Author

Arren Kimbel-Sannit

Arren Kimbel-Sannit

Arren Kimbel-Sannit is an Arizona-bred journalist who has covered politics, policy and power building at every level of government. Before getting his dose of northern exposure, Arren worked as a reporter in all manner of Arizona newsrooms, for the Dallas Morning News and for POLITICO in Washington, D.C. He has a special interest in how land-use decisions affect working-class people, which he displayed through reporting on the epidemic of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. for the Los Angeles Times and PBS Newshour. He's also covered housing, agriculture, the Trump presidency and more.

‘Personhood amendment’ fails Senate vote

By: - April 14, 2021

Republicans in the Senate failed to gather enough votes Wednesday to send to voters a constitutional amendment that would define “personhood” in the state constitution and effectively ban abortions throughout Montana. The so-called “personhood amendment,” proposed in the form of Belgrade GOP Rep. Caleb Hinkle’s House Bill 337, received 29 of the 34 votes necessary […]

Legislature officially enters judicial appointments lawsuit

By: - April 13, 2021

An attorney representing legislative leadership formally filed a motion with the state Supreme Court this afternoon for the Legislature to intervene in a court case against Senate Bill 140, a proposal signed by the governor that would give the executive the ability to fill judicial vacancies in lieu of the Judicial Nomination Commission. Lawmakers this […]

Public assistance verification plan hits snag in committee

By: - April 13, 2021

A House panel Monday afternoon voted to table legislation that would end Medicaid “continuous eligibility” in Montana and require state health officials to cross-check public assistance eligibility across a series of databases after several Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the bill. Without explaining their votes, Reps. Sharon Greef, R-Florence, Greg Frazer, R-Deer Lodge, Mallerie Stromswold, […]

Court administrator asks Supreme Court to intervene while lawmakers move ahead to join lawsuit

By: and - April 13, 2021

In an emergency filing with the state’s highest court, the Montana Courts Administrator is asking the justices to take jurisdiction over the release of thousands of her emails, and stop the legislative subpoena which called upon the executive branch to take the judicial branch’s records on behalf of the legislative branch. Randy Cox, attorney for […]

Montana House votes down amendment to transgender sports bill protecting Title IX funds

By: - April 12, 2021

The state House on Monday voted not to concur with amendments from the Senate to legislation restricting the ability of transgender students to participate in school sports that would have protected Montana’s federal education funding if the bill became law. The Senate amendment to House Bill 112 would void the act in its entirety if […]

State budget gets Senate approval

By: - April 8, 2021

The Montana Senate on Thursday signed off on the state’s $12.6 billion budget, rejecting amendments to defund Medicaid expansion and restore cuts made earlier in the process, among others, as House Bill 2 makes its penultimate steps to the governor’s desk. Lawmakers in the upper chamber passed the spending package on a bipartisan 34-16 vote, […]

Bill aimed at clamping down on press coverage of court controversies fails in House

By: - April 7, 2021

A contingent of Republican moderates joined with Democrats Wednesday to vote down legislation that would have created certain requirements for media coverage of court cases and criminal trials following debate on the extent of the First Amendment’s protections for statements in the press that are not entirely accurate. House Bill 711, sponsored by Rep. Mark […]

Three visions for recreational marijuana emerge from Montana House

By: - April 6, 2021

Montana’s medical marijuana program had a rocky beginning — a ballooning number of dispensaries and patients following legalization in 2004 led to raids by the feds, lawsuits and regular intervention from Republican lawmakers that kneecapped the program after nearly killing it altogether. All that is no secret to Rep. Mike Hopkins. The Missoula Republican often […]

Flagship pot bill rescued from the brink after GOP dissent

By: - April 5, 2021

Mike Milburn, Gov. Greg Gianforte’s senior advisor, was on Thursday walking the Capitol halls past the legislative chambers — where the governor had just visited to gladhand and backslap with House Republicans — when Sen. Jason Ellsworth, R-Hamilton, appeared from a side door to the Senate floor to get his attention. Milburn leaned in to […]

House passes monumental COVID-19 aid bill

By: - March 30, 2021

Less than three weeks after President Joe Biden signed the mammoth American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion federal COVID-19 recovery package, Montana lawmakers have shepherded a bill to spend most of Montana’s share of that sum across its first major hurdle. House Bill 632, which passed a House vote on a wide bipartisan margin […]

Zoning debate in Legislature heats up with ADU proposal

By: - March 29, 2021

Montana’s priciest cities are once more opposed to legislation that would force local governments to loosen their zoning restrictions in an effort to stimulate the supply of affordable housing in the state. It’s a goal that has engendered some bitter fights this session as policymakers in Helena work to figure out the extent of their […]

Gianforte completes state-mandated course, calls wolf trapping violation ‘slight misstep’

By: - March 25, 2021

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte this week successfully completed the state-mandated course that he had to take after receiving a warning from the state Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department in February for trapping and killing a wolf without the proper certification. A spokesman for the department confirmed that Gianforte completed the wolf trapping certification class on […]