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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

MT-Sen: Jon Tester on Legislature: "Accomplishments Abound"

Posted by Bob Brigham

Montana Senate President Jon Tester is widely expected to challenge embattled U.S. Senator Conrad Burns. Here is his hometown paper (actually, Tester lives on a farm outside the next town over, but this is the closest paper), the Havre Daily News:

As far as Senate President Jon Tester, D-Big Sandy, is concerned, accomplishments abound.

"It seemed like people tended to want to work together in this session than they had in the past and that was a surprise with some change over" to Democratic control, Tester said. "People took it in stride."

He is finishing out his fourth and final term as a state senator due to term limits.

As for those accomplishments, he did some good work.

Prescription Drugs:

Tester said helping Montanans get affordable health care was a goal he felt he accomplished this year. He sponsored one bill that would help make prescription drugs more affordable, and another that would help the state regulate prescription drug discount cards to protect people from scams.

The prescription drug benefit bill, SB 324, was the bill Tester said he was most proud of.

Guiding education legislation through the Senate, he said, was a major task as Senate president.


Guiding education legislation through the Senate, he said, was a major task as Senate president.

"We defined a quality education and that's something most people didn't think we could do" in one session, he said. "We pumped in a historic amount of money" as well.

Tester said more work remains, some of which will be completed by an interim committee that has until October to come up with a new funding formula for schools. Tester is on the committee, and Havre Public Schools Superintendent Kirk Miller is an ex officio member.

"We've got two legs of the stool firmly on the floor," he said. "We've got one more to get down."


Tester also worked on encouraging the use of renewable resources, with a bill that would make sure wind energy producers are taxed fairly. He also sponsored a funding measure that provides money toward rehabilitating the St. Mary Diversion.

What a difference a Democratic majority makes.

Posted at 01:13 PM in Montana | Technorati