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I am grateful for citizen’s initiatives. They identify problems and force legislators to take notice and listen. Unfortunately, they generate reams of propaganda and cost countless dollars that could be better spent elsewhere.

Take Initiatives I-185 and I-186. They both highlight serious problems facing Montanans. Shouldn’t needy Montanans have access to affordable health care? Shouldn’t hard rock mining companies, not taxpayers, pay for miner’s damage to Montana’s waters? These important questions are being sidestepped by our legislature. I commend the citizens who did the hard work to address them.

Although I-185 and I-186 have created substantial controversy, they’ve gotten lawmaker’s attention. Fear of I-185 passing nearly triggered a special session of the legislature. I-186, stimulated by legislative inaction on earlier mining bills, is now criticized by lawmakers as unworkable, bad for the economy and, not surprisingly, something that we should leave to the legislature.

Pass or fail, I-185 and I-186 have served a purpose. The electorate has been alerted to their significance and our elected officials have been put on notice that voters expect action. Sadly, it has taken controversy and a lot of money to reach this point. Resolution is now up to voters and the 2019 Legislature.

— Skip Kowalski, Stevensville

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