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Daines talks border wall funding, MMIW crisis, and ELD rules

Posted at 3:42 PM, Feb 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-21 18:22:17-05

GREAT FALLS – After a visit with Senator Jon Tester on Tuesday, MTN News caught up with Senator Steve Daines to discuss the same issues Wednesday.

When it comes to funding priorities at Malmstrom Air Force Base following President Trump’s emergency declaration last week, concerns were raised that money for the southern border wall could come from military projects, including at Malmstrom.

Daines emphasized the importance of both securing the southern border and protecting important projects related to military spending. He went on to say he’s stayed in contact with the Trump administration and believes funding concerns at Malmstrom may be premature.

“The President was here in Great Falls in July. I remember I proudly pointed out to him the critical mission of Malmstrom. He fully supports this mission. We need to do both. We need to ensure that we protect our Southern border and secure it as well as protect this important mission here in Great Falls,” he said.

MTN News also asked Senator Daines about the missing and murdered Indigenous women crisis and the problems families of victims often encounter, including lack of information from investigating agencies after a crime happens.

Daines said that a gap in communication is unacceptable and there are fundamental issues on protocol that must be addressed.

He serves on the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and repeated the possibility of hosting a U.S. Senate hearing on the MMIW crisis in Montana, saying there’s “no better place to hear the facts than on the ground near where the problem is.”

“The murder rate of Native women is ten times the national average. It is affecting us right here in Montana. I want to bring the leaders of Washington, D.C. out to Montana and hear firsthand from the front lines around what is going on so we can take that back to Washington so we can address the problem,” said Daines.

MTN News also spoke with the Senator about the recent legislation prohibiting the Department of Transportation from enforcing Electronic Logging Device rules on livestock haulers.

Daines said it’s one of the biggest agricultural issues around the state and that he’s working towards sound regulations.

“We want to make sure we have common sense workable regulations that ensures two things. One, the safety of the drivers and roadways. Two, regulations that actually allow our haulers to get their products to market.”

Daines said he was glad to see another extension in the recent legislation, which he believes will give them more time to find a solution.

Reporting by Keeley Van Middendorp for MTN News