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.

Senate panel votes down minimum wage increase

By: - February 16, 2021

A Senate panel Thursday tabled legislation that would gradually increase Montana’s minimum wage to $12 an hour, likely spelling an end to efforts to increase the wage this session. Lawmakers on the Senate Business, Labor and Economic affairs voted down a motion to send the bill to the floor, 5-6, with the committee’s chair, Sen. […]

$12 minimum wage proposal gets Senate hearing

By: - February 12, 2021

In 2006, voters in Montana approved a ballot initiative that set the state minimum wage at $6.15 an hour, pegged to the rising cost of living. Fifteen years later, it now sits at $8.75 an hour, a buck fifty higher than the federal minimum and not even 40 percent of the state hourly median wage. […]

Gianforte-backed income tax cuts move through Legislature

By: - February 12, 2021

A Senate panel Thursday heard a series of income tax cut proposals brought to the Legislature by Gov. Greg Gianforte and backed by the private sector, part of a larger package of conservative tax reforms from the governor.  Gianforte’s stance is that slicing the income tax, creating a capital gains tax exemption on profits from […]

DPHHS nominee faces questions over Kentucky disease outbreak, Medicaid work requirements

By: - February 11, 2021

Lawmakers pressed Wednesday Gov. Greg Gianforte’s nominee to head the Department of Public Health and Human Services on his stances from everything ranging from Medicaid to tribal healthcare to his home state’s handling of a Hepatitis outbreak. More than 30 individuals applied to head up DPPHS, the state’s largest agency, Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras told […]

Is Montana ready for nuclear power?

By: - February 11, 2021

With the clock running at Colstrip, the ever-changing and often gloomy outlook for Montana’s energy environment has policymakers casting about for solutions.  Among these is an effort supported by the state’s utility companies to facilitate the development of nuclear power by removing the requirement that the voters approve all new major nuclear projects in Montana […]

Voter ID bill passes Senate vote

By: - February 10, 2021

A proposal to make Montana’s voter identification laws more stringent has received preliminary approval in the state Senate, another step forward for a series of “election integrity” bills supported by Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen and the governor’s office. SB169, sponsored by Sen. Mike Cuffe, R-Eureka, builds on existing state law that requires voters casting […]

Land transfer bill gets new life in 2021 session

By: - February 9, 2021

The Legislature is again considering a proposal to ban the sale of federal land transferred to the state by an act of Congress, something that opponents fear is a clandestine effort to — paradoxically — open the state’s public lands to sale. HB320 is an “oldie but a goldie,” a rerun from a slate of […]

No current plan for next meeting of legislative COVID-19 panel

By: - February 9, 2021

There are no imminent plans for the Legislature’s COVID-19 panel to meet again “unless we have a situation in which we need to act on something quickly,” the committee’s chair, Sen. Jason Ellsworth, told the Daily Montanan. The panel, tasked with adopting rules for handling the virus at the Capitol and responding to positive cases, met […]

Political committee truth-in-naming law could be repealed

By: - February 8, 2021

A House panel is voting this week on legislation to remove state law requiring that political committees name themselves in a way that “clearly identifies the economic or other special interest” or common employer of a majority of the committee’s contributors. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Brandon Ler, R-Savage, and its supporters say that it’s necessary […]

Rep. Putnam tests positive for COVID-19

By: - February 8, 2021

Rep. Brian Putnam has tested positive for COVID-19, the Legislature announced this weekend. Putnam, R-Kalispell, began feeling symptoms of the virus on Thursday, got tested the next day and received his diagnosis on Sunday morning, said a statement from the House and Senate GOP. He attended virtually last Friday, and will continue to participate in […]

‘Zoom boom’ housing demand may be here for years

By: and - February 7, 2021

It hit Billings real estate broker Mark Dawson in a furniture store, of all places. The owner of one of the largest brokerages in Montana’s largest city, Century 21 Hometown, Dawson was discussing Billings with a furniture salesperson as he was shopping. Turns out, business was booming for both of them. That’s when the salesperson […]

Bill ending same-day registration in Montana passes House

By: - February 5, 2021

Legislation that would end Election-Day voter registration in Montana has passed out of the state House on a 64-34 vote. It now awaits action in the Senate. The bill, Rep. Sharon Greef’s House Bill 176, cuts off voter registration at noon the day before an election, something Greef, R-Florence, and other proponents say would help […]