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Teen drivers don't need another law Regarding "Gillan urges graduated licenses" (April 6 Gazette), House Bill 403 sponsored by Kim Gillan shows the parents and young adults of Montana that she doesn't trust them!

I am not sure what laws she supported in California before she came to Montana; however she might be interested to know that Montana does have laws restricting all people who have a driver's license!

Seat belt laws restrict how many people can be in a car, underage drinking and DUI laws address substance abuse, and curfew laws control how late our young adults can be out.

Drivers education classes, insurance companies and, most importantly, parents have more control and impact than any repetitive law would.

Gillan has just announced to parents and the young drivers in our community that she doesn't believe they can be trusted and that they are not following the current laws we have on the books. Gov. Martz pointed out that driving in Montana is a privilege that can be taken away and is a serious responsibility.

Last fall my teen son earned his driver's license. No one is more concerned about his ability to drive safely than I am; however, this bill does not provide additional safety restrictions that are not already law. It sounds good and gets good press in an election year, but wouldn't a positive approach to our young drivers and their already anxious parents be a better solution?

I ask Gillan to join me in supporting groups like SADD, and our local drivers education programs and instructors. Gillan should stop telling parents and young drivers she doesn't trust them.

Denis Pitman, Billings

Editor's note: The graduated driver's license bill sponsored by Kim Gillan in 2001 was passed by the Montana House and Senate, but vetoed by Judy Martz.NPRC stands in the way of jobs Well, it seems the Northern Plains Resource Council is going to go right on stopping any possibility for industry and jobs in our state. In their self-centered preoccupation with preventing industry, they will never see an environmental impact statement they will like. Their selfishness is only exceeded by the selfishness of the AARP, an organization of over 33 million seniors (most of them rich) that throws its weight behind every liberal, socialistic, unchristian, taxing scheme they can saddle our future generations with.

This NPRC will probably vote overwhelmingly for Baucus who uses the excuse of Montana's joblessness as a forum for meetings to run for office. He'll never create any jobs. This fellow voted in lockstep with Kennedy, Byrd and company. In return they let him have a few million dollars to go home and buy his office for another term (the real soft money). But I'll bet the NPRC won't vote for Keith Bales, a man with guts enough to face up to them and actually try to help industry and create jobs.

A person has to wonder what the NPRC will do when their earth-loving buddies in the East, who provide them with funds, decide that maybe ranching is bad for a perfect world.

We need for the NPRC to get out of the way of industry. Maybe they don't realize that everything they have, every bell and whistle, probably came about at the expense of the environment somewhere.

Oh yes, if we can be fortunate enough to get some rain and a runoff, there will be salt in the water of the rivers from all the many thousands of miles of alkali flats we have here. Maybe the NPRC should call our Lord up and tell him he needs an environmental impact statement.

John H. Mellor, BroadusMontana must stop drunken driving There is a hum in the air these days concerning lowering the BAC level to .08. Many, including myself, view this step as one in the right direction. After all, who can argue that drinking and driving is a serious problem in Montana. Almost weekly we read about a fourth, fifth, sixth and even seventh DUI conviction, not to mention the list of DUI offender names that are printed in the local news.

The fact is far too much alcohol use and abuse plagues the citizens of this state. Every person is subject to the negative effects of alcohol either directly or indirectly!

Yet, there are some among us who claim the federal government is blackmailing Montana by withholding highway construction funding if it doesn't adopt .08. Might I suggest this effort is not blackmail, manipulation, or strong-arming, but an incentive to be proactive and progressive. Granted, .08 will not solve the drunken-driving problem, but it is a step in the right direction.

Perhaps most troubling is a comment by Sen. Bill Glaser printed in the April 12 Gazette. Glaser stated, "Change and an open-container ban would 'radically change' the social structure in Montana." He went on to suggest we need to design a solution in a "Montana way." Let's remember, the current "social structure" has resulted in a higher than national average in alcohol-related deaths statewide.

The leaders of Montana should be encouraged to think and act progressively so that our state will grow and prosper both socially and economically. This is the 21st century; it's time Montana lets go of the pistol-packin-whisky-drinking attitude and catches up to the rest of the nation. A good place to start is adopting .08.

Lisa Posada, Billings

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