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.

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 […]

Gianforte capital gains tax proposal fails, is promptly revived

By: - March 25, 2021

The state House moved Thursday to reconsider one of Gov. Greg Gianforte’s tax cut plans after a surprise contingent of Republicans voted down the bill on the floor, with at least one member of the GOP saying they feared the bill would “entice” large marijuana companies from out of state to come into Montana as […]

Sixth lawmaker tests positive for COVID-19

By: - March 24, 2021

The Legislature’s COVID-19 panel announced this week that the sixth lawmaker this session has tested positive for the coronavirus, but did not release their name, per a request from the lawmaker. It’s the first time that a legislator who has tested positive for the virus has declined to release their name. Sen. Jason Ellsworth, R-Hamilton, […]

Montana House passes $12.6 billion spending plan

By: - March 22, 2021

The state House of Representatives on Monday gave preliminary approval to the state’s main budget bill, House Bill 2, following hours of debate and a series of ultimately failed amendments from Democrats to restore cuts to healthcare services that lawmakers originally made in subcommittees earlier in the session. The $12.6 billion spending plan, the product […]

Montana Legislature takes up $350M broadband plan

By: - March 19, 2021

About three billion good ideas — that’s what’s at stake over the coming weeks, as one lawmaker put it, as the state Legislature works to authorize or appropriate more than $900 million of Montana’s roughly $3 billion potential allotment from the American Rescue Plan Act. That act is the most recent COVID-19 aid package to […]

Where’s recreational weed money going?

By: - March 19, 2021

The long-awaited plan to implement the adult-use recreational marijuana program that voters approved in the last election has arrived at the Capitol and could land in a legislative committee as early as next week, setting the stage for one of this session’s key policy debates. At hand is a gargantuan 260-page bill from Rep. Mike […]