Montana’s International Trade...

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker just released a report containing data on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Montana’s exports:
* $791 million in goods exports from Montana to TPP countries in 2014, including $62 million in goods exports to Japan, $19 million to Malaysia, and $2 million to Vietnam

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Feds Open New Office in Helena


The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has opened a new field office in Helena to ensure compliance with federal labor laws. The new office is located in the Max Baucus Federal Building, at 10 West 15th St., Suite 1800, Helena, MT 59626.

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Judge Puts Fracking Rules on Hold



The oil and gas industry which has advanced the American energy revolution of hydraulic fracturing started off the month of October with an unexpected victory over a long-time, regulatory antagonist.
On Sept. 30, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s “fracking” rules released in March were suspended indefinitely by U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl.

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President Obama Nixes Keystone XL Pipeline

After a seven-year odyssey involving the U.S. government and one of its closest allies, President Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline project that would have funneled oil sands crude from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
“The Keystone XL pipeline does not serve the national interests of the United States,” Obama said in a speech from the White House Friday morning, flanked by Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden.

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Suited for Success


HRDC hosted the 5th annual Suited for Success, an event where men in need were able to get free suits and other work clothing such as trousers, shirts, and ties. 210 suits were given away at this year’s event. The suits provide the men with proper clothing for interviews and jobs. In addition to the clothes, three men were given free haircuts by Bold Beauty Academy.

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New Center will Help Veterans Launch New Businesses


The establishment of a special center to help veterans start their own businesses is stirring lots of excitement within economic development circles.
Last week, a grand opening celebration marked the establishment of the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) in Billings on the fourth floor of Granite Towers, 222 N. 32nd St. The office will serve a six state region that comprises Region VIII of the US Small Business Administration (SBA).
Featured speaker at the event was Barbara Carson, Acting Associate Administration of the Office of Veterans Business Development of the SBA. Carson oversees the operation of 15 VBOC programs across the country.

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ND Files Own Suit on Clean Power Plan


Almost immediately after the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan was posted on the federal register, dozens of states filed a lawsuit challenging the regulations.
But North Dakota didn’t join those other states as co-plaintiffs. Instead Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, a Republican who is expected to run for governor in 2016, filed a separate suit against the federal government.
The Clean Power Plan requires a 32 percent nationwide decline in carbon emissions from power production by 2030. Stenehjem says there are aspects of the situation that are unique to North Dakota warranting a separate lawsuit.
“We can and often do join other states in these type lawsuits and there are benefits to that,” Stenehjem told Watchdog, “but in this case there were reasons to file separately.”

Read more: ND Files Own Suit on Clean Power Plan

Montana Has Fairest Taxes

Montana tops a list of states that have the fairest tax system.
WalletHub has used tax data to create a list of not only states that they consider to have the fairest tax system but also of states where the low and middle income seem over-taxed and the high income brackets are undertaxed. Montana is not on those lists.

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Occupational Licensing Imposes Silent Restraints on Productivity, Freedom

Occupational licensure is one of those relatively obscure topics that it’s hard to get people fired up about. Most people are not aware that their barbers, their florists, their personal trainers, all need permission from the government to practice their professions. Even when they do know, most people don’t regard it as a big deal. The mindset that consumer protection trumps all other concerns is pervasive, even when this assumption fails an objective cost benefit analysis.

Read more: Occupational Licensing Imposes Silent Restraints on Productivity, Freedom

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