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By Blair Miller, Daily Montanan

Proponents of Senate Bill 208 line up to testify in favor of the measure at the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee on Jan. 31, 2023.

Republican lawmakers in Montana want to preemptively stop any local governments from banning various energy sources amid a national conversation about gas stove bans, even though no local governments are considering such a prohibition, the sponsor said Tuesday.

More than a dozen proponents spoke in favor of Senate Bill 208, sponsored by Sen. Jason Small, R-Busby, including representatives from energy companies, restaurants, the building industry and unions, who said such bans would hurt their respective business sectors.

“Basically, just energy freedom,” Small told the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee to summarize his bill.

Opponents said the measure was another attempt by the state to take local control away from city and county governments, which they said should have the freedom to make their own decisions, much as states have those rights in the nation’s federalist system.


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