Liberty is still alive at the University
This week’s newsletter features an introduction from Frontier Institute’s Summer Intern, Liam McCollum.
Editor’s Note: This week’s newsletter features an introduction from Frontier Institute’s Summer Intern, Liam McCollum. Liam is a bright young student at the University of Montana, and a passionate supporter of freedom and free markets. He’ll be with us for the summer and helping us put together emails and articles to help keep you informed. We are glad to have him on board!
Hello, my name is Liam McCollum, and I want to introduce myself as I will be working with the Frontier Institute for the next couple of months. I am honored to have this opportunity to take part in such a great organization that has already made an impressive impact in the state of Montana.
I am currently a student at the University of Montana studying Philosophy, Journalism, and Pre-Law, and I’m also a photographer and a podcast host. I started my podcast, The Liam McCollum Show, during my sophomore year of college and have continued releasing liberty-focused interviews for about the last year and a half.
Kendall Cotton and I actually first met when he agreed to appear on my podcast to talk about the health care reforms mentioned in last week’s newsletter that the Frontier Institute advanced through the legislature this last session with the help of all of you.
I’ve interviewed economics professors, a Montana state senator, two presidential candidates, and journalists from Reason Magazine, The Washington Post, the Mises Institute, the New York Times, and many more. My interview topics range from food freedom, government interventions in the economy, hyperinflation in Venezuela, and military interventions worldwide to philosophical discussions about property rights.
My passion for promoting liberty and free markets, understanding economics, and connecting with people that share these principles and ideals has motivated me to continue my podcast while being a full-time student. It has now also provided me the opportunity to connect with Frontier Institute’s readers.
I look forward to the weeks ahead!
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- Missoula County is evaluating plans to scrap regulations that drive up home prices by limiting housing development. Intending to free up space for cheaper multi-family housing and reduce costs for developers, the county is considering removing a current requirement that each housing unit must have two parking spots. Other proposals include changing zoning restrictions on the number of housing units per acre and reducing standards for multi-family households.
We are glad to see Missoula taking steps to get rid of a red tape and allow for more housing development. There is a lot of work to be done. For example, Missoula reserves multi-dwelling houses and multi-dwelling buildings to only five of the city’s 16 residential zoning districts. For a college town where students are desperately seeking any type of affordable housing available, a larger supply of diverse housing types in more locations is ideal.
- Matthew Mitchell of the Mercatus Center argues that states should repeal all Certificate of Need laws as the US recovers from the pandemic. These laws restrict the supply of healthcare in 35 states by requiring caregivers to prove the “need” for their service in their community before being given license to operate. On top of restricting the supply, the laws increase prices even more with compliance costs and fees. Montana passed the most significant CON reform seen in the US this last legislative session.
All states should replicate Montana’s success in repealing Certificate of Need laws. Montana’s reforms take effect in October and will remove government barriers to entry for practitioners wanting to meet the demand for affordable and competitive healthcare.
Active Forest Management
- When poor forest management and a changing climate lead to record-setting wildfires, it threatens our lives, wilderness and also our economy, argues American Conservation Coalition’s director of grassroots programming Kaleigh Cunningham. Fires can be destructive to the tourism industry in Montana, which brings in about $3.7 billion annually. Cunningham argues streamlining forest management regulations would make it easier to do forest cleanups, timber harvests and controlled burns.
Ask any Montana logger—when we allow active forest management it leads to healthier forests in the long run. Government at all levels should be focused on mitigating the risk of severe wildfires in the future by using all the tools at our disposal to cultivate healthy forests. And yes, that includes targeted logging projects.