Political Trough: 4 Day School Week in Montana?

Aaron Flint posted on February 05, 2013 14:01 :: 1740 Views

Once again, we have a stack of articles that may spark your interest from the angle of Montana politics.  The WSJ gives its take on the “Obamacare Flippers-” GOP Governors now accepting the Medicaid expansion, the AFL-CIO is headed to the White House, and RedState.com’s Horowitz writes of the “GOP Snakes in the Grass.” 

That and more is included below. 

Montana Media Trackers:  Litigation, Opposition to Pacific Coal Terminals Leading to Montana Coal Layoffs

“At least 300 jobs have been lost from mines in Montana and Wyoming since early 2012, according to preliminary data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration,” the AP story noted.

According to Clinch, these attempts to stop and delay the construction of new coal terminals are creating a burden for coal producers as they plan for the future.

“It’s stopping growth in the industry,” Clinch said.

WSJ’s Stephen Moore:  “Bird-Brained” Enforcement of Federal Regs

Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana wants to know why the Obama administration is bringing criminal prosecutions against oil and gas companies for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act but not prosecuting wind farms that kill an estimated 400,000 birds each year. Moreover, many of the birds killed by wind turbines are endangered.

Meanwhile, the wind industry has been working with the Obama administration to exempt many wind farms from the migratory bird act. Some environmental groups have questioned this favoritism, though others, like the Sierra Club, have stayed quiet.

Daily Caller: AFL-CIO headed to White House

But union members are far more concerned about excluding low-wage immigrant workers, says a Jan. 29-30 poll of 1,000 likely voters by Rasmussen.

Approximately 90 percent of union members said the reduction of illegal immigration was important to them, while only 9 percent thought it was not important.

Unions members also split 51 percent to 47 percent against an amnesty for illegal immigrants, the poll showed.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/02/05/progressives-union-members-are-sharply-split-on-immigration-poll-shows/#ixzz2K2A9YsmB

WSJ Editorial Board: GOP’s Obamacare Flippers

Here’s how it works: Arizona will tax hospitals and insurers for the $154 million. Then it will return $154 million to the health industry via more Medicaid business that will cover the cost of the tax and then some. The money needs to make a round trip from providers to the state and back to providers to game that 67% federal matching rate.

This subsidy honeypot can’t last forever, which is why other Governors are more skeptical about this Obama Medicaid windfall. When the money inevitably runs out, states will retain permanently larger obligations and lose budget autonomy for a generation or two as health care crowds out other priorities like education and roads.

Red State’s Daniel Horowitz: Snakes in the GOP Grass

Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that the power players at American Crossroads are financing a new group to help fund candidates in the primaries who oppose conservatives. In light of their smashing success electing candidates like Tommy Thompson, Rick Berg, Denny Rehberg, George Allen, Heather Wilson, and Linda Lingle, they will expand their roadshow into the primaries during the next election cycle in search of the next candidate who is indistinguishable from his/her Democrat opponent.

Lee Newspapers reported on State Sen. Llew Jones’ education funding bill.  It’s interesting to note that the environmental groups are also opposing a bill that would give more money to education. 

It is roughly split equally between new money for schools and local property tax relief, a combination that observers say is the key to its bipartisan success. New money comes to schools from natural resource revenue, and it ties school funding to future oil revenue in a way which appeals to some Republicans who would like to have another constituency pushing for natural resource development. State revenue from natural resource development would replace some school money that now primarily comes from local property taxes, freeing many districts from oppressive local school levies.

Teacher unions are backing the Republican’s bill. So is the Democratic Superintendent of Public Instruction, Denise Juneau. Some conservative-leaning school groups are on board, too. At a hearing last week, the measure received a long line of supporters.

It did get opposition from an environmental group opposed to the way school funding is tied to future oil and gas development.

Montana Media Trackers: Juneau Touts 4-Day School Week

According to Juneau, over 60 of Montana’s 419 school districts have recently switched to a four-day school week, and are seeing positive results including reduced costs, fewer student and teacher absences, and increased student participation in extracurricular activities.

“I recently visited with the superintendent from Centerville who said, as a result of changing to a four day school week, students have 721 fewer absences, and teacher and student morale is up,” Juneau stated during the address, ”This allows every student an opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities.”

This article is an oldie but goodie…which got me thinking- if the USDA doesn’t want certain snack foods in the hallways of school buildings across the country, are the same foods banned from USDA office buildings in D.C. and elsewhere? Should the ban on unhealthy food in snack machines apply to federal office buildings as well, or is this a do as I say not as I do?  

From The Hill:

The 160-page regulation from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) would enact nutrition standards for “competitive” foods not included in the official school meal.

In practice, the proposed rules would replace traditional potato chips with baked versions and candy with granola. Regular soda is out, though high-schoolers may have access to diet versions.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/nutrition/280613-soda-candy-out-under-proposed-school-snack-rules#ixzz2JgVyyYZ2
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