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.

Montana to axe expanded unemployment benefits funded by feds, create back-to-work cash bonus

By: - May 4, 2021

The state Department of Labor and Industry on Tuesday paired its announcement of a new direct payment-based workforce incentive created from federal COVID-19 aid with news that Montana will soon be the first state to decline federally-funded, expanded unemployment insurance benefits related to the pandemic, increased payments that would otherwise be available through September. This […]

That’s a wrap: 67th Legislature is in the book

By: , , and - May 2, 2021

“The End” — not typically how news stories start, but the end came for the 67th Legislature, and by most accounts, it was one of the most memorable and consequential in the state’s history as a Republican supermajority swept into office, including capturing the governor’s chair. Because of the overwhelming number of Republicans, free to […]

It’s ‘sine die’ for the 2021 Montana Legislature

By: and - April 29, 2021

One of this legislative session’s defining issues was also the subject of its final (and among its most chaotic) debates — the implementation of recreational marijuana in the state. Lawmakers sent House Bill 701, the flagship plan for implementing the ballot initiative legalizing adult-use marijuana that passed last year, to the desk of Gov. Greg […]

Bullock-appointed judge confirmed

By: - April 29, 2021

In a dramatic turn of events in the final day of a legislative session partly marked by a brewing fight between lawmakers and the judiciary, the Montana Senate confirmed the nomination of First Judicial Court Judge Chris Abbott, one of three judicial appointments made by former Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock that lawmakers have debated this […]

Special committee focused on email, lobbying efforts of judiciary

By: and - April 28, 2021

A Republican-led legislative probe into alleged bias and improper lobbying by members of the judiciary released a draft report of its findings on Wednesday. That report largely restated arguments from the panel’s initial meetings that the Supreme Court was pre-judging bills likely to face legal challenges through polls issued by a lobbying organization representing district […]

House approves Gianforte amendment to vaccine bill

By: - April 28, 2021

The Montana House has approved an amendment from Gov. Greg Gianforte to legislation preventing businesses — including those in the hospital and long-term care industries — from requiring vaccines, for COVID-19 or any other virus, as a condition of employment and service, likely clearing the way for the bill to become law. The language in […]

Congressional redistricting requirements inserted into elections bill

By: - April 27, 2021

The state House and Senate on Tuesday approved an amendment to an elections policy bill that would impose statutory restrictions on the state commission tasked with drawing Montana’s newly awarded congressional districts, raising questions about the Legislature’s authority to weigh in on the reapportionment process. As initially introduced, House Bill 506, sponsored by Rep. Paul […]

Recreational pot bill headed to governor’s desk

By: - April 27, 2021

After a whirlwind 24 hours that saw the fate of the bill change dramatically on more than one occasion, the Legislature has passed House Bill 701, landmark legislation that implements the recreational marijuana program that voters approved last year. The state House on Tuesday morning passed the bill as amended by the Senate on third […]

Montana to get second congressional district per Census count

By: - April 26, 2021

Montana on Monday made history — with the help of number crunchers and surveyors from the U.S. Census Bureau — becoming the first state to lose a congressional seat and then gain one back. The Census announced Monday that Montana would be one of six states to pick up at least one congressional seat — […]

Updated: Pot bill hits hangup in House, will face another vote

By: - April 26, 2021

A high-wire act to pass massive legislation implementing recreational marijuana in Montana before the expected end of the legislative session later this week has hit a snag: the state House voted down substantial amendments from the Senate to House Bill 701 that found a compromise on some of the cannabis industry’s key concerns, before passing […]

Here’s where the Legislature’s investigation into the judiciary sits as the session nears its end

By: - April 22, 2021

The 2021 Legislature may be winding down, with remaining priorities and obligations falling into place in what could be the penultimate week of the session, but at least one committee will be working past adjournment sine die. That’s the Select Committee on Judicial Accountability and Transparency. The panel, formed this month as part of the Legislature’s response […]

Flagship pot bill emerges from Senate committee

By: - April 21, 2021

They may have just missed 4/20, by which point they had hoped to see House Bill 701 hit the floor, but a committee of Senate lawmakers succeeded Wednesday evening in passing a heavily amended version of a bill to implement and tax recreational marijuana in Montana, one of the final priorities of a legislative session […]