fix something not broken. Its passage would for sure undermine this nation’s greatest freedom by disenfranchising so many within our state. People such as veterans, seniors and thousands of other eligible voters who have a hard time registering to vote would be harmed by you voting yes on LR 126. It unnecessarily does so by simply restricting the dates and times of those trying to register.

I firmly believe we should be making it easier to register voters and easier to vote, not harder.

If you thought our current voting system was working well, why do we need to fix it? That should give you pause as to the rationale behind LR 126. This is a slick way to deny us, the people, our rights. If we do, we may never get them back. Vote no on LR 126.

Clinton Nagel


Last Updated on Thursday, 09 October 2014 10:49

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Vote for Daines, Zinke

Two issues in this year’s election overshadow all others: the national debt, and our national security.

The candidates we Montanans send to Congress will have a direct voice in addressing our staggering national debt, at a minimum cost to those in greatest need, while also guarding our security at an affordable cost to the national treasury.

Our two most recent presidents have either been good at making bad decisions, or bad at making any decisions. Neither apparently understood President Eisenhower’s warning that “a bankrupt nation is a defenseless nation.” Congress has acted like a befuddled bystander during the period of their presidencies. That’s how we got into our state of affairs.

Delay in addressing the debt is killing the country. Steve Daines has experience balancing budgets. I know him, and believe he has the courage as well as the knowledge to make the firm and fair debt decisions our economic survival requires. We should send him to the Senate.

Ryan Zinke, perhaps unique among all congressional candidates this year, could knowledgeably evaluate the capability and reliability of Middle Eastern ground forces allied with us that the President proposes we train to fight ISIS. Whether it’s “boots on the ground,” “sandals in the sand,” neither or both, a wrong strategy will result in more unaffordable defeat. On the national security issue Montana needs Zinke in Congress.

Bob Brown


Last Updated on Thursday, 09 October 2014 10:48

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Vote no on LR126

One hundred years ago, Montana men were debating whether women should be allowed to vote. It was a 66-year-old argument begun in Seneca, N.Y., on July 19, 1848. By May 1869, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony formed the National Suffrage Association with the single goal of attaining voting rights for women. In December of that year, the territory of Wyoming passed the first women’s suffrage law in the U.S.  But the idea was slow to gain support. 

When delegates were writing the Montana Constitution in 1889, Clara McAdow, a businesswoman from Billings, asked each delegate to give the vote to every person and not just men. No other state in the Union allowed women’s suffrage. It was defeated 43 to 25. 

Colorado was the first state to pass the amendment in 1893.

By 1914, it was believed that if women had the right to vote, laws would be passed that would improve society and end corruption.

On Nov. 3, 1914, Montana tied with Nevada to become the ninth state to pass the 19th Amendment allowing women to vote.

In Chicago on Feb. 14, 1920, six months before the ratification of the 19th amendment, the League of Women Voters was established. The right of every citizen to vote has been a basic League principle since its origin.

We encourage all citizens this November to vote NO on LR126 which would deny the right to register and vote on Election Day.

Voting is a fundamental right of every citizen.

Betty Whiting

League of Women Voters

 of Billings

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 October 2014 16:20

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Don’t risk water for oil

The Department of Natural Resources and Conservation is working with citizens to update the Montana State Water Plan. The outcome is incredibly important due to the growing drought spreading across the west, and the findings of a recent study, “Understanding Oil and Water Challenges in the Northern Great Plains.”

Due to the intense levels of drilling in the Williston oil basin, Montana must develop and implement proactive and careful water management practices to protect regional resources.

The sheer number of wells needed to produce the Bakken creates a huge demand on freshwater for drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and maintenance.

Oil and wastewater produced as a byproduct during oil production is brought to the surface through these wells. This water is correlated to oil yields, so as oil production increases, produced water quantities and the associated contamination risks and disposal needs will accumulate.

Further complicating these concerns are Montana’s irregular data reporting, insufficient regulatory oversight, inconsistent rules and inadequate contamination cleanup.

The Fox Hills–Hell Creek aquifer, for example, is the only groundwater source capable of consistently producing large amounts of freshwater. Overuse has caused rapid long-term reduction in aquifer pressure.  Therefore, it is overdrawn and some of the artesian wells have stopped flowing and more will dry up.

The Williston basin may be the most difficult region in America to balance oil-water risks. This balance is crucial if we are not to be drained of oil and left with dwindling and contaminated water resources in the future.

Cindy Webber

Big Timber

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 September 2014 10:39

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Koopman serves well

When the Public Service Commission recently approved the purchase of 11 hydroelectric projects by NorthWestern Energy, our own commissioner, Roger Koopman, reminded us once again why we should have such high confidence in his service.

While a candidate, Roger emphasized the need for the PSC to protect consumers and keep power bills affordable. The courage Koopman displayed during the hydro decision to advocate for the rate-paying consumers, even while opposed by the majority of commission colleagues, speaks to the seriousness of his commitment to public service.

Why was this so noteworthy? Because of all commissioners, Koopman (who represents Butte, the headquarters of NorthWestern Energy) faced the strongest political pressure to go along with the utility’s proposal.  Instead, he offered two amendments with the goal of protecting consumers and their energy rates. 

He, along with commissioner Travis Kavulla, were the only commissioners to offer amendments to reduce the overall rate hit to consumers, and put NWE in the position of reasonably sharing acquisition risks. NWE would have still gotten most of what they wanted, but to the commission majority, even these modest pro-customer adjustments were too much to require of the power monopoly. 

Koopman was right in asserting that consumers will be paying an excess price for these dams – partly because almost one-third of the NWE’s valuation was based on an uncertain prediction of future “carbon costs.”  He was also right in eventually supporting the acquisition itself. The purchase will doubtless still be a net gain for Montanans in the long run. 

But Commissioner Koopman did his best to make it a better deal that fairly balanced the interests of consumers and company. Roger deserves our thanks.

Bryce DeGroot



Last Updated on Thursday, 18 September 2014 15:04

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