The Prince of the Rimrocks: Raising Insurance Rates for Your Local Fire Department

How might Representative Rehberg’s decision to suddenly embrace litigation when it gives him the chance to sue and city and its firefighters impact you? Oh, just decreased safety and increased taxes because of insurance costs, says East Helena Fire Chief Bill Wegner:

Wegner added that if the Billings loses the case it would be an eye-opener for local departments. He says it is already tough to get people to step into the role of incident commander and with added pressure of litigation it could be even more difficult.
Drake commented "It’s demoralizing and it just takes a tremendous amount of time, people are afraid of the unknown of going in in front of attorneys and judges and juries and all that stuff. And it is not something that they are used to doing. so there is a burden on the volunteers yet again."

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • Not to mention implications for safety. Will firefighters be pressured to put fires near areas of those who might sue above structure fires or fires where lives may be at stake?

  • Since Rehberg is one of the initial members of the congressional Tea Party Caucus, this shouldn't be surprising. He's using that famous Tea Party logic of less regulation, lower taxes and smaller government unless it somehow personally affects the individual. You know, like the Teabagger on Medicare who's against government health care programs.

  • A position you and Representative Rehberg no doubt hold when patients need to sue their medical providers…oh, wait.

    What "accountability" would have been reasonable, Swede? Should the Fire Department have stayed at the Rehberg property until the end of fire danger? So September?

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