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.

Fire conditions are improving, but Haystack and other destructive blazes still rage

By: - September 24, 2021

State fire officials are urging “continued vigilance” as the cooler temps and shorter days of autumn set in, taking the worst out of a severe fire season in Montana but doing little to remedy underlying conditions that leave much of the state at risk. In a briefing with Gov. Greg Gianforte this week, fire officials […]

New law ending Election-Day registration in Montana faces third court challenge

By: - September 22, 2021

A pair of labor unions and a disability rights advocacy organization are leading a legal charge against House Bill 176, a law passed in the most recent legislative session that effectively ended Election-Day voter registration in Montana. The Montana Federation of Public Employees, the state’s largest union, the state AFL-CIO, the Montana Association of Centers […]

Montana deploys 70 guardsmen to hospitals as COVID-19 cases climb

By: - September 21, 2021

Gov. Greg Gianforte on Tuesday announced a series of Montana National Guard deployments to hospitals across the state to address an overburdened nursing labor force and skyrocketing COVID-19 case numbers — Montana twice led the nation in per-capita COVID case count increase last week, and health officials are warning that the delta variant-driven pandemic is […]

Gov’s briefing: Fires slowing down, for now

By: - September 2, 2021

Changing weather patterns have begun to slow down the ferocious pace of wildfires, though Montana isn’t quite out of the (rather dry) woods yet. Gov. Greg Gianforte met with state fire officials for an update this Tuesday. There are 60 active fires in the state currently, and 18 are considered large incidents. The state saw […]

Montana seeks Medicaid reimbursement for short stays in mental institutions — even Warm Springs

By: - September 1, 2021

Montana is seeking a Medcaid program waiver from the federal government to allow reimbursement for short-term in patient stays at larger mental health institutions, a practice generally banned under the Social Security Act that state health officials say could help boost bed capacity in treatment facilities and fill gaps in the continuum of care. The […]

Montana is set to approve a $42 million boon to the childcare sector. But a deficit looms large

By: - August 31, 2021

Montana’s financially struggling childcare sector is set to get more than a $40 million boost, thanks to federal COVID-19 relief funds that a state panel provisionally authorized last week. State officials said the funds, made available by the feds through the existing Child Care and Development Block Grant, are a crucial tool to support Montana’s […]

MSU College of Nursing receives $101 million gift

By: - August 30, 2021

Montana State University on Monday announced a $101 million gift from a pair of insurance executives to significantly revamp MSU’s College of Nursing, which operates on five campuses throughout the state. The donation, from Texas-based Goosehead Insurance founders Robyn and Mark Jones, will go to new facilities at each campus, five endowed professorships, a scholarship […]

Former DPHHS head Sheila Hogan named Montana Democratic Party director

By: - August 30, 2021

The Montana Democratic Party has hired former Department of Public Health and Human Services Director Sheila Hogan as its executive director, the party announced Monday. Hogan’s pick fills the vacancy created by the departure of labor organizer Sandi Luckey as party director during the summer. Legislator Moffie Funk had been serving in an interim role […]

Montana fire season not over yet, despite rain and cooler temps

By: - August 25, 2021

Montana’s fire season still has weeks — if not months — to go, even with recent rains and cooler temperatures, Gov. Greg Gianforte and other Montana officials said in a press conference in Missoula on Wednesday, repeating calls for increased active forest management and encouraging residents to remain cautious. Gianforte took the opportunity to thank […]

Gianforte: Montana will not impose mask or vaccine mandates

By: and - August 24, 2021

Amid rising COVID-19 delta variant cases locally and across the country, Gov. Greg Gianforte on Tuesday encouraged Montanans to get vaccinated, but he said emphatically that the state would not be shutting down businesses or imposing vaccine or mask mandates. In his first scheduled press conference at the Capitol in months, Gianforte acknowledged the heightened […]

Looming deadline will test consensus in Montana redistricting commission

By: - August 23, 2021

The stakes for the Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission have been raised. The body in charge of drawing legislative and congressional maps for the state has spent weeks dealing with the technical side of the process: enumerating mandatory and discretionary criteria for district maps, discussing how to allocate incarcerated people, creating processes for public comment. […]

Gov’s fire briefing: 50 residences have burned this year, top-priority fire is Thorne Creek

By: - August 18, 2021

Montana may be in for a cold, rainy spell, and most of the state might have breathable air for the first time in what feels like forever, but wildfire season is still in full swing. There are 25 active large fires in the state, which has seen 792,000 acres burn so far since January, Gov. […]