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Letters to the Editor: HB 102 versus school safety

| January 28, 2021 12:05 AM

HB 102 versus school safety

Rep. Berglee’s HB 102 is bad legislation for our state’s students. More guns in our schools equals more deaths for our students. Don’t play into the NRAs mantra that the “only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” The studies do not support this approach. Go with the facts and not with the extreme Second Amendment rhetoric. We do not need more guns in our schools.

— Craig McClure, Polson

Lake County leadership needed

The Lake County Health Board is tasked with providing leadership and support to our county Health Department staff and citizens during this COVID-19 pandemic. I cannot think of many issues that are more critical to our citizens than effective management of COVID-19 at this time.

Our current five-member Health Board consists of our three county commissioners and two citizen members. During this pandemic, these five individuals, but especially our three county commissioners, have a critically important role to perform. Can we depend upon them? What should we expect? We should expect strong support from the board to our county health staff in promoting the three proven preventive measures and providing them the direction and resources to conduct effective tracing, testing and vaccination.

Without supporting effective prevention efforts, especially use of masks, our health staff are falling further behind in tracing and testing. Regarding our vaccination program, which has been underway for over a month, there has been a frustrating failure by our Health Board in neglecting to educate the public about the status of the program in Lake County. Questions such as: Who in Lake County is certified to administer vaccines? How many doses have been distributed to the county and to whom? How many vaccines have been administered and to what groups? Where are we in completing initial and follow-up doses to the 1A group? How will the 1B group be managed by the different providers? Aside from serious engagement with prevention measures, what can the public do to help support and participate in the vaccination program?

— Dayna McClure, Polson

Gov. Gianforte endorses SB 65

Senate Bill 65, an act to revise civil liability law, setting conditions on civil actions for exposure to COVID-19, is being promoted as a new law to protect business from frivolous COVID-19 lawsuits. However, professional testimony in Helena confirmed zero frivolous lawsuits in Montana over COVID-19 exposure currently exist.

In my view SB 65 eliminates free-market solutions, free assembly and free speech. It ushers in a new authority under the guise of “public health guidance,” which includes guidance from the CDC, Medicare, Medicaid, OSHA, governor, a state agency, and local government including a local government health department or local government board of health.

The people of Montana will not carry civil liability if they can prove compliance, a new 10-year proposed law. By default, SB 65 aims to impose a medical police state. Essentially everybody must play along to get along or potentially face civil liability, a burden that currently does not exist.

Free-market enterprise is the appropriate mechanism to properly allocate resources. The free-market consumer-driven health care experience has been replaced by a government sponsored COVID-19 non-free-market experience. When is the last time you had an exceptional non-urgent medical procedure?

But wait, it gets better. Sections 1, 4 and 5 incentivize potential medical malpractice by providing civil liability immunity to COVID-19 health care providers and manufacturers. A vote for SB 65 is a vote to continue government-induced domestic terrorism through anti-free-market medical tyranny. Free-market enterprise is being destroyed on purpose. Get involved. Call 406-444-3111 and oppose SB 65.

— David Passieri, St Ignatius

Irrigator risks and opportunities

In addition to the snowpack, there are developments that irrigators should follow closely.

Last year, Flathead Indian Irrigation Project employees stepped up and managed to keep water flowing to irrigators when the Bureau of Indian Affairs bureaucracy failed to fill vacancies. Will BIA be able to fill those vacancies?

The Compact Implementation Technical Team (CITT), which was established and funded when the Montana Legislature passed the water compact in 2015, should begin to explain to irrigators how it plans to perform its compact implementation roles. As a member of the CITT, the Flathead Irrigation District (FID) should provide irrigators information on its role in the CITT now and in the future.

The U.S. compact legislation provides one or more irrigation districts options for establishing an entity “for the cooperative operation and maintenance (O&M) of the FIIP”. From 2010 to 2013 the FIIP was well managed by a CSKT-FJBC cooperative entity (CME). But conflicts among irrigators forced the BIA to resume management of the project in 2014.

With the Mission-Jocko districts still at war against the compact, it remains for the Flathead Irrigation District to develop an O&M proposal to discuss with the Tribes. It took the Tribes and the FJBC seven years to reach agreement on the original CME agreement. Hopefully it will not take that long, but there are many tasks on the road to an agreement. And the FID commissioners cannot do it alone.

The Tribes will soon begin investing large scale resources into the rehabilitation and modernization of this project. Question: are irrigators ready to step up and cooperate with the Tribes to modernize FIIP operations and maintenance? Otherwise, the project will remain, if not collapse, under the control of the BIA bureaucracy.

— Dick Erb, Moiese

Firearms bill a safety risk

I am opposed to House Bill 102, which would allow the possession of firearms on the campuses of the Montana state university system. It is reckless to consider this change that adds firearms to college campuses. This bill threatens our vulnerable young people and others.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young Montanans (age 15–24). Over the last 10 years, 65% of the youth suicides were completed by firearms. Using a gun as means to kill oneself is significant because people are far more likely to die using a firearm than from any other means. Let’s not make it easier for our young students to kill themselves.

But the Montana Legislature is considering House Bill 102 to allow firearms to be carried on the campuses of the Montana University System. Our Legislature should be more concerned with how Montana evaluates those who may not be fit to carry a gun than allowing more people to carry guns

— Kathleen Farmer, Polson

Thanks for your support

The Bread Basket Board would like to thank the more than 225 individuals, families, businesses and foundations that helped support the Bread Basket in 2020. Strife can bring out the best or worst in people, and in this area of western Montana people really came through for the hungry, food-challenged people of Ronan, Pablo and Charlo. We worked closely with West Shore Food Bank, Polson Loaves and Fishes and St. Ignatius Food Bank to make sure the food never ran out. Our client numbers have been down for 2020 (407 families, 2,029 visits). We have found other ways to share our bounty se,rving at least 10 different groups with extra food. The Town Pump, Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation, Hubbard’s Yellowstone Adventures, Lower Flathead Foundation, Headwater Foundation, Gianforte Family Foundation and The Providence Health & Services were huge contributors to the Bread Basket. Even the small amounts ($2), the homegrown produce from area gardeners, and people who just buy extra on sale make a big difference to what we are able to give. A special thanks to all our local churches who are consistent givers during the year. We are hoping as this pandemic subsides that more will come for food. We follow protocol to keep everyone safe. Our 60 volunteers and the Bread Basket Board wish to share our humble thanks with you all. Please call 676-3261 or 676-Help for more information.

— Patti Mocabee, chairman, The Bread Basket

Call your senators on HB 102

HB 102 is intended to allow weapons to be kept and carried on our university campuses and prohibiting the Board of Regents from infringing on this “constitutional” right. The bill has passed the Montana House and is swiftly on its way to the Senate. I urge you to contact our Lake County senators, Greg Hertz and Dan Solomon, and tell them to vote no on HB 102.

College is a new and challenging time in a young adult’s life. Let’s not close our eyes to the fact that there is a lot of underage drinking and illegal drug use on campus. Some students may also suffer with mental health problems including anger issues, depression, thoughts of suicide, etc. College can exacerbate these issues — now add guns to the mix. Most students likely don’t even know how to handle a gun. Remember, these students come from all over the United States and the world.

I spoke with all three of my daughters who attended college. All had hunter safety classes and were familiar with guns in the home. I asked them if they would feel safer if they or other students carried a gun on campus. They told me about suicidal roommates, lots of drinking, a student-caused shooting next to campus (thankfully no one was injured) and other incidents they had seen. All agreed that guns on college campuses are like a bomb ready to explode — it just needs one touch of a finger.

Guns have their place in our society, and no one is trying to take guns away from individuals. But reasonable gun laws are necessary. Guns do not belong in any of our schools, from kindergarten to university. So please let your legislator know to vote no on HB 102. Your child’s life may depend on it.

— Gerry Browning, Polson

City sales tax will be detrimental

A resort tax for Polson was first proposed in 2009, when I ran for City Commission. I unearthed that Polson was initially denied but later given resort designation based on faulty analysis of manipulated data. I exposed those documents and facts on my campaign website. It was voted down by 84%.

Recently, I created polsonresorttax.info, a website that includes 2009 content and many new documents and current data.

The City Commission was prodded to propose it again in 2016. Acting responsibly, they refused. One of many reasons was that it would cause resentment toward exempt tribal members and tribal businesses.

In a legally botched procedure last summer, EDC rehashed a proposal to the City Commission. During the fall, ignoring all opposing concerns and abrogating facts, the City Commission plodded to put it on a Feb. 2 election.

The 2009 proposal was six months per year for 10 years. The current proposal is 12 months per year, for 20 years. Stakes raised to “double or nothing,” the city went all out to sell this immoral, illegal tax through public and private presentations, and expensive ads.

The city misled voters with obscure, conflicting estimates, concealed some critical info and failed to answer what specific street projects will be funded. Important issues got overlooked while people were distracted by endless details, like whether a 100-year-old chair is a taxable $10 antique or exempt $1,000 used furniture.

If this tax passes, simple events like sharing a meal with an exempt friend, sitting at the same table and splitting the bill, will become awkward experiences and eat at our placid coexistence. Especially after the recent insurrection attempt, when a split nation is trying to unite back, it will be a reckless mistake to split our own small community into “cowboys and indians”.

— Murat Kalinyaprak, Polson