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Sen. Driscoll to Receive 2015 Health Advocate for Compassionate Leadership Award

Tonight, Planned Parenthood of Montana is hosting an event featuring entertainment by Katie Goodman’s Broad Comedy. That even is tonight, March 5, in the Helena Great Northern Hotel Ballroom.

As a special highlight, Planned Parenthood will present the 2015 Health Advocate for Compassionate Leadership Award to Montana Senator Robyn Driscoll, honoring her exemplary support and service promoting health care in Montana. Sen. Driscoll is a fantastic legislator and this award is well-deserved. Last year, former Helena legislator Christine Kaufmann was presented the first annual award.

The event will run from 6-9pm and will include a no-host bar and hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, door prizes and a raffle. Individual tickets are available in advance by calling 406-422-1249 or at the door for $50. Student tickets are $20 (with student ID). Seating is first come/first served, but reserved tables of eight are available for $500.

Based in Bozeman, the nationally known Broad Comedy group is head-lined by Katie Goodman. Nominated for an EPIC Emerging Artists Award from The White House Project for changing the perceptions of women in the culture, Broad Comedy is full of energy, musical talent and wit. Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes describes them as, “feisty Broads,” who “attack the funny bone and skewer society with satire and song.” Playwright, performer and activist Eve Ensler calls the group “Fierce, female, fabulous and funny!”

As a leading women’s health care provider in the state, Planned Parenthood of Montana works every day to reduce unintended pregnancy and keep women healthy. An affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, PPMT operates health centers in Billings, Great Falls, Helena, and Missoula, as well as 4 rural, satellite locations across Montana. Planned Parenthood of Montana is the largest provider of family planning services in the state, providing reproductive health care on a sliding fee scale and responsible, comprehensive sexuality education to nearly 16,000 Montanans every year.

For more information about Broad Comedy, please go to:  www.katiegoodman.com. For more information about Planned Parenthood of Montana, go to: www.plannedparenthood.org/montana .

 

Four Pinnocchios for Wittich on Child Support Claim

TEA Party Republican Art Wittich claims that he supports child support enforcement as a way to help families in need, but his voting record shows otherwise.

Dan Brooks wrote at the Missoula Independent recently that:

 

In January, Sen. Art Wittich, R–Belgrade, subpoenaed welfare workers to share anecdotes about fraud before the Health and Human Services Committee. Weeks later, Rep. Tom Burnett, R–Bozeman, told colleagues on his own HHS committee that welfare recipients need to go to church and eat “with others, at a table, not on the couch.” Shortly thereafter, the House passed HB 200, requiring people who receive federally funded Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, to take monthly drug tests.

Clearly, Republicans in Helena believe we’re spending too much money on welfare. But if they’re serious about getting people off government assistance, they should look for better ways to enforce child support.

TEA Party Republican Art Wittich said he agreed.  He tweeted that:

“Our focus wasn’t on welfare Moms, but DPHHS management and reform. We should look into Deadbeat Dads too.”

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But what Wittich is hoping none of us find out is that he and 22 of his fellow TEA partiers actually voted to end Montana’s child support program entirely. On March 21, and 23, they voted against HB 227.  Testimony on that bill from the house floor and in committee included the fact that this bill,  if not passed, would end Montana’s entire child support and Temporary Aid for Needy Families programs.  The bill adopts an agreement for international child support enforcement which all states must pass in order to get child support and TANF funds.

Earlier this session, Wittich subpoenaed a hand-picked trio of OPA workers to rail against medicaid expansion and other help for Montanans in need. In an email to lawmakers before the hearing, those workers were caught using an analogy which references the people they were paid to help as “wild animals” and liars.  This is shameful and repulsive.  As Intelligent Discontent writes, given this email has come to light “presumably [Wittich, Ehli, Burnett and crew] were aware of her attitude and lack of evidence—and they chose to present this farce to the people of Montana in order to gin up a controversy about fraud in public assistance programs.”

At the “hearings” in which Ms. Brown and a couple of other Libby public assistance workers were brought in to denigrate Montana’s most vulnerable citizens, no members of the public were allowed to speak, nor was any requirement made that these individuals verify any of the claims they made.  The “hearings” spectacle did serve one purpose: it exposed the motives and true beliefs of Wittich, Ehli and Burnett.

 

 

Montana Astroturf Strategy Backfires on Koch Brothers

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This was a bad week for the Koch Brothers in Montana.

Their astroturf “group,” Americans for Prosperity, is fighting Medicaid Expansion.  That’s right–the Koch Brothers, who are worth $50 Billion – each,  are trying to ensure that someone who makes $15,000 is not able to afford health insurance or medical care.

Zach Lahn, a young GOP operative who was once a Steve Daines campaign aide, is now the head of AFP’s Montana chapter.   Lahn has thus been targeting pro-Medicaid Republican legislators, sending mailers comparing them to Obama, demanding that they sign anti-Medicaid “pledges,” and showing up in a suit holding astroturf “town meetings” in their districts designed to intimidate them.

None of it is working, and the town hall meetings have blown up altogether.  In Dillon this weekend, the legislator being targeted, Rep. Jeff Wellborn (R-Dillon, actually showed up like an adult at the AFP meeting and naturally wanted to speak.  Lahn would not allow him to.  Wellborn walked out, as did a number of attendees.  You can see a video of this on the Great Falls Tribune website here-- the crowd was not pleased with AFP’s action.

Rep. Frank Garner (R-Kalispell), the former police chief and now a pro-Medicaid Republican legislator from Kalispell, drove eight hours to be at the town hall meeting in his district this weekend and muscled his way to the podium.   That meeting, too, blew up in Lahn’s face.   A Flathead Beacon reporter covered the event:  You can also see some of the Flathead Beacon’s video coverage on the Great Falls Tribune site.

Garner’s mere presence had a chilling effect on the AFP presentation, which was frequently derailed by laughter, booing and shouting from audience members who overwhelmingly expressed support for Garner.

Following a hasty exchange with AFP State Director Zach Lahn minutes before Thursday’s meeting commenced, Garner took the podium to defend his record before the crowd of mostly supporters, who cheered the lawmaker on.

“I promised the people here when I ran that I would listen to you and not out-of-town special interests,” Garner said to raucous applause. “If every time they want me to sign a pledge card and I don’t do it they are going to rent a room and have a meeting, then this is going to get real expensive. Cause I’m not signing the pledge card.”

This is an example of a Tea Party event gone terribly wrong.  And it indicates to me that the Medicaid expansion battle will likely be won.  The moderates will break away and support some version of the Governor’s proposal.

This debacle in Kalispell (which played out in several other districts as well) is part of a larger emerging trend in the country in which classic Tea Party hooligan tactics are not working out like they used to.  A few years back, Tea Party town hall meetings were places where a moderate Republican would overwhelmed by a Tea Party mob.  Now the opposite is happening. This means that the Tea Party is in retreat. Even AFP’s own employees know how terrible their reputation is.

afp

Perhaps the person who has best summed this all up is GOP Sen. Llew Jones, who penned an op-ed in the Fairfield Sun Times today:

Irrespective of your stance on this, or any issue, these intruders need to get out of Montana politics.   I know that I now consider any issue or individual that AFP advocates for or against as highly suspect.   To me these folks are on the same level as the predator who called my 89 year old mother last week, pretending to be her Grandson, supposedly trapped in a “bad situation” in New York, desperately needing her help, which was defined as $900.00 on her credit card.  “Please Grandma, don’t tell anyone…..!!”   How despicable.. It took my son calling, and me talking to her, to finally calm her down, but she is still very upset and confused.

Predators: get out of Montana, we do not want you here.  We can take care of our own.

The problem AFP is running into is that these districts have rural hospitals that need the medicaid expansion because they currently provide health services to poor people who can’t pay the bills.  Plus Medicaid expansion helps all Montanans – without it, we are all are subsidizing the cost of the uninsured through our insurance bills.  So while Lahn and his pals are making angry speeches at these Munich Beer Hall-type gatherings, Governor Bullock and Lt. Governor McClean are touring the hospital down the street, meeting with workers and even the Republican legislators being targeted, and getting the majority of the community behind them, such as chambers of commerce, as well as local media such as editorial boards. The major newspapers have all turned against AFP and are supporting Medicaid expansion, as has the Montana Chamber of Commerce.

It might seem natural for Steve Bullock to be supporting this but keep in mind that he has taken on a herculean task.  Bullock stands alone as the only Democratic Governor in America who both presides over a Red state and is actively pushing Medicaid expansion.

 

This is Hypocrisy, Plain and Simple

Media coverage of TEA Party Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen’s response to Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s Healthy Montana Plan has failed to explain that Knudsen’s family farm has benefited from large government subsidies, despite highlighting his upbringing on his family farm and ranch and calls to cut government spending.

Rep. Austin Knudsen (R-TEA-Culbertson) is one of the largest beneficiaries of federal farm subsidy payments– $705,941.00 from 1995-2009 in farm subsidy program payments.  And he’s not alone.  Knudsen has said the following:

“The governor’s budget shoots the moon and is everything. We’re going to want to pare it back.”

“Like most Montanans, I was raised not to spend outside my budget. I want to see to it that Helena does the same, because Helena, like Washington D.C., has a spending problem.”

“Republicans are concerned about federal funding.”

“Excessive taxes and government spending in Montana is another primary concern.” *

“All state programs need reduction, across the board.”**

Knudsen himself receives health coverage paid for by Montana taxpayers–from a “third party administered” plan for state lawmakers just like the Healthy Montana Plan–except that Knuden’s plan is more costly than the plan that will cover the working poor.

He’s also been caught lying about Medicaid expansion – he told the Wolf Point Herald that  that “eventually Montana will have to pay for this entire bill” for Medicaid expansion, when in reality, federal law requires the federal government 100% for the first two more years—but never less than 90% of the costs.  That means for every dollar Montana puts in, the feds put in nine dollars.

Knudsen has not spoken out against other federally funded program in Montana.  From energy to telecommunications, roads, defense contracts, law enforcement, national parks, airports, hospitals and local clinics–all are supported by federal payments.

*Sidney Herald, March 12, 2010, http://www.sidneyherald.com/articles/2010/03/12/news/montana/doc4b9abbd4a4d19825926080.txt.
**Billings Gazette, Know Your Candidates Profile, http://billingsgazette.com/app/candidates/all/2010/?area=daniels.

Top Ten Good Ideas Both Parties Can Support in the 2015 Legislature

The 2015 legislative session begins Monday, January 5th. Instead of looking backward at memorable events of the past year, let’s look forward with the Cowgirl Blog’s countdown of ten good ideas that members of both parties can support this year.

They are:

  1. Create an 80 MPH speed limit at various places on the interstate, where it’s straight and clear. Nothing wrong with this idea if it’s done right. Automobile technology has moved ahead leaps and bounds, and driving 80 or 85 is not what it use to be. And while it’s true that there might be a few more casualties, that same argument (that an increase in speed equals more fatalities) could just as easily be used to defend setting the speed limit at 55. In other words, Montanans are tend to be in favor of trading a small amount of safety for  a lot of freedom. It’s not right or wrong, it’s just the way of the West. One such proposal LC0768 is sponsored by Rep. Mike Miller (R-Helmville).
  2. Reform the Board of Pardons and Parole. Last week saw Gov. Steve Bullock give the boot to Mike McKee, who wanted to be reappointed as Chair of the BOPP even though his legacy is that he made sure that people were locked up and that the key was thrown away. Earlier this year Bullock publicly stated his desire to commute Barry Beach’s sentence so that he could be eligible for parole. McKee stacked the ­person panel hearing Beach’s case with hearings officers that were anti-Beach, thus assuring that Bullock would not get a chance to issue clemency. Conservatives and liberals can both agree that the Constitution grants the power of clemency to the governor and in such cases he should be able to exercise it without the interference of an unpaid bureaucrat. And after all, in the very unlikely scenario that something goes wrong and Beach misbehaves while out on the street, it would be entirely on Bullock, politically speaking. So the GOP has no reason not to work with the governor here.  Rep. Margie MacDonald (D-Billings),  Rep. Ellie Hill (D-Missoula) and others have already been looking at some common sense reforms.
  3. Infrastructure – including for eastern Montana oil-boom towns like those in the Bakken. There are road, bridge, sewer and building projects that Montana needs right now, and interest rates are super-low. Let’s bond for them. Obviously, the GOP will try to tease down the amount that we devote toward these projects but it would be reckless to try to kill all of them, and if Bullock can budget for them and still keep a healthy ending balance, then all or most of what Bullock is proposing can be agreed upon for funding.  Rep. Jeff Wellborn (R-Dillon) is sponsoring this fix.

  4. Health care for the working poor and veterans. Governor Bullock has come up with an alternative to medicaid expansion. Everyone can get behind it.  It will cover tens of thousands of struggling Montanans with basic health insurance without growing the Medicaid rolls or expanding Obamacare.  Veterans and working poor Montanans are trapped in a coverage gap right now, and have no medical insurance nor can they afford it. The federal government is offering billions of dollars of federal funds that will end up going to other states rather than Montana if we deny it. It’s our money, and we’d be stupid not to bring it home to Montana. Bullock’s solution would satisfy the GOP’s pals in the insurance industry by allowing the program to be privately administered by insurance companies for a small percentage, and be far less costly than the private option proposed by Republicans in other states. It would also satisfy the medical community because it increases provider rates for Montana doctors. Republicans in other states have supported such alternatives, and are expected to do so here. And, the Montana Chamber of Commerce, a rock-ribbed-Republican group,  has endorsed the Governor’s plan. A Chamber of Commerce poll of 800 Montanans found that Montanans support for covering the working poor leads by a 20% margin.
  5. Another health care measure would be to end surprise medical bills. Patients lying on the operating table are often not told that the doctor about to perform all or part of their surgery isn’t actually in their insurance plan’s provider network. The patient finds out about it when she receives a surprise bill, a few months later, for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars that the insurance company doesn’t cover.  Rep. Kathleen Williams (D-Bozeman) is sponsoring a law to prohibit this outrageous health industry scam.  It would require that patients be notified up front if the care they are scheduled to receive is covered, so that they may exercise the option to go elsewhere.  And this measure reduces costs throughout the system because if the scammed patient ends up simply not paying the bill because they can’t afford it, the rest of us end up covering it.
  6. Support the Salish-Kootenai Water Compact.  Every federally recognized tribe in Montana has a negotiated water water rights agreement with the state and federal government except one –  the CSKT – and while extreme right-wing legislators, as well as birthers and outright racists have worked to block such an agreement for the tribe in the past, the compact has now been endorsed by Republican AG Tim Fox and even the TEA Party blog PolyMontana.com.
  7. Online voter registration. Half of American states now allow voters to register on the internet, using a drivers license and/or Social Security number.  Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch wants to bring it to Montana, as do all of the county election clerks who are overworked during election season. Nobody can point to a single reason why printing out a form and mailing it in is any more secure than filling out an online form and submitting it electronically.  And unlike many Democratic and Republican election bills, which are often designed to mathematically one party or the other, online nline registration systems can be found in conservative, liberal and battleground states. So it’s a good measure. And conservative Republican Geraldline Custer (R-Forsyth) is sponsoring  the bill, HB 48.

  8. Confirm Jonathan Motl as Commissioner of political practices. The 2013 session saw a bipartisan effort to reform money in politics and provide greater transparency in political donations.  Since then, it has been left to Motl to actually try to enforce the law and by all accounts he has breathed life into an otherwise dormant agency.   He has prosecuted all comers, Ds and Rs. And he’s also been quick to dismiss petty and frivolous complaints that waste everyone’s time.  Moderate Republicans are likely to support him because Motl has prosecuted the criminal money enterprises run by the Tea Party, aimed at bouncing moderate Republicans from office.   The only real loser in a Motl confirmation would be Tea Party leader Art Wittich, whom Motl has taken to court for massive violations of campaign finance law.  A district judge in Helena, Judge Sherlock, issued a decision in which he mocked Wittich’s motion to dismiss the case.  If Motl wins, Wittich could be removed from office.
  9. A ban on e-cigarette sales to kids.  Montana Attorney General Tim Fox says he’s considering it.  Montana has seen bipartisan support for regulating tobacco use – regulating e-cig use by minors will find broad support as well.
  10. Support the microbrewers and microdistillers. A number of bills could address these businesses, and we should get behind whatever legislation helps them and oppose the bills that seek to curtail them. Democrats and Republicans both have an interest in doing everything and anything possible to combat the farce that is much of Montana liquor license law. In a city such as Missoula or Bozeman, a liquor license for a restaurant costs over a million bucks. Neither political party can be very enthusiastic about such laws. In Portland or Seattle, it costs a few thousand at most.

 

2016 and the Montana Governor’s Race

A poll was published earlier this week by the Gravis Marketing firm showing Ryan Zinke and Tim Fox edging out Steve Bullock in 2016.  This poll is not to be trusted.

Gravis marketing is like a broken clock that shows the correct time twice a day.  It was a laughable organization for its conservative bias for a number of years up until 2016, when it’s conservative bias enabled it to be accurate because the electorate ended up being more conservative than anyone had envisioned.  That, and also consider that the poll last week did not include a Libertarian in the survey.

No doubt Republicans will be emboldened by this automated push-button phone poll, but take it to the bank: a real pollster’s numbers will look nothing like what Gravis has produced.

On a related subject, I’ve now conversed with several reporters as well as sources high up in Montana democratic politics, who all say that Greg Gianforte is going to take a pass in 2016 and will not be running for governor, although nobody seems to be able to point to a reason.  We can all look forward to hearing more about this.

You Can’t Represent the People in Your District if You Don’t Know or Care Who They Are

While I think the attached ad is in poor taste due to its use of new GOP state senator Nels Swandal’s infant grandson as a political prop who is supposed to be telling us how great Swandal is, what I think really bothered the people Swandal (R-SD 30) is supposed to be representing is that it failed to include Gallatin County, a portion of which is in SD 30.

It appears Swandal either couldn’t be bothered to find out who he is supposed to be representing the the state legislature–or that he just doesn’t care.

swandal ad

CrowdPAC’s Mailergate Denial is Laughable

Today, the silicon valley start-up company founded by mailergate professor Adam Bonica tried to distance itself from the scandal.

This after Standford University said it has launched an investigation into the connection between the Adam Bonica’s silicon valley start-up CrowdPAC and the fake voter guides Bonica sent to 100,000 Montana voters.

As Talking Points Memo reported this morning, Adam Bonica refused to respond to reporter questions.  Instead, Bonica’s cofounder Steve Hilton tried to claim that CrowdPAC (which Bonica and Hilton launched last month) had no knowledge of the fake voter guides sent to 100,000 Montanans last week–until they read about it in the news.

This is simply laughable.

Bonica is CrowdPAC.  He is the co-founder and chief scientist–and probably the only person who really understands his DIME model on which the whole company is based. He also probably owns at least 20-25% of the company.  There is no CrowdPAC without Bonica any more than there would be a Google without Page and Brin.

So since Bonica sent out the mailers, and Bonica is CrowdPAC, yeah, CrowdPAC knows about them.

Here’s why this matters.

Bonica and Hilton are highly motivated to show the efficacy of the DIME model (that donations predict candidate ideology) now,  in this election cycle, because the next big election is in 2016.  He’s got maybe $2 million in venture capital investments that aren’t going to last that long.   For one thing, CrowdPAC already probably has 3-6 employees–and has five open job announcements for engineers/scientists with an average salary of around $100k.

Start-ups, I’m told, typically get a little seed money and then take 18 months or so to show their concept is monetizable.  Then they use the proof it can make money raise more from investors.

Because Bonica is the brains of CrowdPAC, he has to show–in this election cycle–that it his concept (1) works in the field and (2) can make money or his company won’t go forward. And the lynchpin to monetizing this company/concept is to prove it can impact elections.  Otherwise its just another online academic portal that only political scientists would use rather than a start-up that is commercially viable and worthy of further investment.

When I look at mailergate through this scenario, the experiments don’t appear to be shoddy– they look like they were designed to manipulate the election.  They would need to mask the academic nature of the mailing (which some have called a “mistake”) and to stoke partisan tensions in favor of one candidate or another (which some have called “unintentional”).

This would show why these guys probably thought they’d found the perfect lab rats in Montana.  Montana’s non partisan judicial race was probably one of the easiest to cheaply make partisan with the DIME model in the U.S.

We were likely chosen is the sacrificial guinea pigs for these reasons:

1.  We have a very polarized electorate.

2.  We’ll have high turnout for an off-cycle (non-presidential) election year.

3. We have a low population, meaning we’re seen as a cheap date for this kind of manipulation.

And manipulation it was.  As one of Bonica’s own senior colleagues at Stanford said:

“This is researchers manipulating, or at least seeking to manipulate, politics,” Mr. Krosnick said, referring to the Dartmouth-Stanford experiment. “As appealing as this might be on scientific grounds, the real question is whether it’s appropriate to interfere in this way.”

And these same researchers have manipulated people before:

Mr. Krosnick pointed to a previous study co-authored by Mr. Dropp, who is an assistant professor of government at Dartmouth, in which more than 1,000 email requests were sent to Texas legislators in 2010. The emails appeared to come from Texas citizens, but were actually sent by the researchers to measure the legislators’ response rates.

“It crosses an ethical line to create fictitious people and use government resources for people who don’t exist,” Mr. Krosnick said. “There’s a habit here of lying to people.”

Montanans are sick of being lied to.

We also need to know more about the Hewlett Foundation’s investment in this experiment.

We know that Hewlett Foundation was aware of CrowdPAC, because they posted on their own website here that they were considering making an investment in the start-up. However, they instead decided to invest in non-profit organizations, which CrowdPAC is not.

However, since CrowdPAC essentially benefited from Hewlett funding anyway, what does that say about how for-profit start-ups are able to game the system to make big bucks?

ALERT: Trapping Season Started on Public Lands

A Public Service Announcement from Footloose Montana

Fall is here.  Hunters, hikers, skiers, and all who enjoy public lands, be aware that trapping season is upon us!

The general trapping season is nine months long, September through May. As of September 1, semi-aquatic animals such as beavers, muskrat and mink can be trapped in Eastern Montana.  In Western Montana, the furbearer trapping season begins November 1. Wolf trapping season is December 15 through February 28.  For a $19 license, five wolves can be killed by traps and/or guns.  This means thousands more large traps will blanket public lands already seeded with tens of thousands of traps.

Every year, traps kill at least 50,000 of Montana’s wild animals for their fur and for sport. As conflicts between public land users and trappers increase, a growing number of companion dogs have been maimed and killed. Concealed and baited body-crushing traps, foothold traps and snares catch any animal unfortunate enough to be lured into them.

Trapping for predators, including foxes and coyotes, has no regulations. Traps can be set at any time of the year, anywhere, on hiking trails and public roads. Traps for “furbearing” animals can be set 50 feet away from hiking trails and 30 feet from the centerline of public roads (the length of two pickup trucks).  Foothold traps and body-catching snares can be set 300 feet away from trailheads.  Spine-crushing conibear traps and neck snares can be set 1,000 feet away from trailheads. Traps and snares can be set 1,000 feet away from campgrounds that are accessible by a highway vehicle. Increased trap-setback regulations apply in certain areas in Trapping Districts 1 and 3 (mostly around Whitefish, Eureka and Bozeman, Montana).

Please check the trap map at www.footloosemontana.org  before you go on an outdoors adventure.  Footloose Montana posts trap locations reported by the public. If you have any questions, or if you see a trap, or have the unfortunate experience of encountering one, please immediately report the instance with photos if possible to Footloose Montana at 406-274-1069, or email info@footloosemontana.com.   It is illegal to remove traps.

Background:

Many people think the trapping days of Jim Bridger—almost two hundred years ago—passed into history, but in Montana the 2014 furbearer trapping season begins on September 1.  This means tens of thousands of baited snares, steel leghold and conibear traps are set and hidden, on our public lands.  Today trappers do not suffer the elements as Bridger and his fellow mountain men did.  After setting their traps, they head home, checking their traps whenever convenient.

However, hikers, skiers, hunters and wildlife watchers need to be aware that traps can be anywhere, and must take great caution because of the possible serious injury and death that traps pose to people and their children and pets.   Every year in Montana, pets are injured and killed in non-selective traps—anyone can step into a trap.

The general trapping season begins September 1 and ends May 31. Trapping for beaver began in Central and Eastern Montana on September 1. Trapping of swift foxes in North East Montana and for otter, muskrat and mink begins November 1.

Devices used to trap these semi-aquatic animals include conibear traps and may be submerged along creek and river shorelines; dogs, including bird hunting dogs can easily run across one and be killed or seriously injured.  Trapped animals can suffer for days in panic, suffering hypothermia, hunger and thirst.  Some chew off their feet or wring off entire limbs to escape the pain.

Trapping for bobcat, fisher, pine marten and wolverine begins December 1, through February 15. Not only beavers, coyotes, martens, otters and bobcats are killed in traps and snares, but also rare and endangered species, including fisher, wolverine and lynx, and recently reintroduced species such as the tiny swift foxes.

Trapping seasons mean more traps on the landscape, but trapping for predators has no regulations at all.  Coyote traps, for instance, can be set anywhere year round.  No license is required.  Setback regulations along trails and near campgrounds don’t apply.   There is no season completely safe from traps on public lands.

If your companion animal is caught in a trap, the animal may panic in fear and pain, so it’s best to put your jacket over his head while you release the leg from the trap.  Even if you see no blood, nerve damage and blood loss to the foot can be severe so take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible.  If you can’t open the trap take the trap and your pet to emergency help.  This is a very stressful situation, but it is important to take photos, if possible, and note the exact location of the trap, and any markings on the trap and report to Footloose Montana as well as Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Wheat Supporters Work to Counter Out-of-State and Corporate Money in Supreme Court Race

A group of Montanans has banded together to try to counter the massive corporate and out-of-state expenditures in the supreme court race–the right-wing special interests including the National Republican party who are hoping to buy a Supreme Court race for Lawrence VanDyke.

Here’s the Montana ad to counter this money by Montanans for Liberty:

 

It’s important to spread the word about this race, because there are big differences between these candidates.

Perhaps most importantly, Mike Wheat’s experience dwarfs that of VanDyke, who is an extremist ideologue from out of state who’s beliefs are far outside the mainstream.

Wheat - VanDyke Comparisan piece