Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

Dear Editor: Humbled by the Responsibility of Serving You

Dear Editor,

The 68th Montana Legislative session is nearly upon us and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to again serve the constituents of House District 71 in my second term. As is always the case the biennial 90-day session will be packed with a lot of bills, currently 4227 bill titles. There will need to be a lot of research, reading, and listening to be done. It is important that the public participate and provide needed input to their representatives to make sure that their voices are heard. Public testimony in person or via Zoom during the committee meetings is critical to the committee deliberations. You can track, read, sign-up to testify, and follow a bill through the Montana Legislature website: Additionally, you can watch live or recorded videos of all committee and floor sessions via this site. This is a great transparency tool that enables you to be part of the legislative process. I use it often to review committee testimony and deliberations.

I will again serve on the Agriculture, Natural Resources, and State Administration and Veteran Affairs committees, as well as the on-call committees of Ethics and Legislative Administration. Committee work consumes about 2/3 of the day with the floor sessions taking the remaining 1/3. I work to read/listen to and answer emails, texts, and/or phone calls in between these obligations or the evening/ early morning hours. I do listen to/read all communications from constituents, but I’m not always able to answer directly. We have no assigned staff to assist us with this.

I am often asked what my priorities are, and my reply “is to work to make government more efficient and work for the benefit of the citizens of Montana.” There are many bills drafted that are part of the Governor’s Red Tape Reduction task force that works towards that priority. I have requested a bill draft that will eliminate the need to have vehicle titles notarized before a transfer/sale. This will streamline transactions between individuals and avoid the need to find a Notary to complete the transaction, as many of these occur during non-business hours and/or on weekends.

Another priority will be how to utilize the revenue surplus, which is $2.4 billion, that will provide the most benefit to the taxpayers. As one would expect there are many proposals to consider. I feel strongly that these one-time dollars should be used to satisfy state debts (bonds), invested to support mental health, address deferred maintenance infrastructure, and directed to taxpayer relief. Since these are one-time dollars, we must be careful to not expand and/or create new government programs that obligate future generations. We’ll have the opportunity to enhance career and technical education to help fill the workforce void; support investment in workforce housing; address funding issues for our long-term care facilities and providers; and address the rising property tax burdens.

Montana truly has a citizen legislature and works best when all are involved. High school students can participate and get an up-close view by serving as a Page for a week. If any Junior or Senior is interested, please contact me to get your application in as soon as possible.

There will be many opportunities as well as challenges ahead in setting the future direction for our great State. I’m humbled by the responsibility that you imparted to me and thank you for this opportunity to represent you in this crucial process. Wishing you success and happiness in the coming New Year.

Representative Ken Walsh

House District 71


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