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An update on the first month of the legislative session

With the first month behind us in the Montana Legislature I wanted to take the time to send an update from Helena. It has been a busy and productive few weeks.

As President Pro Tempore and part of Senate Leadership, I have an extra responsibility to not only look out for my constituents in Eastern Montana but to also bring legislators together and think about what is best for Montana as a whole.

I recently introduced legislation to restrict foreign adversaries, such as China and Chinese Communist Party affiliated businesses, from buying or leasing agricultural land and critical infrastructure in Montana. Not only is the prospect of foreign adversaries gaining a foothold in Montana an obvious and significant risk to the security of our State, but I want to ensure Montanans remain in control of our precious resources as well. The recent incident of the Chinese spy balloon over Montana highlights the need for this legislation to protect our national security and sovereignty.

As your senator, I also feel a great responsibility to ensure the integrity of our elections in Montana. I have introduced legislation to double the number of post-election audits in our precincts to check that election results are in fact accurate. While I sincerely appreciate the hard work of our county clerks, election administrators, and various volunteers that participate in ballot watching and election canvassing, increasing the number of audits will help eliminate human error and the rare intention of bad actors to interfere.

Finally, I recently achieved unanimous votes in the Senate to pass my bill creating an occupational therapy licensure compact. This legislation streamlines regulations on occupational therapy among Montana and other states, increasing opportunities for occupational therapists in Montana while also helping alleviate shortages of care in Montana.

In my next update I plan to tell you about my work on digital and biometric privacy which are increasingly important issues in our technological age. Stay tuned for more good news on those topics, and as always, please reach out to me with your ideas and feedback. It's an honor to serve.

Ken Bogner, R-Miles City, represents Senate District 19 in the Montana Legislature and is the President Pro Tempore of the State Senate.


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