Thursday: EFCA, Tester Wilderness, Wolf Hunts

By Beacon Staff

Good morning; on the Beacon today, a vote on legislation to make it easier for unions to form in the workplace, known as the Employee Free Choice Act, will prove a test for Montana’s senators. Rumblings over planning issues in Flathead County have escalated to explosive debate, with heated public meetings, a lawsuit, calls for the planning director’s resignation and allegations of illegal planning activities and fiscal abuse. The ‘Over the Hill Gang’ rambles over the peaks and trails of Glacier Park as a way to stay young. Twenty-year-old Cote Remi Wheeler is charged with felony arson and burglary in connection with a December break-in and fire at the Echo Lake Store near Bigfork. And Dave Skinner lambastes Congress for passing the climate change legislation.

Secrecy surrounding Sen. Jon Tester’s plan to designate new Wilderness in Montana is drawing criticism. A new study shows Montana’s workers’ compensation costs are among the highest in the country. Montana and Idaho are moving to host the first open wolf hunts in the U.S. State lawmakers praised Gov. Brian Schweitzer for his oversight of stimulus spending. A federal district court judge has ruled against a Bush administration plan to protect bull trout. Nineteen friend-of-the-court briefs have been filed hoping to sway Montana Supreme Court justices in their ruling on physician-assisted suicide. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Bozeman practicing her piano with cellist Michael Reynolds.

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