Montana Public Media

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Montana Public Media is a collaboration between MontanaPBS, Montana Public Radio,
Yellowstone Public Radio, and The University of Montana School of Journalism

Top hats, the oil boom and playing hooky

  on March 6, 2013

Updated March 7, 2013

Daily Digest, today's top stories from Montana's 63rd Legislature

By Amy R. Sisk
Community News Service
University of Montana School of Journalism

Lawmakers donned top hats, fake mustaches and bowties on Tuesday for the 100-year anniversary of the House chamber. They celebrated by re-enacting a floor session from 1913, where they debated measures such as drinking on election day, the crime of seduction and a $20 appropriation over a cow killed in error by the state veterinarian. Montana Public Radio’s Dan Boyce recapped the festivities, as did Lee Newspaper’s Charles S. Johnson. You can view a slideshow of the re-enactment here.

Meanwhile, Jackie Yamanaka from Yellowstone Public Radio explained the details of a proposal to end the tax holiday on oil production and send that money back to the communities feeling the effects the boom. Not so fast, argued representatives from the petroleum industry. They say that eliminating the 12- to 18-month holiday would discourage drilling in Montana.

That wasn’t the only Bakken-related bill floating around the Capitol on Tuesday. Lee Newspaper’s Mike Dennison also wrote about another idea to establish a $5-per-night fee on lodging facilities in cities along the Bakken to address infrastructure needs.

Meanwhile, lawmakers on the pension committee have one week to reach some sort of consensus about the state’s pension shortfall. Johnson outlined the options currently on the table.

All members of the House and Senate leadership sit on committees, but some hold rather dismal attendance records. The Helena Vigilante examined the stats and noted that the guilty parties stem from the GOP, which holds the majority position in both chambers.

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