Letters to the editor March 7

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Against Evergreen Fire levy

I fully support the Evergreen Fire Department for fire protection, but I do not think it is financially responsible to build an ambulance service/QRU to compete with the ambulance services of Kalispell, Whitefish and Columbia Falls, which are all under 20 minutes away.

Nothing has been published relative to the cost of the salary and benefits of the fire chief and other paid staff. Why not?

The previous levy was for five years and now they want to extend the length of the levy to 10 years. Why the extension?

What this now means, if passed, is that over the next 10 years the cost to the taxpayers will be over $6.3 million. As the tax base increases with the new building and developments this figure will continue to grow even more. In the Evergreen community where the household income is likely to be less than $40,000 a year, how much can the community afford?

When it comes to taxpayers dollars, I am firmly against “kingdom building.” I have voted NO.

—Don Slaybaugh, Evergreen

Transmittal break

The 66th Montana Legislative Assembly has reached its midpoint known as transmittal. This is when general bills in the Senate and House have to be transmitted to the other chamber. It is the halfway point of the 90-day session. The general bills that were tabled in committee would require rule changes to advance so most likely are dead.

The following are some bills of interest to the Flathead Valley that were passed by the Senate and are on their way to the House for their approval.

Senate Bill 300 will prevent homeowners’ associations from imposing more onerous restrictions on a property owner’s basic rights than when the property owner acquired the property. It will prevent an HOA from changing the covenants after a person buys a house unless the owner wishes to have the changes.

SJ 12 is a joint resolution of the Senate and House supporting the payment of compensation to Montana for losses incurred and benefits realized downstream due to the construction of Libby Dam. The Kootenai River enters the U.S. by Eureka and flows by Libby and back into Canada by the Idaho border. Canada has been able to build generating facilities below Libby Dam because of the flood control that the dam provides. SJ 12 asks for compensation for flooding from Lake Koocanusa and for the economic benefit it provides to Canada.

Senate Bill 286 would prohibit an employer from requiring an employee to have a microchip implanted in the employee’s body as a condition of employment. Some companies use embedded microchips for security purposes. SB 286 would not allow that unless the employee consents.

Senate Bill 217 revises the taxation of Social Security benefits. It changes the exempt base amount to $30,000 for individuals filing a single or head of household income tax return, $60,000 for taxpayers filing a joint return and $30,000 for individuals with a married filing separate return. At full implementation, SB 217 would leave $21 million in seniors’ pockets.

The Senate is on transmittal break until March 7. Bills can be tracked through the legislative process at leg.mt.gov.

—Sen. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell

Aghast at Tester’s vote

Let me start this letter by saying that most of my life I would have been considered in the “pro-abortion” camp, believing in the rights of women to have control over her body and reproductive system. As a baby boomer, when Roe v Wade was passed, this was a victory for women and by golly, good for us ... never once did I think of the rights of the unborn child, and yes, a fetus is a child however you want to spin it. Pro-life people who stood in front of abortion clinics were nut jobs who didn’t get it — it is our right to get an abortion when we want it and unapologetically.

If you follow current events, you probably know that in February the Senate voted on the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act that would legislate the health-care profession to administer health care immediately to a child who survived abortion. That alone should be considered a miracle as modern medicine has become very efficient at the ending of pregnancies. When our very own senior senator from Montana, Jon Tester, voted against this bill, as well as every Democrat, save for three, in the Senate, I was aghast.

“This will be remembered as one of the most shocking votes in the history of Congress. If there is one thing we should all agree on, it’s protecting the live of innocent babies,” President Trump stated after this vote.

When I saw the March 2 paper, and how ironic it was in the obit section that there was a press release about the “40 days of life” campaign starting on March 6 in Whitefish as a peaceful protest, I made the decision to participate. This will be my first and I would encourage you to join. We have become a society of death and it’s time to change this.

Life is one of the greatest gifts of all and 2019 is shaping up to be one of the darkest in recent time. Educate yourself and pray hard for the little babies.

— Susan Taylor, Bigfork

Bill targets revenge porn

It’s frustrating to hear statistics like: 1 in 50 people will be victims of revenge porn within the general public and now suffer mental health implications. Of these people, many are also often ashamed or scared to come forward.

Victims of revenge porn often lose their jobs or find themselves unable to get a job as a result of this nonconsensual sharing of someone’s photos. House Bill 192 would be a tool to help stop the amount of people negatively affected by revenge porn and help protect Montanans.

It is imperative that we find a solution and support this bill as this law would protect victims and ensure justice would be served.

—Kayla Sheridan, Missoula

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