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News Release

Lt. Governor Karl Ohs
State Capitol, Helena, MT 59620 Phone 406-444-3111

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anastasia Burton
March 7, 2001 (406) 444-5523

Lt. Governor Ohs to Meet with MRI Employees

(HELENA)---Lt. Governor Karl Ohs will meet Thursday morning at the Capitol with workers laid-off from Montana Resources Inc. in Butte. The Lt. Governor is scheduled to meet with Marsha Watt and other key organizers of a rally planned later that day in Helena in support of House Bill 177, which proposes to extend benefits to employees affected by the MRI shutdown.

Last month, Governor Judy Martz announced her opposition to HB 177, sponsored by Representative Jim Keane (D) of Butte. Governor Martz said, “This bill would leave out Asarco, Smurfit Stone, oil refineries, American Timber, and a number of other companies that have laid off hundreds of workers recently. I was elected to govern the State of Montana. We must not play favorites. We cannot choose one community over another, one company’s employees over another, or penalize all other companies for the sole benefit of just one.”

The Governor added, “If HB 177 were ammended to extend benefits for all Montana workers who are laid off, it would likely trigger an automatic tax increase for employers and employees in businesses that are still open.”

Lt. Governor Ohs, who will speak at the rally, said, “Our administration is very concerned about MRI’s unemployed workers, their families, and their community. I look forward to listening to Mrs. Watt and others affected by the shutdown, so we can continue to look for ways to help them.”

The meeting is set for 11:00 am in the Governor’s Office. Governor Martz is in Washington, DC testifying on energy and forest health issues.

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