Whenever a statewide elected official agrees to take phone calls from listeners on a local talk show, the lines are jammed.

That was the case on Monday when Montana’s Attorney General Austin Knudsen appeared on KGVO’s Talk Back show.

Knudsen’s first statement addressed the introduction last week of a statewide organization to fight human trafficking and the involvement of the Montana Beer and Wine Distributors.

“Beer and wine distributors?” asked Knudsen. “Look, they've got beer trucks crisscrossing the state every day, and they thought, well, heck, why aren't we training our drivers? You know, they're in the bars. They're in the backs of truck stops. They're in storage rooms that that most people don't have access to. Why aren't we training our guys on what to look for the signs of human trafficking?”

One listener asked if Knudsen would act to improve traffic safety along the dangerous Highway 93 South where two recent accidents took the lives of one woman and a 10 year-old child.

“Those are awful accidents, and of course I'd seen the stories,” he said. “But you and I spoke last time. I do remember, actually right after that I spoke to the Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel of the Montana Highway Patrol. They're the top two top two officers in that division. People are going to break the law. The answer is we got to have more troopers down there writing tickets.”

One caller, a long-haul truck driver, commented to Knudsen about all the drivers he sees texting or talking on the phone while driving, and asked the Attorney General if he favored a cell phone ban while driving, which is extremely difficult to prove.

“You've put your finger on exactly why I've always opposed passing a texting and driving ban or cell phone ban on a statewide level,” he said. “There are certainly municipalities in Montana that have done it, but that's exactly the evidentiary problem. As a prosecutor, how do you prove that? The officer says he saw but you know if that statement gets in dispute, unless we've got some dash cam footage or some video from somewhere, these cases are very tricky to prove.”

In closing, a listener asked Knudsen what he was going to do about the recently cancelled Keystone XL Pipeline project.

“Yes, there is something we can do.” he said. “I along with 13 other state attorneys general have sent a very sharp letter to President Biden asking him to reconsider. You may have seen some media around that. But look, I think we're going to have to sue the Biden administration. There's no sense sugarcoating it. I do not think that we're going to convince the president to reconsider this action.”

Attorney General Knudsen appears on Talk Back once a month to take questions from listeners.

 

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