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.

Progress on prison gerrymandering on the horizon for Montana redistricters

By: - August 17, 2021

The Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission has been wrestling all year with the possibility of counting incarcerated people at their last known home address for the purpose of redistricting, largely due to the difficulty of data collection. It’s an idea that poses a variety of logistical problems: Montana’s Department of Corrections, like many other state […]

Planned Parenthood challenges four Montana abortion bills

By: - August 16, 2021

Planned Parenthood of Montana on Monday mounted a legal challenge to a slate of laws passed in the last session restricting access to abortion, a lawsuit that opponents of the bills have long promised. The suit challenges the bills on constitutional grounds, citing specific privacy protections in the Montana Constitution and the state Supreme Court’s […]

COVID aid commission approves $15 million affordable housing financing program

By: - August 13, 2021

A state commission formed to guide the expenditure of federal COVID-19 aid has recommended approval of a $15 million affordable housing gap financing program, one of several housing and rental assistance initiatives that state officials have greenlit thanks to money from the American Rescue Plan Act and other pandemic assistance packages. The ARPA Economic Transformation […]

Attorney General, lawmakers: Let us have our day in court

By: and - August 12, 2021

Montana’s Attorney General petitioned the state’s highest court this week to reconsider a unanimous order enjoining the Legislature from its quest to obtain a trove of judicial records as part of an inter-branch conflict stemming from the passage of legislation this session overhauling the process for filling vacancies on the court. In a brief filed […]

Proposed changes to Medicaid eligibility continue to receive pushback in interim hearing

By: - August 10, 2021

Healthcare advocacy organizations in a legislative hearing on Tuesday railed against proposed language amending state Medicaid law that will end 12-month continuous eligibility for Medicaid expansion members, warning that the policy change could result in vulnerable Montanans losing their healthcare due to added regulation. The language, part of an amendment to an existing application the […]

New eviction moratorium could buy time to ramp up emergency rental assistance

By: - August 6, 2021

Montana, like states across the nation, has struggled to spend down its emergency rental assistance funds — whether due to hefty documentation requirements that limit some potential applicants, logistical challenges, staffing or a lack of public awareness. The state has awarded $14.3 million to 2,594 households out of an available $352 million for COVID-19 related […]

New federal eviction moratorium protects renters in majority of Montana counties

By: - August 4, 2021

The new eviction moratorium announced by the Biden Administration on Tuesday will protect the majority of renters in Montana counties “experiencing substantial and high levels of community transmission” of COVID-19, according to the order. That means eligible renters in 39 of Montana’s 56 counties — and all of the state’s population centers — will be […]

ICYMI: ‘We need to reclaim the language of liberty’

By: - August 4, 2021

ST. REGIS — Pastor Matt Shea, a former Washington state lawmaker ousted from the Republican caucus after a legislative investigation found he’d helped plan the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, among other conflicts, held the crowd in the shade structure at St. Regis Community Park enrapt. Smoke from nearby wildfires […]

In Montana, 600 people displaced due to fire; Boulder 2700 fire remains top priority

By: - August 3, 2021

Gov. Greg Gianforte received a briefing from state fire management officials Tuesday as several large blazes raged across the state, albeit slowed somewhat by increased humidity and a series of rainstorms.  There are 24 large fires burning in the state as of the morning of August 3. Some 260,000 acres — more than half of […]

Ellsworth pleads guilty to obstruction charge stemming from May traffic stop

By: - August 2, 2021

Sen. Jason Ellsworth pled guilty on Monday to a charge of obstructing a peace officer stemming from a May traffic stop outside of Townsend, but he struck a deal with the Broadwater County attorney to have charges of reckless driving and speeding in a construction zone dropped. In open court, Ellsworth also apologized to the […]

Former Gov. Schweitzer endorses Monica Tranel for Congress

By: - July 26, 2021

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer is endorsing Monica Tranel in the Democratic primary for the state’s newly created congressional district, the Tranel campaign announced Monday. Schweitzer, who served from 2005 to 2013, ushered in a 16-year period of Democratic governance in the state after interrupting a streak of three Republican governors. He was followed by […]

Philosophy of fairness up for debate in legislative district criteria

By: - July 22, 2021

State officials this week adopted criteria to help shape Montana’s legislative districts in the current redistricting cycle, concluding the second half of a meeting of the Districting and Apportionment Commission that began with a lengthy debate on congressional criteria earlier in July. As with the adoption of congressional criteria — which consisted both of widely […]