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Russ Tempel: OPI Defines Bullying; 2020 Census Is Critical; Bears Are Hungry

The weather in all four of the counties I represent has been just a bit marginal, a circumstance you all have clearly witnessed. For the rural folks, cleanup and road repair has come very slowly as Mother Nature has not cooperated. So please slow down and give the county road crews the opportunity to catch up.

As an Education Committee member who has listened to presentations on a number of bills addressing the issue of bullying, I assumed I knew what bullying is. Come to find out, the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) has now officially defined it for us:

“Bullying is when one or more students tease, threaten, spread rumors about, hit, shove or hurt another student over and over again.”

The committee was also given the results of the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The comprehensive list, running 64 pages, asked risk behavior questions, including tobacco, alcohol, vape and drug usage as a couple examples. The survey had 94 very pointed questions and is on the OPI website for those interested in seeing data about our youth and their habits and practices.

The next subject we were informed on is the 2020 census. It is going to be very important that everyone is counted, as Montana has a chance to pick up another legislative seat in D.C.

Lastly, we had a discussion about post-secondary tuition waivers, the costs of which will have to be distributed among other funding resources or tuition increases.

Hunting season is underway. Many localities are dealing with new rules for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). I attended a meeting sponsored by the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) that included Fish, Wildlife and Parks folks.

Not only are rules changed because of CWD, but the bear biologist explained the bears are extra hungry because of the early freeze. The federal rules for camp stays is a subject that had input from folks who were at the meeting. Not much to negotiate with there, the law is clear: There’s a 14-day stay limit on federal land. To make sure folks understood, an eight-page front-and-back document clarifying the rules and laws was passed out to attendees. If you would like a copy, get hold of the BOR office nearest to you.

Be safe and have a great hunting season.

Sen. Russ Tempel, Senate District 14 (406) 262-7778
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