by Jim White, Northwest Liberty News - Dec 23, 2013
Kalispel, MT - Politics is a dirty business, or so I'm told. Occasionally, someone rises above the muck and plants themselves on a foundation of freedom and constitutional principles. In Montana, we are fortunate to have a few legislators who have consistently landed on the side of truth and liberty. One such legislator is State Senator Jennifer Fielder. Read more...
Senator Jennifer Fielder elevated to #2 in MTGOP
June 12, 2013
Bozeman, MT - With a groundswell of support, Northwest Montana's freshman Senator Jennifer Fielder (R) Thompson Falls, was elevated to the number two spot in the Montana Republican Party during the state convention in Bozeman June 7-8.
Senator Fielder became the favorite of conservatives in the legislature for consistently advocating for people's constitutional rights, limited government, free markets, individual freedom, and conservative fiscal and social values. Read more...
The Future of Your Land & Water
By Montana State Senator Jennifer Fielder - R, Thompson Falls
Jan 30, 2014
Representing District 7 - Northwest Montana:
Sanders & Mineral Counties, western most Missoula County, and Southwestern Flathead County
Thompson Falls, MT - Among the bigger issues Montana legislators are addressing during the legislative interim are the proposed Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribe (CSKT) Water Compact and problems with federal land management. These are extremely high priorities for me because land and water policies affect just about everything -- our economy, environment, health, safety, land use and land values, employment opportunities, funding for public services, and the quality of life so important to present and future generations.
If we can iron out the most significant concerns with
both the Flathead water compact and federally managed public lands, our communities will
be better off in nearly every regard. These are huge issues. Seeking real,
positive solutions is not easy, but it's well worth the effort.
The legislature’s recent hearings on these topics drew
unusually large crowds to the State capitol. The all-day meetings extended well
into the night as experts, citizens, and legislators debated these critical
Although the days were painfully long, the discussions
were excellent. I was pleased the committee chairmen kept us late to allow
every citizen a chance to speak.
While some legislators ignore public comment,
I highly value what citizens have to say -- especially those who travel so far
on their own time to testify. It was encouraging to see so many well-informed citizens
from western Montana deliver carefully researched facts on land and water
issues. I saw signs of hope as opponents and proponents listened to each other
and found some areas of agreement.
Many citizens, Indian and non-Indian alike, agree it
would be desirable to have a tribal water compact of some sort. Many also agree
that serious questions remain about the current proposal’s impact on existing
water rights, property values, crops, and livestock. There is understandable
concern over placing the water rights of non-Indian people under an experimental
new tribal administration, as well as the notion of expanding tribal and
federal jurisdiction to waters well outside the Flathead Reservation boundary.
It appears most of western Montana would be impacted in
some way by this unprecedented new water law, yet we have little idea to what
extent because there is nothing like this compact and no studies have been
Since an approved Compact would become a FINAL agreement
between the state, the tribe, and the federal government, it cannot simply be
corrected later like most other laws can. It is absolutely imperative to ensure
it is wise and fair for ALL the affected people. You wouldn't expect anyone to
object to independent analysis of the compact, but the Governor already has.
Some are even pushing for a special session to force legislative approval of
the compact without further consideration.
You may recall that rather than approve the highly
complex water compact when it came before us late in the 2013 session, the
legislature ordered the state’s Water Policy Interim Committee (WPIC) to
perform a study of the Compact and its 1,000 plus pages of technical documents.
To our dismay Governor Bullock vetoed that bill.
At January's Environmental Quality Council (EQC), twenty
five legislators made a formal request for an independent interim evaluation of
the social, economic, and environmental impacts associated with the proposed
CSKT Compact. We must get the facts on the table so citizens and
legislators can logically assess the impacts of this permanent new law BEFORE a
vote is taken. It will be up to the EQC to decide whether or not to order the
studies. I serve on that committee and will do what I can to ensure we pursue
the information necessary to make informed decisions.
of the other highly intriguing discussions during our January hearings was the
subject of transferring federally managed public lands to the state. The EQC
heard excellent testimony on this topic from a diverse panel of experts who
debated the legal, economic, and environmental advantages of states stepping
forward to assume management responsibilities.
After hearing the arguments, nearly every citizen and county commissioner present testified in favor of the land transfer. The idea made headline news across the state. Even the Governor has gone on record acknowledging state land management is far superior to federal.
I will write more on these topics and others as interim efforts progress. In the meanwhile, please find additional information, share your views, and connect with me at www.jenniferfielder.us