Category: Montana Economy


How some states are trying to get people back to work: offering new hires bonuses of up to $ 1,200



Connecticut, Oklahoma and Montana are suspending an offer to persuade unemployed workers receiving enhanced unemployment benefits during the pandemic to return to work pronto: cash bonuses for people returning to full-time employment.

Connecticut mentionned On Monday, it would award $ 1,000 to 10,000 unemployed workers who find full-time work and hold that job for at least eight weeks. Oklahoma, meanwhile, mentionned On Monday, it would offer bonuses of $ 1,200 to the first 20,000 currently unemployed workers who find full-time jobs and hold them for at least six weeks. Montana announced earlier this month a similar initiative that will offer a bonus of $ 1,200 to people who return to work for at least four weeks.

The efforts are part of a larger labor market debate as the U.S. economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants and other businesses that are now reopening say they have trouble finding workers to fulfill their open roles, while some conservative lawmakers have emphasized the disappointing job figures as proof that the extra $ 300 a week unemployment aid to help people get through the pandemic recession is keeping workers on the sidelines.

This prompted at least 19 Republican-led states to reduce additional unemployment assistance months before it expires in September, a move they say will help business owners who complain about not being able to find staff for vacant positions. Among those states are Oklahoma and Montana, which have added retention bonuses to mitigate the impact of the reduction in unemployment assistance, which ends June 26 for Oklahomans and June 27 for Montanans. .

“The biggest challenge facing Oklahoma businesses today is not reopening, it’s finding employees,” Gov. Kevin Stitt said in a statement on the new program.

Many economists and labor experts say the issue is more complicated than the added benefit of $ 300 in weekly unemployment assistance. About 4 million people said they were not in the workforce due to concerns about obtaining or spreading COVID-19, according to a census survey from April 14 to April 26.

Offering a bonus could help some workers transitioning from unemployment to working life, as there is often a gap between the end of unemployment benefits and a worker’s first paycheck, noted Andrew Stettner, an insurance expert. unemployment at the Century Foundation, liberal tendency. . But offering a bonus to people who already have a job does not help those who remain unemployed, he noted.

“I think it’s at best a supplement to unemployment benefits to help people make the transition to work,” Stettner said. “But as an alternative to unemployment, it’s a pretty cruel joke for people.”

Some workers may just bide their time until they find a job they want to do. And many families continued to be hampered by the lack of daycare and distance education, which made it more difficult for some parents – especially mothers – to return to full-time work.

“We have very generous UI right now and that means people have the ability to wait for the right job to come,” Leo Feler, senior economist at UCLA Anderson School of Management, told CBS Evening News . “Women have this greater responsibility when it comes to childcare and home schooling, which prevents them from going out and finding a job.”

Changes in the labor force

The workforce is also not what it was before the emergence of the novel coronavirus, according to a Bank of America report. It estimates that around 1.2 million people over the age of 65 have retired during the pandemic, while 140,000 other workers have died from COVID-19. Another 700,000 people have left the workforce due to a skills mismatch – meaning they lack the education or skills that employers now want in their new hires, the economist Joseph Song.

Song estimates that around 1 million people are not in the labor market due to the extra unemployment assistance, possibly low-wage workers who receive more unemployment than they did at the old job. The bottom line, he said, is that many of those workers will likely return to work when unemployment benefits expire in September.

The question now is whether the allure of a one-time bonus will convince people who have concerns about COVID-19, or who have childcare issues, to return to work. Connecticut said its bonus was aimed at helping longest unemployed people find jobs by helping cover the costs of finding and starting a new job. The state has not ended the additional weekly unemployment benefits of $ 300 paid by the federal government.

“This pandemic has disproportionately hit women, people of color and working poor, and it happened almost overnight,” Connecticut Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby said in a statement. .



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John Kass: Employers beg workers: “It’s the economy, stupid” | Notice



Have you ever wondered what happens to flat earthers?

Not all of them spend their days eating pudding from plastic spoons and revisiting old sitcoms – or as fabulists hanging at the end of the bar, bragging about their heroic exploits until it closes.

Some become president of the United States.

Or they find power in President Joe Biden’s administration and join him in enlightening the country on this dismal April jobs report as businesses struggle to come out of these government shutdowns in the event of a pandemic.

With so many Americans now vaccinated, economists predicted that about 1 million more Americans would find jobs, but only 266,000 jobs were added to the economy. According to Biden, this has nothing to do with the generous federal unemployment benefits that are expected to last until September, in addition to state unemployment benefits.

According to Team Biden, this has nothing to do with the federal government (i.e. taxpayers) paying workers to sit on their couches, watch Netflix, and collect unemployment checks, even though small business owners across the country are on their knees begging workers to come back now that many are vaccinated and the pandemic is drawing to a close.

“I know there has been a lot of talk since Friday’s report that people are being paid to stay home rather than go to work,” Biden said after the April jobs report was released. been made public. “Well, we don’t see much evidence of that.”

To see evidence, you have to open your eyes. Just like if you want a job, you have to take one.

The National Federation of Independent Business says a record 44% of all small business owners have vacancies they can’t fill. And according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, in some states, workers can perceive unemployment for up to 46 weeks.

The United States Chamber of Commerce wants to end these additional government payments because they make people stay home.

And on top of the trillions already spent, Biden wants to spend trillions more. Will it lead to a workless utopia or inflationary disaster in the long run?

I don’t blame the workers. People make decisions based on what is offered to them. If the government pays them not to work, many will not work. Not all of them want to become entrepreneurs or work overtime and be promoted. Some just get by. And the government is currently facilitating this task.

Jason Webb, owner of GD Ritzy’s, a restaurant in Huntington, West Virginia, was forced to put up a sign: “MISSING – JOB SEEKERS.” IF FOUND, BRING INSIDE. “

“I feel like I’m competing with the improved unemployment benefits and the stimulus,” Webb told the Herald-Dispatch. “It’s hard to find workers when they can earn so much without working.”

The other morning I stopped by for breakfast with some Chicago business owners, including restaurant guys, who said the same thing.

“I don’t think Joe Biden ever had a job,” said my friend Jimmy Banakis. “Has he ever had a job or run a business?”

Before Biden spent his life as a politician, he was briefly a public defender, gaining little fame for successfully defending an accused cow thief. But he really liked to talk about being a lifeguard. During his presidential campaign, he told stories in the United States of which he was the hero, all about his leg hair turning blond in the sun and his epic showdown with the iconic “Corn Pop”.

He’s good at stories. But the one on how generous unemployment benefits don’t stop people from working didn’t have legs, hairy or otherwise. Biden’s managers got it, so they reshaped the message.

“In order to receive any kind of unemployment benefit, claimants must be available and actively looking for work, and workers are not allowed to refuse suitable work and continue to receive benefits,” said Jen Psaki, her Press officer.

OK, Jen, but it’s just talking. Fraud in the unemployment system increased sharply during the pandemic. Biden and the Democrats want to make it last even longer.

For example, in the locked blue state of Illinois, with Democrats in full control and small businesses collapsing or leaking, the Illinois Department of Job Security is an absolute disaster. And, like Biden, Democratic Governor JB Pritzker doesn’t seem to want to open his eyes to see his wonders.

Biden’s labor secretary Marty Walsh says there is no simple answer to the April jobs report. He mentioned two barriers that prevent people from working: closed schools and the lack of childcare options.

When the people of Biden speak this way, do reporters ever mention to Walsh and others that the country’s powerful teacher unions – which contribute powerfully to Democratic candidates – have been pushing for schools to be closed and that have the Democrats welcomed them?

Most don’t talk about it. They just let it sit there.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is pushing to end the distribution of federal unemployment benefits to get his state back to work. Florida joins other Republican-leaning states such as Alabama, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, South Carolina, and Arkansas.

But not in Democratic-led states where politics revolve around taxpayer-funded government benefits and programs.

Understandably, the Democratic Party and its media maids would much prefer Americans to think of something else, like the Republican Party’s feud with the left-wing iconic new hero, the American Republican Liz Cheney, the anti-Trump Republican of Wyoming.

Years ago, a moderate pro-business Democrat (remember that now extinct species?) Made a startling statement: There was something that mattered more to Americans than politicians who talked about politics:

It’s the economy, stupid.

John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of The Argus Observer.



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Texas, Indiana and Oklahoma join states cutting unemployment benefits amid pandemic.



Texas, Indiana and Oklahoma this week joined the growing number of states withdrawing from federal unemployment benefits linked to the pandemic.

Backed by Republican governors and lawmakers as well as national and state chambers of commerce, the decision will eliminate the temporary supplement of $ 300 per week that unemployment beneficiaries received and end benefits for freelancers, time workers. partial and those who have been unemployed. for more than six months.

In Wisconsin, where the governor is a Democrat, Republicans in the Assembly and Senate have introduced legislation to end turnout.

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Caroline from the south, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming also plan to end federal unemployment benefits, starting in June or early July.

“The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring in communities across the state,” Governor Greg Abbott said in a press release. “According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of job postings in Texas is almost the same as the number of Texans receiving unemployment benefits.”

The measures will affect more than 3.4 million people in the 21 states, according to a calculation by Oxford Economics, a forecasting and analysis company. Of those workers, 2.5 million currently unemployed would lose their benefits altogether, he said.

Although business owners and executives have complained that unemployment benefits discourage people from responding to sought-after ads, the evidence is mixed. Vaccination rates are increasing but less than half of adults are fully vaccinated. In surveys, people have mentioned the persistent fear of infection. The lack of child care has also prevented many parents from returning to work full time.

Arizona, Montana and Oklahoma offer new hire workers an incentive bonus.

Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut, a Democrat, said this week that his state offer bonuses of $ 1,000 to 10,000 workers who have experienced long-term unemployment and are getting new jobs. His state is not abandoning federal benefits.



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19-state GAs urge Biden to reinstate Keystone after pipeline hack



A coalition of 19 states has urged President Joe Biden to restore the Keystone XL pipeline and reverse its energy policy due to recent gas shortages.

Gas shortages along the East Coast caused by a cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline prove the need for reliable gas pipelines in the United States, wrote the 19-state coalition of attorneys general led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen. in one letter in Biden on Monday.

The United States needs better energy infrastructure if a gas pipeline closure results in such extreme spikes in prices and lines to gas stations, state attorneys general have said.

“A temporary halt to full-capacity pipeline operations shouldn’t put half the country on the brink,” the coalition of states wrote to Biden. “We need safer and cleaner sources of energy. And that includes the Keystone XL pipeline. “

Biden revoked the federal Keystone XL pipeline license hours after it was sworn in on Jan.20. The White House explained that the United States would focus on developing a “clean energy economy” instead of installing gas pipelines.

But, the letter noted that the Biden administration had taken several emergency measures last week to secure the supply chain and alleviate gas shortages in response to the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack.

For example, the administration allowed tankers to carry overweight loads of gasoline on the highway in 10 states and waived environmental regulations preventing sufficient gas from being transported in certain areas, according to a White House. . declaration.

If Biden was willing to take action to save the colonial pipeline, he shouldn’t nix the Keystone pipeline either, the attorneys general argued.

“Most Americans, especially those not located along the coasts, now wish you had been so diligent and responsive before deciding that Keystone XL could be sacrificed on the altar of left-wing virtue signaling. They wrote to Biden.

“Maybe one day, later, we’ll get the utopian energy profile you desire,” the letter reads. “But until then, Americans want practical and effective leadership – not visionary deprivation.”

The administration of former President Barack Obama, of which Biden was a member, had also repeatedly determined that the Keystone pipeline was a net positive for the economy, the environment and energy security, Knudsen and other prosecutors said. generals.

The colonial pipeline resumption of operations Wednesday after the cyberattack, which was led by a foreign hacking group, causing its operations to stop for several days.

The nationwide average price of gasoline is $ 3.05 per gallon as of Monday, according to AAA. The average price in 2020 over the same period was $ 1.87 per gallon.

In March, Knudsen and 20 other state attorneys general sued the Biden administration for the revocation of the Keystone pipeline, alleging it was unconstitutional. States have deposited many further lawsuits against Biden for his energy policies.

“To be clear, we believe your Keystone XL decision was unconstitutional and illegal, and many of the undersigned states are currently lobbying these claims in federal court,” the letter reads. “But beyond the fundamental anarchy of your decision, the current situation shows just how bad a political decision it was.”

“Your impulse to bow to an extreme climate program unrelated to scientific fact or reality – demonstrated by the cancellation of Keystone XL and other similar actions – robs Americans of the safe and clean energy supply they have. need now, “according to the letter.

The Attorneys General of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Dakota North, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming joined the Montana attorney general in signing the letter on Monday.

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An Eastern Montana Perspective on the Legislative Session



We spent time in Miles City, MT this past weekend for the famous Buckin Horse Sale. Friday morning, just before the live radio show started, I went to The Ugly Mug cafe for a cup of Joe and bumped into Rep Ken Holmlund (R-Miles City). What a great opportunity to involve eastern Montana in the legislative session.

First off, what a difference it makes to have a governor in Helena who travels regularly to eastern Montana:

Holmlund: “This was a session that we were working for, for six sessions, six years, three sessions, because we had a lot of bills that were really good and good for the state of Montana, and not really bring- them all the way to the finish line. And this year we were able to get a lot of them. I had three myself that had been vetoed several times regarding conservation districts, and very important fact for eastern Montana. “

Holmlund also spoke of some of the other bills that have crossed the finish line, such as “the city’s wage distribution bill in effect”.

On top of that, Holmlund pointed out that Miles City native Kurt Alme served as budget manager and had a huge impact on the legislative session. Alme was able to get started in the race thanks to his vast experience in public and private sector services. Alme is a former director of the Department of Revenue and a former U.S. prosecutor under President Trump.

Representative Holmlund tells us that the legislature has left about 10 days available in case they need to be called back to session. He says there are a few topics that might bring them back to the session, including how Montana will spend American Rescue Plan Act federal dollars.

Click below for the full audio:

WATCH: Here are the best small towns to live across America



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The Democratic Senate problem in 2024



Democrats can possibly hold some, most, or all of those seats, of course. Tester, Brown, Casey and Manchin, for example, have shown their ability to attract white working class voters and win in a tough environment.

But Democrats who won contests in the 2018 midterm did so with a controversial Republican in the White House. Can they occupy their seat during a recession or with an unpopular Democratic president seeking (or not seeking) re-election?

Barring dramatic changes in state party preferences over the next several years, Republicans will likely only defend one or two competitive Senate seats in 2024 – Florida (Rick Scott) and, perhaps, Texas (Ted Cruz).

The Senate class partisan roster of 2024 dates back to 2006, when the GOP lost a net six Senate seats in President George W. Bush’s second midterm election. This wave of Democratic partisan created an extremely unbalanced class that continues to this day.

As the 2006 election approached, Democrats were defending 18 Senate seats (including that of Vermont independent Jim Jeffords) against 15 in the GOP. But the Republican Senate lost to Missouri (Jim Talent), Montana (Conrad Burns), Ohio (Mike DeWine), Pennsylvania (Rick Santorum), Rhode Island (Lincoln Chafee) and Virginia (George Allen) produced a Senate class that consisted of just nine Republicans and 24 Democrats, including two independents who met with them, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.



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Q2 Montana This Morning Top stories with Victoria Hill 5-18-21



The week

Kevin McCarthy, Trump scramble to quash GOP support for bipartisan Jan 6 commission

On Wednesday, the House will likely approve the formation of an independent commission to investigate the Jan.6 siege of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump. The fate of the Senate committee hinges on whether 10 Republicans support bipartisan legislation, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Surprised many observers on Tuesday by leaving the door open in support of the commission. Minority House Leader Kevin McCarthy spent Tuesday scrambling to keep the number of Republicans voting yes to an absolute minimum on Wednesday. He declared his own opposition earlier today, “raising a few eyebrows at the GOP conference after Democrats conceded McCarthy on nearly all of his major demands on the committee,” reported the Washington Post. On Tuesday evening, he formally urged his GOP colleagues to vote no, Politico said, but “a last-minute revival of GOP interest” in the committee dashed his hopes for party unity. “The genie is out of the bottle, and people are trying to put it back,” a GOP lawmaker told Politico. McCarthy had deputized for Rep. John Katko (RN.Y.), the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, to negotiate a bill on his behalf, and his willingness to defeat the Katko deal. ” upset several members, who feel that McCarthy hanged Katko to dry out and now feel even more inclined to rally around Katko and his commission proposal, ”Politico reports.“ In a sign of momentum, the bipartisan Resolution Caucus issues the House, of which Katko is a member, officially voted in favor of the bill on Tuesday night. “On the other hand, Trump, who does not want an investigation into his own actions on Jan.6 and before Jan.6 January, criticized the legislation in a blog post on Tuesday, possibly tipping other uncertain House Republicans into the no-go camp. McCarthy’s opposition is seen as personal – he could be called as a witness in the event. ‘a phone call before ec Trump during the riot – and political, because he needs the support of anti-commission conservatives, and possibly Trump, to maintain his leadership position. A big bipartisan vote in the House would both increase the chances of passing the Senate and anger Trump. The threat of civil war did not end with presidency Trump Biden was able to test Ford’s electric F-150 Lightning, and the Israel-Gaza flight was not going to spoil his driving



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It is not yet time to end unemployment supplements: Beshear



FRANKFURT, Ky. (WTVQ / CNET / AP)Some Kentucky lawmakers are urging Gov. Andy Beshear to join a growing number of states in canceling the $ 300 weekly UI supplement to force people back into the workforce and accept jobs.

So far, the state has tried using a job search reporting requirement to get people to start taking jobs, but companies say it may not be working fast enough.

Governor Beshear has said removing additional federal payments to unemployed Kentucky now will hurt the state’s economy as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. But, he says he’s ready to consider ending the $ 300 weekly federal unemployment benefit.

Beshear says he’s trying to “spin the needle” of sustaining federal improvements that inject money into the economy while encouraging people to return to work as the economy reopens.

Republican US Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has said governors “must take matters into their own hands and turn off” what he calls “extra-generous benefits.”

Much of the extra money is spent in grocery stores and other retail businesses, the governor said.

“The immediate termination of these additional benefits would hurt our economy and hurt many groups – restaurants and others – who have suffered during this pandemic,” Beshear said. “It would put a shock to our system and it could threaten the way our recovery is going.”

Governors are in a hurry on the extra benefits as companies say they can’t find people to fill the openings they have to keep up with the rapidly strengthening economic rebound. Some states will stop providing the additional federal improvement.

Many people blame the benefits of the pandemic, including the additional federal payment on top of state benefits, for the difficulties businesses have in filling jobs. They argue that people make more money staying home than going back to work. The challenge was highlighted recently when employers across the country created far fewer jobs than expected at a time when job opportunities have skyrocketed.

In a speech in the Senate on Monday, McConnell lamented that “a record number of small businesses are reporting vacancies they cannot fill.” He said governors across the country “must take matters into their own hands and turn off these extremely generous benefits.”

The Kentucky Republican blamed Congressional Democrats who “insisted on continuing to pay people more so they don’t work.”

“The policies we needed in March 2020 are not the policies we need in May 2021,” McConnell said. “It was obvious to Republicans, economists, and the American people.”

Critics of the end of the federal benefit say workers have multiple reasons they might not return to the workforce, such as women who quit their jobs during the pandemic to care for children.

Kentucky reported a preliminary unemployment rate of 5% for March of this year, down slightly from the previous month and better than the national unemployment rate of 6% in March.

Beshear predicted on Monday that some of the labor shortages “would resolve on their own.” Many Kentuckians are getting their full COVID-19 vaccine and will return to work, the governor said. Overall, 54% of adults in Kentuck have received at least one dose of the vaccine, although the percentages are lower in young adults, he said.

The governor said extra unemployment assistance should not be turned into a partisan issue.

“It looks like everything is now falling into the red or the blue or the politics of it,” he said. “In the same way that we have tried to use science to fight this pandemic, we want to be smart to thread the needle the right way on the economy.”

So far, 19 states – Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming – have said they will end the benefit early, either in June or July, depending on the state.

The additional $ 300 per week from the federal government is expected to last until September 6 – Labor Day.

“These benefits were intended to keep Kentuckians afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, they are contributing to a massive labor shortage that continues to hurt already struggling businesses. Unless something is done, there will be no jobs to be found either, ”the Chairman of the House Economic Development and Workforce Investment Committee said on Monday, Russell Webber.

“States in our country are announcing plans to get rid of pandemic needs, vaccines are widely available and life is getting back to normal. However, Kentucky companies face a different reality as they struggle to find employees, ”added Webber.

“We will not realize our potential with a participation rate of 56%. The people of Kentucky are hardworking, proud, and deserve to be able to improve their lives. The average weekly benefit works out to over $ 15 an hour for a 40-hour workweek, which leaves unemployed Kentuckians with no desire to return to work, ”noted Phillip Pratt, chairman of the Small Business and Business Committee. information technology, Georgetown.

“Without ending the Federal Unemployment Grant, not only will Kentucky businesses and employers face even greater hardships, but we will witness a failed Kentucky reopening and a hand development problem.” -work in the long term, ”he added, noting the state. 48th rowe in workforce participation.

According to the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the state has more than 100,000 vacant jobs. To find a list of employers who are hiring, visit https://www.kychamber.com/whoshiring.

Several states are also ending pandemic unemployment assistance for the long-term unemployed and the self-employed, such as freelancers and on-demand workers.

Citing labor shortages, state governors say better unemployment coverage discourages workers from accepting jobs. Some economists and analysts disagree, noting several factors prevent people from finding suitable work, including lack of childcare and fear of contracting coronavirus.

The United States Chamber of Commerce called for an end to the weekly federal bonus of $ 300.

President Joe Biden’s administration is working with states to enforce work requirements.

“We will clarify that anyone affected by unemployment who is offered a suitable job must accept the position or lose their unemployment benefits”, Biden said. “It’s the law.

According to the Ministry of Labor, if you refuse a suitable job, you may be refused unemployment benefits: “You must be able, ready and willing to accept a suitable job”, according to a departmental FAQ. The New York Times reported that the Biden administration has asked the Department of Labor to work with states to ensure that the unemployed cannot continue to receive benefits if they turn down a suitable job offer.

While unemployment rates are lower than they were last year at the start of the pandemic, in April some 16 million Americans were still receiving some kind of unemployment assistance. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than one in four unemployed Americans has been without unemployment for more than a year.

In 2020, as part of the CARES Law, the unemployed were entitled to a supplement of $ 600 per week until the end of last July. Weekly bonuses resumed with the December relief program of last year, but for half the amount, $ 300.





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Legislature Expanded Educational Opportunities For All Montana Families | Chroniclers



Other bills that complement House Bill 246 include Senate Bill 109, which requires public schools to offer gifted and talented programs, Senate Bill 22 to boost funding Career and Technical Student Organizations House Bill 252 which provides tax credits for employers for career and technical education House Bill 556 to provide alternative means of obtaining a high school diploma.

All of these expanded flexibilities for schools and families will strengthen our public education system. However, families should not be denied access to an education that meets their needs because of financial barriers. The legislature also broadened educational choices by making non-public education more accessible to low-income families.

House Bill 279 increased the tax credit for donations to scholarship-granting organizations which, in turn, provide tuition scholarships in private schools to low- and middle-income families who otherwise , could not access a non-public school. House Bill 129 allows families to use education savings accounts for K-12 expenses, as opposed to just college expenses.

Finally, we began to address the teacher shortage in Montana by passing Bill 143, which calls for increased starting salaries for teachers. Teacher compensation varies from district to district and is based on local resources and union negotiations. However, the state has increased some matching funds that districts can request to supplement teachers’ starting salaries. Other laws have also been passed to reinforce the “grow your own” models in Montana teacher preparation programs at our colleges.



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Wind River Tribes Consider Legalizing Marijuana | Economy and work



CASPER – The Eastern Shoshone General Council met at Rocky Mountain Hall in Fort Washakie on Saturday to vote on legalizing medical marijuana on the Wind River reservation, but did not meet a quorum. Still, several resolutions have been passed – the resolutions are law on reserve – including the power to move forward with a medical marijuana commission to regulate, supervise and operate owned grow and extract facilities. to tribes for cannabis-related products under the Fort Bridger Treaties of 1863 and 1868.

Meanwhile, the northern Arapaho tribe voted last weekend to decriminalize marijuana.

The East Shoshone General Council will meet again on June 12 to complete the voting process on whether to decriminalize and legalize medical marijuana on the reserve. A special General Council meeting will also be held on July 24, where General Council members can resume the process without having to start over. The General Council is made up of all the adult members of the tribe, while the Business Council is made up of elected representatives.

“We are looking for potential tribal members who could be part of the cannabis commission,” said Bobbi Shongutsie, member of the Eastern Shoshone tribe and advocate for medical marijuana. “We have tribal law-educated members and (interested) paralegals joining the commission.”

Almost all of the East Shoshone Business Council members voted against resolutions passed by the General Council on Saturday, according to Shongutsie. The only resolution the business council agreed to was that no council member, past or present, could sit on the medical cannabis commission.

“It’s OK because these six don’t determine what happens to our tribe,” Shongutsie said. “This is the (decision) of our entire General Council – the quorum of 75 and over.”

Shongutsie said there were exactly 75 people when the quorum was first counted at 10:35 am; members of the tribe were arriving slowly due to COVID-19 procedures. She suspects there were around 90 at some point during the meeting. It was at this time that the tribe was able to pass its resolutions.

Yet as the day went on, the tribe members slowly left the meeting. Shongutsie knew that two graduation ceremonies were taking place around the same time as the General Council meeting and personally knew a few people who could not attend due to the ceremonies.

On Thursday, a public information hearing was held at Rocky Mountain Hall.

Austin Hill, a member of the Shongutsie and Eastern Shoshone tribe, hosted the forum, which attracted around 40 people and had presentations from Angel Consultants, Hugelrado Farms, Newe Cannabis, Medical Secrets and legal representation from Leaf Legal PC.

While there was some skepticism at the event – attended by only one member of the Eastern Shoshone Business Council, Mike Ute – one thing was evident by the end of the meeting: Legalization of medical cannabis could be an issue. huge economic windfall for the Wind River reserve.

“Our casino owes us $ 50 million in debt,” Shongutsie said Thursday. “(Somewhere) around this. In addition, it has been closed for over a year. We need the income. “

Elaine Weed, who is Eastern Shoshone, attended the public forum and is hopeful that medical cannabis could help generate income for the Eastern Shoshone.

It can help “preserve our language and culture,” Weed said, “and help with the Shoshone Museum and the Hot Springs, where the funding has gone.”

Job Eagle, a descendant of Eastern Shoshone, said he hopes medical marijuana funds can bring back larger powwows and public events he remembers attending as a child.

The northern Arapaho tribe decriminalized medical cannabis on May 8 after meeting a quorum of 150 people. Still, Jordan Dresser, chairman of the Northern Arapaho Business Council, expects the process to move slowly. According to Wind River Radio Network, he said the process could take some time.

Ute, a member of the East Shoshone Business Council, said he sees a few issues ahead – namely the Shoshone and Arapaho Law and Order Code, which states that the two tribes on the reservation of Wind River must vote to change the code. Although, after members of the Northern Arapaho Business Council withdrew from the Joint Business Council in 2014, some Eastern Shoshone believe that the Northern Arapaho are no longer supported by the Fort Bridger Treaties. of 1863 and 1868.

Last year, members of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe braced for a potential vote on legalizing medical marijuana on the Wind River Reservation, but COVID-19 devastated the reservation and put an end to public gatherings.

A group called So-go-Beah Naht-Su, “mother earth and medicine” in Shoshone, has advocated for the economic and medical benefits of hemp, CBD and medical marijuana to leaders and members of the tribe of the Eastern Shoshone for a few years. Now the group and its supporters can move forward with the creation of a commission.

“It’s not just members of the Shoshone tribe who are interested; it’s the whole community, ”Shongutsie said.

Wyoming is increasingly surrounded by states that have legalized marijuana to some extent. Last year, residents of Montana and South Dakota voted to legalize, though South Dakota’s decision remains stuck in court. Colorado is approaching a decade of legalization.



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