From agriculture to workers’ comp, a plethora of issues featured in cartoons.
This is one of the first cartoons I published. Bob Marks (R-Clancy) was pushing to develop a slurry pipeline to transport Montana coal. Farmers and ranchers decried the amount of water it would consume.
Democratic Gov. Ted Schwinden jumped on board with the coal slurry proposal.
Eventually, the Democratic party voiced its opposition to the coal slurry pipeline, much to Schwinden’s dismay.
In the early 1980s, Montana mined a lot of coal, but the market was soft.
Cue James Watt, Secretary of the Interior during the Reagan administration. Watt was big on unloading federal coal for low prices. The General Accounting Office deemed his approach irresponsible.
Powder River Basin in Montana held large reserves of coal. Watt’s efforts to sell off the coal raised a lot of questions.
Fort Union reserves were part of the Powder River Basin. Watts’s efforts to sell the coal cheap garnered attention from Congress.
In 1983, Don Greytak began plowing up a lot of prairie in eastern Montana – not a popular move among ranchers and conservationists.
In 1985, the Montana Tavern Association whined about tougher laws on drinking and driving.
The 1985 trial of Don and Dan Nichols, who had kidnapped Kari Swenson and killed a friend who tried to rescue her, received widespread attention in national, state and local press.
In 1986, the Montana High School Association debated whether girls’ basketball should switch to winter season or remain in the fall. Winter eventually won.
Workers’ Comp arose as an issue in 1986 and continued for several years.
Prior to State Fund, the state Department of Labor ran workers; comp insurance. It was not amenable to change.
Efforts to establish a supercollider research facility near Billings were pie-in-the-sky.
Conflict among PSC commissioners created a stir in 1987.
Ain’t it the truth?
An era ended in 1988 when Montana law no longer required trains to include cabooses.
1988 was a severe fire year, initially aggravated by the “let burn” policy.
Here’s one take on the perennial problem of prison overcrowding.
The workers’ comp fund problem continued into the early 1990s.
The Army Corps of Engineers did little to alleviate the water-flow conflict between upper Missouri sportsmen and lower Missouri barge pilots.
When Ted Turner bought the Flying D Ranch, issues of his bison herd arose.
The rate hikes to fix the workers’ comp fund created a lot of employer stress.