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.

Montana’s earned income tax credit looks to receive a boost

By: - March 18, 2021

Legislative Democrats have revived a proposal to boost the amount of cash that Montanans get from the state earned income tax credit, removing an increase on taxes for top-earners that stymied the progress of a previous version of the bill. Like that previous bill, which failed to make it out of the House Taxation Committee, […]

Unemployment backlog on menu for ARPA spending

By: - March 17, 2021

The state Department of Labor and Industry is looking to use an estimated $5.2 million in the recent federal COVID-19 aid package to modernize and reform the administration of its unemployment insurance benefit system, improvements the agency says are needed after processing delays slowed down the disbursement of jobless benefits during the pandemic. That sum […]

COVID relief plan from Congress creates push to spend more than $900 million in Helena

By: - March 15, 2021

The Legislature on Monday began the highly intricate (and condensed) process of appropriating around $1 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, the most recent virus aid package to come out of Congress and the first in the Biden era. When the dust settles, Montana could be getting […]

Tribal liaison positions restored; continuous enrollment policy for CHIP, Medicaid cut

By: and - March 12, 2021

Lawmakers charged with crafting the budget voted for an amendment on Friday that would restore a pair of tribal liaison positions in the Department of Public Health and Human Services, reversing cuts that Democrats and indigenous Montanans have been agitating against throughout the session. However, the House Appropriations Committee voted to forge ahead with its […]

House committee approves amendment increasing income tax cuts

By: - March 12, 2021

A House panel on Friday approved and expanded a bill from the governor’s office to cut the top income tax rate, more than doubling the likely cost of the cut to state revenues. The vote came as the committee considered three of the governor’s flagship tax cut proposals, though the House Taxation Committee ultimately decided […]

Elk management bill drives debate around class, public lands access

By: - March 11, 2021

A hearing on legislation designed to increase elk harvest in Montana perhaps unsurprisingly became a referendum on class and access this week as dozens of hunters came to the Capitol to protest an incentive program they said would leverage the state’s land and publicly held wildlife for financial gain by the powerful and well-connected. “This […]

House kills right-to-work bill as it finishes first half of session

By: - March 2, 2021

The Montana state House ended the session’s 44th (and technically also 45th) day with a recognition of one lawmaker’s status as an elite dancer (Jonathan Windy Boy of Box Elder is the Michael Jordan of pow wow and grass dance, by some accounts), a group rendition of the state anthem (“M-O-N-T-A-N-A!”), and a brief attempt […]

In surprise vote, House kills Democratic municipal broadband proposal

By: - March 2, 2021

Democratic legislation that would allow local governments to own or operate broadband systems died in a final House vote Tuesday morning after a dramatic change of fate that saw dozens of Republicans who had previously supported the proposal vote against it. House Bill 422’s sponsor, Rep. Kelly Kortum, D-Bozeman, told the Daily Montanan that he […]

Lawmakers have whirlwind day at Capitol as transmittal deadline nears

By: and - March 1, 2021

Lawmakers did not stray from hot-button issues and fiery debates on Monday as they fought against the clock to dispose of more than 140 bills across both chambers before the legislative transmittal deadline on Wednesday, by which time most policy proposals must advance to the opposite chamber or die.  As it worked through an hours’ […]

State funding for public radio on chopping block in proposed bill

By: - February 26, 2021

Radio listeners and staffers warned the House Energy, Technology and Federal Relations committee this week that legislation to end state support for Montana Public Radio, Yellowstone Public Radio and any number of other college and public radio stations in the state could be a serious detriment to small media organizations on tight budgets. House Bill […]

House committee approves right-to-work bill

By: - February 26, 2021

The House Business and Labor Committee passed legislation on Friday enacting right-to-work in Montana, a key step forward for a proposal that would significantly overhaul labor law in the state. The committee voted 11-9 to pass an amended version of House Bill 251, sponsored by Rep. Caleb Hinkle, R-Belgrade. In short, the bill would ban […]

House passes one concealed carry bill while Senate kills another

By: - February 25, 2021

A pair of bills in the House and Senate to expand the right to carry a concealed firearm in public buildings faced different fates during voting Thursday. The lower chamber passed House Bill 436, sponsored by Rep. Scot Kerns, R-Great Falls, on a 66-32 vote. That bill will ban local governments from enacting ordinances preventing […]