A thoroughly cleaned thicket of huckleberry bushes to Woods not Waste, a new nonprofit formed by a couple of Missoula residents to haul garbage out of the forests around town. Luke Jovin and Gennadiy Lemeza collected 17,000 pounds of trash last year while working their regular jobs, and their 501(c)(3) accepts donations to help others pay the fees to dump their unwanted mattresses, pallets and other debris at the landfill.
Grounded chokecherries to Unifi Service, the Atlanta-based company that fired six airline workers in Missoula last week. The workers were among a group that had protested low wages and poor job conditions, noting they were paid $9.65 an hour to start while workers doing the same jobs at airports elsewhere made much more. On the other hand, airborne huckleberries to Alaska Airlines, which offered all the former Unifi workers jobs starting at $12.51 an hour, in addition to better benefits.
Supportive huckleberries to Sen. Bryce Bennett, D-Missoula, who made a successful motion to indefinitely postpone a bill that would have restricted medical care for transgender youth, and to all the state legislators who helped block this terrible proposal. It started as House Bill 113, which failed in the House on a narrow vote, then was resurrected as House Bill 427. This second bill passed the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee before being postponed by senators 27-22, with help from eight Republicans.
Chokecherries tied to a bundle of money, since that’s all some legislators seem to care about, for House Bill 112, which seeks to ban transgender athletes from competing in school sports. Earlier this week, the bill was amended so that it would nullify itself if the federal government withheld education funding as a result of its passage. The potential loss of money is a concern, certainly. Of even bigger concern is the ongoing attempt by legislators to discriminate against and bully the small number of transgender youth in Montana.
A counterbalance of huckleberries in recognition of all the good legislation being signed into law this session. While a number of bills passed by the Legislature are cause for deep concern, and in some cases are constitutionally questionable as well, other proposals aim to make improvements all Montanans can cheer. Among the recent ones:
- HB 252, which provides tax credits to businesses for worker training and education.
- HB 35, which creates a Missing Indigenous Persons Review Commission within the Department of Justice; and HB 98, which extends funding for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Task Fork and the Looping in Native Communities grant program.
- HB 43, which expands telehealth services that were originally put in place because of COVID-19. It’s worth noting that this bill passed through the legislature without a single vote of opposition before it was signed by Gov. Greg Gianforte.
This editorial represents the views of the Missoulian Editorial Board: Publisher Jim Strauss, Executive Editor Jim Van Nostrand and Opinion Editor Tyler Christensen.