Tuesday, September 28, 2021

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Does North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's criminal-justice reform go far enough? Plus, Congress is running out of time to prevent a shutdown and default, and Oregon tackles climate change.

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The nation's murder rate is up, the Senate votes on raising the debt limit, the DEA warns about fake prescription painkillers, a new version of DACA could be on the way, and John Hinckley, Jr. could go free next year.

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A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Montanans Visit Tester's Offices to Urge Support for Climate Policies

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Thursday, September 9, 2021   

HELENA, Mont. -- Montanans are delivering a message to the offices of Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., across the state today: Support bold investments in the country's future.

Congress is considering a $3.5 trillion budget, which includes major investments to address climate change. Tester was instrumental in crafting the bipartisan infrastructure bill last month, which carried a $1 trillion price tag.

Caitlin Piserchia, climate and political organizer for the Sierra Club Montana chapter, said lawmakers now have a chance to pass an ambitious budget reconciliation bill.

"With the budget reconciliation bill, we have an opportunity to pass something three times the size with priorities that could be truly transformational for Montana and for the rest of the country," Piserchia asserted.

Montanans are delivering care packages to six Tester offices from Kalispell to Billings today. They are calling on the senator to support six priorities in the reconciliation bill, including moving the country toward 100% clean energy, repealing federal fossil-fuel subsidies and retrofitting and electrifying all schools and hospitals.

Congress is still working out the details of the reconciliation bill, the fate of which has been tied to the infrastructure bill.

Piserchia wants to see the measures pass in September while there is still the political will to move forward on them. She added it is also crucial to act on climate change now as it impacts on the country grow and in light of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which urged the world to act quickly to prevent more warming.

"Also, it's coming at a time when there are significant wildfires in Montana," Piserchia pointed out. "There's been a drought emergency, and that IPCC report just came out, concluding that we're coming closer to the end of our window to change the outcomes that we could be facing."

Piserchia noted they are also calling on Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., to support the budget reconciliation, but admitted it is a long shot. Daines voted against the infrastructure bill in August. Because of how it is crafted, the reconciliation bill just needs a simple majority in the Senate to pass.

Disclosure: Sierra Club, Montana contributes to our fund for reporting. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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