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.

‘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 […]

Bill to end election-day registration in Montana advances

By: - February 4, 2021

Legislation to end same-day voter registration on Election Day in Montana has cleared a key hurdle in the state House despite a rocky hearing that saw concerted opposition from indigenous lawmakers worried about the disenfranchisement of some voters and frustration from some conservatives who felt the bill doesn’t go far enough. The bill, HB176 from […]

Bill would give GOP majority advantage in objecting to administrative rules

By: - February 4, 2021

A proposal to give legislative majority leadership a tie-breaking vote on interim committees seeking to block administrative rules is advancing through the House, one of several bills this session that would change the partisan makeup of the committees that meet between the Legislature’s biennial meetings. The House Legislative Administration Committee met Thursday to hear Senate […]

Bill preventing ACA insurance from covering abortions in Montana passes House vote

By: - February 3, 2021

The state House on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to legislation to prevent most abortions from being covered by insurance purchased on the healthcare exchange. Lawmakers in the GOP-controlled House passed the bill, HB229, on second reading 66-34. It awaits a final vote in the House before moving to the Senate. “When we passed healthcare reform, […]

Bill to limit income tax and remove property or sales tax returns

By: - February 3, 2021

Editor’s note: The head line of this story has been corrected to reflect the bill’s intent.  A proposal to ask the voters to limit the state of Montana to two of three sources of tax revenue has returned this session, offering an alternative to the state’s current tax structure that could have huge implications for […]

Some Republicans change committee votes on same-day registration bill

By: - February 2, 2021

Pressure from the state GOP and its top elected official, Gov. Greg Gianforte, may have factored in to a House committee vote Tuesday morning to pass a bill ending election-day voter registration in Montana, some Republican lawmakers say. The House State Administration Committee voted 10-9 to pass HB176, a bill that, following an amendment, establishes […]

Inclusionary zoning on the chopping block in House

By: - February 2, 2021

Montana realtors and home builders are gathering behind a bill that would effectively ban one of the tools that cities and towns use to create more affordable housing.  House Bill 259, carried by House Majority Leader Sue Vinton, specifically prevents municipalities in Montana from requiring that housing is sold at a certain price or targeted […]

House Judiciary passes bill protecting police who don’t enforce health orders

By: - February 1, 2021

The House Judiciary Committee on Monday passed one of multiple bills this session to hold sheriffs and other law enforcement officials harmless if they fail to enforce an order from a local health officer. The committee voted 16-3 to pass Sen. Steve Fitzpatrick’s SB67, which changes a part of code that would charge police that […]

Plans for COVID-19 oversight multiply

By: - January 30, 2021

Legislation to rein in the authority of county officials to make public health declarations in times of crisis without added oversight from other elected officials moved out of a House committee this week with a surprising level of support from Democrats. On a nearly unanimous vote, the House Local Government Committee passed an amended version […]

Gianforte-backed pay increase for state employees passes House

By: - January 28, 2021

A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in the Montana House approved a plan Thursday that would raise the pay of state employees by 55 cents per hour beginning in the 2023 fiscal year. The bill, the result of negotiations between former Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, and public sector unions, would hold constant public employee pay […]

Is density the solution to Montana’s affordability problem?

By: - January 27, 2021

A Montana lawmaker is pushing a solution called “upzoning” to the state’s housing affordability crisis. This movement, popular in a number of areas with urbanists, housing advocates and the Twitterati, would apply to many of the state’s fast-growing municipalities, whether or not they’re on board. Upzoning is the process of tinkering with zoning codes in […]