Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Update from Sen Fielder - Charity vs. Taxation and hope for the New Year

By Senator Jennifer Fielder, R - Montana State Senate District 7

What do you suppose would happen if each of us did more instead of expecting someone else to do all the good things that need to be done? What if we each did all we can do to help ourselves and help others? Charity would become contagious, popular, and ironically, maybe even less necessary.

To those of you who already give instead of take, encourage instead of criticize, or even smile instead of scowl, thank you! These are shining examples of the kinds of Faith, Hope, and Charity we need more of year round. Charity isn't just about money. It's a form of love through selfless giving of time, kindness, or resources.

As Montana’s legislature convenes for the 2015 session, an endless line of people will want public funds (i.e. your money) for a whole range of wonderful special interests. Some requests will be for essential services which I will support. Some requests will come from institutions that need to think about doing more to help themselves. And some requests will come from charities that, although I might support personally, I will not vote in favor of requiring you the taxpayer to fund by force of law. It's just fundamentally wrong to take one person's property and give it to someone else. When it comes to charity, who you give to, when, and why, should be up to you. Just remember, God is watching.

Like many folks, I have a big heart for charity too. There are exceptions of course, but in general charity works best when given willingly from the heart, and it usually fails when attempted by force (law/taxation). When administered by dedicated volunteers who work hard to raise scarce funds for legitimate purposes, resources tend to be more carefully directed to intended recipients. Think Mother Theresa. When administered by organizations who come by large amounts of other people's money easily, "charity" becomes more susceptible to waste, abuse, unnecessary
expenditures, and even corruption. The billions of dollars of fraud in the government funded health system care comes to mind.

Today I'd like to update you on some charitable giving I have been involved with. While campaigning for State Senate in 2012, I outlined many goals which you can find at www.jenniferfielder.us. I continue to work hard on those goals every day. But when it came to making promises, I was careful to make only two promises that I knew were entirely within my power to keep:

First, I promised to honor my oath of office (found in Article 3, section 3 of the Montana Constitution). That oath, required of all public officers in Montana, states that we will support, protect, and defend the U.S. and
Montana Constitutions and discharge the duties of our office with fidelity. It’s not just adhering to the Constitution that is important, although this is fundamental to civil order, freedom, and prosperity. The commitment to fidelity, or trustworthiness, of public officers is equally vital. I remain committed to honoring the whole oath.

Second, I promised to donate half of my legislative take-home pay to charitable causes. I made this pledge because I believe strongly in voluntary charity, and I also wanted you to know that I was entering politics to give, not to take. That is, to give of myself willingly, not to require you to give of yourself unwillingly.

In keeping my promise of charitable giving, so far I have donated $3,774.90 from my 2013-14 earnings. That amount exceeds half the net salary I received during my first two years of office. Recipients have included: Three local churches; Thompson River Animal Care Shelter (TRACS); Cancer Care Network of Sanders County; Tri-State Veterans Stand Down; Thompson Falls Senior Class –alcohol free graduation parties; Linda Lanier’s Patriotic Picnic and Veterans Tribute; Rex Theater Christmas on Main Street Music Show; Daughters of American Revolution College Scholarship Fund; Noxon Food Bank Community Garden; American Lands Council; DAV Disabled Veterans Transport Vehicle; plus a few miscellaneous donations to service clubs and individuals in Sanders and Mineral Counties.

The wonderful volunteers who do so many good works in our communities are the real key to charitable programs and countless other good deeds. They touch lives and make donated funds, however modest, stretch.

If you know of a donation or charitable organization I should consider for the upcoming year, please leave me a note at www.jenniferfielder.us <www.jenniferfieldder.us>. I hope you will give all you can to help them too so we can make voluntary charity popular!

As I enter the second half of my four-year term in the Montana State Senate, I am grateful to be able to continue to serve you, honor my oath, and keep my promise of contributing half my pay to good causes.May Freedom Ring and may your New Year be filled with the blessings of true Faith, Hope, and Charity all year long!

Jennifer
Senator Jennifer Fielder
Montana State Senate - District 7
www.jenniferfielder.us


https://chumly.com/n/29e7e23

1 degree outside this morning. Peppermint cocoa with melted marshmallows inside. Stay warm y'all!

I'm actually glad I have a pile of paperwork to keep me inside today.

Sent from my iPhone


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Monday, December 22, 2014

Wilderness watchers wonder what's next for Montana wild country

missoulian.com/news/local/wilderness-watchers-wond....html

"In addition to the Bob Marshall wilderness additions, the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act gave 208,000 acres conservation management status, which allows existing travel and recreation uses but prevents other development [i.e. mutually beneficial levels of timber, grazing, and mineral uses are now prohibited, crushing land-based livlihoods and dashing all hope of restoring family-wage jobs to the nearby rural communities]."


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Thursday, December 18, 2014

My charges for the evening... A refreshing change of pace

It's good to be home again. What a delight babysitting these little darlings for their parents who are celebrating their anniversary tonight. Happy anniversary Adam and Chelsea!


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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Passing thru Hellgate canyon on my way to Bozeman this morning.

I'll be speaking at Gallatin County Republican Women's Christmas Luncheon today - join me if you can - 11:45am at the Holiday Inn.


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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It sure felt funny driving this little rental car instead of my truck, but it got me to my destination on time!

Meeting with a bunch of good folks in Colorado to share ideas about how to improve access, health, and productivity on public lands in western states.


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Monday, December 15, 2014

Fwd: SD 7 Column - Update from Sen Fielder

More"Horse Trading” In WA DC

By Sen Jennifer Fielder

www.jenniferfielder

12-15-14


Last week Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act – an important"must pass” spending bill that funds the United States Military. Knowing the bill had to pass, numerous politicians piled on completely
unrelated pet projects – commonly, and fittingly referred to as"pork”.

According to"Citizens for Balanced Use” (CBU), a pro-access recreation organization out of Bozeman, they were attempting to watch the bill closely because several pieces of"pork” being attached to the bill affected public lands and national parks. Here is what CBU had to say:


"Senator McCain was the first to attach his pet project to the Defense Spending Bill as a member of the Armed Services Committee. His bill opened a large copper mine in his state producing 6000 new jobs.


Then the environmental groups became enraged and wanted something in
return. Up jumped Senator Tester and added his Forest Jobs and Recreation Act to the bill and another 650,000 acres of new wilderness in Montana. CBU worked hard with our lone Representative Daines to have this legislation removed and no one worked harder than Congressman Daines and in the end his efforts got the FJRA removed. In return for removing the FJRA, the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act was inserted and the tribute to Max Baucus was put in place.


As the bill continued to move forward during the last few months, it
changed in shape and form almost on a daily and hourly basis. Negotiations on bill language, what was in and what was out, remained a question and CBU continually tracked the movement of this bill. We did not know exactly what was in this bill until the press release on the day it was introduced into the House.”


Alaska Dipsatch News reported,"U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Wednesday announced agreement by members of the House and Senate to tack on a package of lands bills — including the transfer of land to Sealaska Corp. — to the defense bill.”


In actuality, there are so many unrelated parts and pieces in this year’s"Defense Spending Bill” I can’t list them in the space allowed. Plain and simply, the U.S. Congress made a bunch of deals, horse trading if you will, affecting hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands and many other aspects of government, under the guise of supporting our military. Yes, the military gets funding, and Arizona gets mines, an Alaska corporation gets half of the Tongass National Forest, and Montana gets new restrictions on another three quarters of a million acres of public lands in our state. Sadly, some major aspects of this legislation never received a hearing or fair chance for public review prior to passage. Thus is the way the United States Congress does its"public” business.


We have a much better system in Montana. In our state legislature, each piece of legislation (also known as a bill) is limited by law to a single subject and the content of each bill must be directly related to the title of the bill. Every bill is available to the public and receives a public hearing before it is voted on. State legislative committee meetings and hearings are open to the public and broadcast online and on television
right here in Montana for all to see. This straightforward approach allows greater transparency and affords the public a genuine opportunity to
actively participate whenever they choose.


If you would like to know more about how you can participate in the in
Montana legislative process please sign into my web site at
www.jenniferfielder.us.


Thank you and God Bless,


Jennifer
Senator Jennifer Fielder
Montana State Senate - District 7
www.jenniferfielder.us

NOTICE: Legislators are publicly elected officials. Legislator emails sent or received involving legislative business, may be subject to the Right to Know provisions of Montana’s Constitution and may be considered a"public record” pursuant to Montana law. As such, email sent or received, its sender and receiver, and the email’s contents, may be subject to public disclosure, except as otherwise provided by Montana law.


https://chumly.com/n/29d7f49

On my way to Colorado today. Will be in Bozeman Weds, and back to beautiful Northwest Montana Thursday.

A busy couple weeks last week and this, but love the incredible scenery here in the Rockies.


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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A packed house at MTSFW to hear about transferpubliclands in Missoula tonight.

Thank you MT Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife for getting the facts before taking a position on this issue. Too bad Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation declined to do the same.


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Friday, December 5, 2014

Getting my batch of bill draft requests in before today's deadline.

Working on a number of pieces of legislation to improve conditions for people, our environment, public lands, local government, and communities across Montana.


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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Economc report finds Utah capable of managing federal lands - Washington Times

www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/dec/3/utah-to-se...nge-f

"Those in favor of the state taking control of federal lands were buoyed by a report Monday that concluded the idea was financially feasible. Entitled"An Analysis of a Transfer of Federal Lands to the State of Utah,” the 784-page analysis found that Utah was capable of managing that property, now under the control of the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service."



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Congress’ Sneaky Tactic to Grab More Land for the Government

dailysignal.com/2014/12/02/congresss-sneaky-tactic...nment

What does NDAA have to do with wilderness???

"Does Congress really need to add to the federal estate when the feds already own 640 million acres of land, approaching one-third the total area of the United States? Congress should be transferring more responsibility to the states and private owners, not taking more land away from them. "


https://chumly.com/n/29b90d7

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Montana Sportsmen & Public Land Users to discuss Transfer Public Lands

Save the date. Spread the word! Transfer Public Lands informational
meetings coming to Northwest Montana:

*WEDS DEC 10 - MISSOULA, MT: Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife
(MT-SFW) will host an informational meeting about Transferring Federally Controlled Public Lands to the state. *
WHERE: C'Mon Inn in Missoula, MT.
TIME: Doors open for social hour at 5pm. Official meeting begins at 6pm. (see attached flyer)

*Sen Jennifer Fielder has been invited to provide key findings from
Montana's Study of Federal Land Management as well as the legal,
environmental, social, and economic case for shifting to state based public land management. She welcomes questions and suggestions. (see attached ALC Public Policy Statement or go to www.AmericanLandsCouncil.org
<www.americanlandscouncil.org>)*

THURS DEC 11 - KALISPEL, MT: Montanans for Multiple Use will host a debate on Transfer of Public Lands.
WHERE: Flathead Community College, Kalispel, MT
TIME: 7pm.

State Sen Jennifer Fielder, R-Thompson Falls (proponent) will debate State Rep Ed Lieser, D-Whitefish (opponent) on Transferring Federally Controlled Lands to the State.

Both meetings are open to the public. If your organization would like to request a presentation, please contact Sen Fielder or make a request at www.AmericanLandsCouncil.org

Jennifer
Senator Jennifer Fielder
Montana State Senate - District 7
www.jenniferfielder.us

"Facts are stubborn things." - John Adams chumly.com/attachment/20030171 chumly.com/attachment/20030172


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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Update from Sen Fielder - Prepping for 2015

Preparing for 2015 Legislative Session

By Senator Jennifer Fielder, R - Thompson Falls

Montana State Senate, District 7

Nov 18, 2014


Last week Montana legislators were called together at the State Capitol in Helena to begin preparations for the 2015 legislative session which will run pretty much full time from January through April. In addition to
orientation and lawmaker training, we were charged with selecting House and Senate leadership and determining who will serve on what committees.


Our Republican Senate caucus elected long time legislator and rancher Debby Barrett, R-Dillon, who, if confirmed by a majority of Senate democrats and republicans on opening day Jan 5, will be the first woman Senate President in Montana’s history. Former U.S. Congressional candidate Matt Rosendale, R-Glendive was elected as our Senate Majority Leader. Sen Eric Moore,
R-Miles City was elected to serve as Senate President Pro-Tempore, which is essentially Vice President. All are very capable people who I believe will do a great job for our state.


House and Senate members also received appointments to legislative
committees. I will return to my posts on Senate Natural Resources and
Senate Fish and Wildlife, and I have been appointed to Vice Chair the
Senate Judiciary Committee. I served on all three of these committees last session and look forward to returning. A new assignment for me this session will be as Chair of Legislative Administration.


The Natural Resources committee will deal with issues like the CSKT Water Compact, environmental permitting, water rights, and public lands among other things. On Fish and Wildlife we will deal with the Department’s requested hunting and fishing license fee increases, and other issues
pertaining to fish and wildlife management in Montana. The Judiciary
committee is one of the most difficult committees to serve on as it
encompasses a wide variety of tough topics including life, death, crime, prisons, courts, drugs, alcohol, child abuse, abortion, assisted suicide, privacy issues, and gun rights to name a few.


Although the 2015 legislature will likely debate two thousand to three
thousand bills (law changes) in 2015, I expect the hottest debates of the session to revolve around healthcare, the CSKT water compact, education, and public lands. I will do my best to inject common sense into the
discussions and keep you posted as the debates around these issues take shape.


As always I will strive to protect your God given rights vouched safe under the U.S. & Montana Constitutions, eliminate unnecessary taxes, regulations and bureaucracy, foster a vibrant economy, restore good job opportunities to rural Montana, promote improved access, health, and productivity on
public lands, defend lawful hunting, fishing, trapping and gun rights, and maintain safe food, water and air for present & future generations.


The very best way to keep up to date is to check my almost daily posts on line at www.jenniferfielder.us or join me on facebook.

All my best to you and yours for a bountiful harvest and blessed
Thanksgiving.

Jennifer
Senator Jennifer Fielder
Montana State Senate - District 7
www.jenniferfielder.us


https://chumly.com/n/298abe9

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

Congressman Steve Daines spending time with the folks in Trout Creek, MT tonight.

This guy is traveling all over rural Montana to hear from us! Not just campaigning... He is really listening! Please vote Daines for US Senate!!! We need good people like him representing real Montanans in Wa DC.


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Monday, October 20, 2014

Update from Senator Fielder - Public Land "Sell Off" myth put to rest

Public land"sell off” myth to put to rest October 20, 2014 By Senator Jennifer Fielder – Montana State Senate District 7



In response to confusion caused by certain environmentalists that claim our public lands would be"sold to the highest bidder” if federal lands are transferred to the states, leaders of the Transfer of Public Lands (TPL) effort from all western states recently gathered in Salt Lake City, Utah to set the record straight.



State and local elected officials representing hundreds of thousands of Americans convened with leaders of public land user groups and a variety of experts at a national convention of American Lands Council (ALC) Oct 7-9, 2014 to officially define goals for transferring some federally controlled public lands to willing states.



The resulting public policy statement (attached) was ratified unanimously to make it clear the focus of shifting to state based public land
management is centered on providing better access, health, and productivity on public lands while maintaining public ownership of the lands and
protecting existing uses.


All involved agreed to exclude existing National Parks, Indian
Reservations, Military Posts and congressionally designated Wilderness
areas from the requested transfer, instead focusing the effort on the need to access, health, and productivity on general forests and grasslands
currently under control of the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land
Management.



There’s substantial evidence supporting the viability of state public land management -- too much to list here. But I will point out that western
states, including Montana, already successfully own and manage millions of acres of state public lands, employing responsible natural resource
management and providing a variety of beneficial uses and good jobs, while enhancing wildlife habitat as well as recreational and hunting
opportunities, and funding state and local government.



In sharp contrast, increased federal control and failing federal policies have resulted in steady declines of access, health, and productivity on federal lands as well as diminishing payments to state and local
governments.



Let’s not forget that it is the federal government that is in dire debt and, as such, has the most motivation to sell the lands and reduce federal payments in lieu of taxes that many rural counties rely on. And Congress has unilateral authority to sell the land without state consent.



Furthermore, statehood Enabling Acts require 95% of any funds generated by sales of federal lands to be deposited in the national treasury, leaving states with little to gain by selling the land. States would do far better by keeping the lands in state ownership and managing them efficiently to boost our natural resource, recreation, and tourism economies.



Unfortunately, some public officials, candidates, and organizations,
including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, have taken a position against the land transfer, seemingly based on the"sell off” rhetoric promulgated by certain environmental lobbyists instead of hearing the facts from
credible leaders most knowledgeable on the subject.



Elected officials such as myself who have been intensely studying this
issue and representatives of the American Lands Council are available to meet with interested organizations and public officials to fully explain the economic, environmental and legal evidence favoring state management, as well as answer questions, hear ideas, and work collaboratively toward meeting the objectives identified in the Public Policy Statement, below and attached.



American Lands Council Public Policy Statement

Ratified by unanimous consent Oct 9, 2014 at ALC Multi-State Workshop

Salt Lake City, UT and Oct 20, 2014 by American Lands Council Board of
Directors.






*1. **WE URGE THE TIMELY AND ORDERLY TRANSFER OF FEDERAL PUBLIC LANDS TO WILLING STATES FOR LOCAL CONTROL THAT WILL PROVIDE BETTER PUBLIC ACCESS, BETTER ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, AND BETTER ECONOMIC PRODUCTIVITY;*



*2. **WE SUPPORT EXCLUDING EXISTING NATIONAL PARKS, CONGRESSIONALLY DESIGNATED WILDERNESS AREAS, INDIAN RESERVATIONS, AND MILITARY
INSTALLATIONS FROM THE TRANSFER; AND *



*3. **WE SUPPORT EQUIPPING FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL AGENCIES WITH
RESOURCES NECESSARY TO PLAN FOR A SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION TO STATE-BASED
OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT OF THE TRANSFERRED PUBLIC LANDS; AND*



*4. **WE URGE MANAGEMENT PRIORITIES FOR THESE LANDS THAT WILL: *



*i. **IMPROVE PUBLIC ACCESS:* Protect public access, rights of way, and multiple-uses on public lands for all people including sportsmen,
tourists, recreational users, subsistence and sustenance activities, and emergency access; and



*ii. **IMPROVE ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH:* Reduce catastrophic wildfire fuel loads that threaten communities, infrastructure, watersheds, critical wildlife habitat, and our environment. Facilitate restoration of healthy forests, range lands, and waterways; and



*iii. **IMPROVE ECONOMIC PRODUCTIVITY: *Secure jobs and economic
growth through responsible natural resource stewardship and use including tourism and recreational opportunities; and



*iv. **RETAIN PUBLIC OWNERSHIP OF PUBLIC LANDS:* Federal public lands shall become state public lands to be managed in accordance with state and local plans; and



*v. **IMPROVE EFFICIENCY OF WILDFIRE CONTROL:* Provide state, local, and tribal government with adequate wildfire prevention and control
resources and develop interstate/interagency cooperative agreements
necessary to combat wildfires effectively; and



*vi. **INCREASE LOCAL INVOLVEMENT & ACCOUNTABLITY:* Ensure state-based public land management activities are consistent with local government
plans, policies, and objectives; and



*vii. **PROTECT USE RIGHTS: *Protect all valid existing rights and
multiple uses, and enhance the viability of compatible, land-based
livelihoods; and



*viii. **PRESERVE CUSTOMS & CULTURE:* Preserve and protect important
wild, scenic, cultural and economic resources; and



*ix. **INCORPORATE FEDERAL AGENCY EXPERTISE:* Seek to utilize federal expertise and research through employment and/or cooperative agreements; and


*x. **GENERATE SELF-SUPPORTING FINANCE:* Foster compatible economic productivity to support essential government services such as local roads, utilities, emergency services, public health and safety, education,
justice, and other civic functions while reducing tax burdens on citizens nationally and offsetting federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes and Secure Rural Schools funds.





An official copy of the American Lands Council Public Policy Statement can be found at www.americanlandscouncil.org/policy_statements



Video of the national press conference announcing the policy statement can be viewed at:





For more info, to help, or to request a presentation visit
www.AmericanLandsCouncil.org



Senator Fielder can be reached on the web at www.jenniferfielder.us by
email at sen.jfielder@legmt.gov, or by mail at P.O. Box 2558, Thompson
Falls, MT 59873.


Jennifer
Senator Jennifer Fielder
Montana State Senate - District 7
www.jenniferfielder.us chumly.com/attachment/19652886
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Friday, October 10, 2014

ALC October 2014 Press Conference - YouTube

Here is a short video on what the transfer of public lands is really about and why it matters -exclusively from yesterday's Multi-State press conference with American Lands Council at Salt Lake City, UT...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

People and meetings in Washington, Idaho and Utah were good, but it is sure nice to be back in Montana again!

Only 300 miles to go and I'll be home to stay for awhile. Sent from my iPhone


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Wrapping up the American Lands Council national press conference...

It was an honor to Chair this conference of American Lands Council and work with so many dedicated natural resource experts, legal experts, and elected officials from 13 states, representing hundreds of thousands of Americans, who gathered in Utah this week to work toward transferring federally controlled public lands to willing states so we can have better access, better health, and better productivity on our public lands. Thank you to all who attended and all who support our efforts! Please visit www.AmericanLandsCouncil.org for more info or to learn how you can help.


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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Visiting the Utah Federalism Commission today, hearing from State Forester on catastrophic wildfire suppression strategies and other state efforts to deal with failing federal policies that place public lands, economy, and communities in peril.

DNR Director Cottam reported that for every $1 spent on pre-suppression work (ie thinning, selective logging, vegetation management) you can save $17 in direct suppression costs, and $450 to $500 in total damages. Unfortunately, WA DC spends 80 to 90% of forest service funding on lawsuits and fighting wildfires AFTER they ignite.


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Friday, October 3, 2014

Chef Ivory...

Arrived at the Ivory home in Salt Lake City this evening. Becky fixed a great supper and Ken is already started on special breakfast preparations for tomorrow... baked French Toast. It's gonna be a good week!


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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Making those campaign dollars stretch...

A bunch of good folks pitched in at tonight's Sanders County Republican Central Committee meeting to help Bob Brown get his campaign mailer ready to go. Thanks y'all! Bob will be a great, down to earth addition to the Montana legislature.




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Wow! Paul received the 2014 President's Award from National Trappers Association!

It is so nice to see his hard work on behalf of outdoorsmen rewarded by a national organization! Congratulations honey!


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Still delays on Thompson Pass route to Idaho...

Don't forget to allow extra travel time if your headed this way. Sent from my iPhone


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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

In Yakima, Wa for Legislative Council on River Governance.

Working with Democrat & Republican delegates from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana on issues of common interest including Columbia River Treaty, Waters of US rule, and Transfer of Federal Land to states, plus hearing an update on the Wanapum Adam fracture repairs.


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Friday, September 26, 2014

Update from Sen Fielder - No losers in public land transfer

No losers in public land transfer
"There are no losers to what we are going to propose,” said Kane County Commissioner Doug Heaton, a founding member of American Lands Council (ALC).

"Let me be really clear about this,” he said as he explained why he has taken a leadership role in compelling congress to transfer federal lands to the states."We are not AGAINST anybody. We are FOR managing the resources so we don’t actually burn our forests to the ground, destroy our watersheds, or kill millions of animals in the process. We are FOR not putting more pollution into the environment -- than all our industrial processes combined -- because of mismanagement and the wildfires that are occurring. We are FOR having some family sustaining jobs that come as we manage the natural resources and provide a benefit not only for the animals and the environment, but for people as well. We are FOR being energy independent as a nation, and as states. We are FOR being financially independent as a nation, as a state, as counties, and private citizens.”

The American Lands Council was formed two years ago by Heaton and a number of county commissioners and state legislators in Utah and Nevada to protect public access, provide better environmental health, and restore economic productivity on federal lands. Today, ALC has attracted support from elected officials in every western state as the idea of shifting to state based public land management is increasingly viewed as the only way to ensure public lands are managed with greater care than we see coming from Washington DC these days.

All the western states are feeling the pain of decades of declining federal stewardship. For some, the turning point occurred during the government "shutdown" last October. Remember when Congress didn't want to fund
Obamacare and President Obama responded by deeming all of our nation's public lands "non-essential"? Federal golf courses and health clubs were kept open, but federal agents were dispatched to blockade open air
monuments and evict hunters and hikers from the back country, bringing tourism, recreation, and resource industries to a grinding halt across the country.

I don't think you would ever see a Montana Governor kick all the law abiding hikers and hunters off Montana's public lands. His career would be over. But Washington DC got away with it. When the feds shutdown all the federally controlled public lands in America, they revealed precisely how little they care. It was states and counties that stepped up to re-open the lands. We get it. Public lands matter to us.

During Montana’s legislative study of federal land management, we identified the most serious problems on federal lands today, chief among them are continuous reductions in public access, rapidly declining forest health, extreme wildfire fuel build up, lack of economic productivity, and lack of accountability out of Washing DC.

Although our study was supposed to consider all lawful options to correct the problems, some Democrat committee members would not allow discussion on the subject of transferring federal lands to the state. While our bi-partisan committee received some testimony on the issue, we were never really allowed to give this subject the due diligence it deserves. Naysayers suppressed the conversation by asserting Montanans would foolishly sell all the land if we were put in charge.

However, in closing remarks of our final legislative interim meeting, we had a breakthrough when a Democrat Senator pointed out that safeguards could be put into place to ensure transferred federal lands would remain in public status. He suggested that perhaps Montana could acquire 1% of the federal land in our state each year for 100 years. Eventually we began to see bi-partisan agreement that transferring control of federal lands to the state may be possible if handled correctly.

That breakthrough was preceded by incredibly enlightening testimony from Mr. Martin Goldney, Chief Negotiator for the Northwest Territories (NWT) of Canada who described how and why Canada recently transferred control of federal lands to the smaller, more nimble territorial government.

It took ten years of hard work to negotiate the deal, but this past spring both the Northwest Territories and Canada achieved a win-win arrangement that is responsive to local people and financially beneficial to all
parties.

In this arrangement, the federal government decided to pay the local government of the Northwest Territories to manage the public lands and resources. The Northwest Territories hired all the federal employees who had been working within the region, thus ensuring no loss of jobs and a continuation of related expertise. The Northwest Territories is giving the federal government 50% of the proceeds from natural resource revenues from these lands, and local tribal governments will receive a large share as well.

The big advantage is that land management decisions will be made by people who live in the affected region rather than a distant and somewhat disconnected federal government."When decisions are made by people closer to the subject matter, the decisions tend to be better,” Goldney noted.

I couldn't agree more. Here in America, if we endeavor to work constructively across party lines, we too can bring forth tremendous improvements in public land management to benefit people and the environment. It is time to begin earnest, fact based discussions and credible feasibility analysis on transfer of public lands. Suppression of information and fear mongering has got to stop. If we are thoughtful and agree to work together toward real solutions, there need not be any losers.

For more info, please sign in and leave your comments at
www.jenniferfielder.us and visit www.AmericanLandsCouncil.org

Thank you, and God bless you and the land we love.

Jennifer
Senator Jennifer Fielder
Montana State Senate - District 7
www.jenniferfielder.us
http://chumly.com/n/28909d4

Friday, September 19, 2014

Out for a hike in the national forest yesterday and so discouraged to run into so many trees dying and falling down.

We heard from USFS Service administrators in legislative hearings last week that if all goes well next year, under the new provisions of the Farm Bill, they may be able to treat up to 5,000 acres of the 5 million acres in Montana classified at imminent risk of declining forest health. That's 1/10th of 1%. At that rate it will take the federal government 1,000 years to clean up our forests. I think Montana can do better than that!


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