Letter To The Editor

Protecting Montanans’ Freedoms

This last election cycle many Republicans campaigned and were elected on the promise to enhance freedom in Montana. This session, Republicans accomplished that mission. House Republicans continued to protect religious freedom in school settings, and passed HB 744, which allows students to discuss faith in school without fear of punishment. After all, our government funded education system exists for our students and they should be able to express their free speech. Freedoms of veterans were strengthened by passing HB 583, which creates licensing reciprocity for military members and spouses. Military families are mobile and now their Montana career opportunities are too. House Republicans defended Montana gun owners by passing SB 359, which bans financial institutions from tracking gun purchases. Tracking your 2nd Amendment purchases will no longer happen in Montana. Also, HB 584 was passed which bans the state from entering contracts with anti-gun businesses. The rights of property owners were enhanced by the passage of SB 159, which prohibits eminent domain for cultural or recreational purposes. Government at any level should never take your private property by force to install a running trail or bird sanctuary, eminent domain should be only an extreme measure taken for the most critical of infrastructure.

Education freedom took a monumental step forward this session. Montana families now have the option to utilize both open enrollment (HB 203) and partial enrollment (HB 396) and HB 393 provides Montana’s nearly 20,000 special education students and their families greater access to the individualized educational services they need. With the passage of HB 562, which authorizes the establishment of community choice charter schools, and HB 549, which authorizes the establishment of public charter schools, communities can choose the best options for their students and communities. Each of these bills is intended to let parents craft their child’s education to best fit their needs, and it was all accomplished while making one of the biggest investments in state history in public education.

One of the biggest accomplishments of the session was a record tax rebate and lowering the overall income tax rate for all tax paying Montanans. Republicans prioritized protecting Montanan’s personal income. It’s your money, you keep it. However, if you are one of small minority of Montanans that wanted state government to keep all the surplus, you can donate your rebate check at https://www.mt.gov/business/donations.aspx. As for the rest of us, your Republican House will keep fighting to provide essential state government on less of your money. Monetarily and ideologically House Republicans voted to enhance your individual freedoms.

Matt Regier, R-Kalispell, Montana House of Representatives speaker

Rhonda Knudsen, R-Culbertson, Montana House of Representatives speaker pro tempore

Sue Vinton, R-Billings, Montana House of Representatives majority leader


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